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The Trick to Capturing Joy

Everybody wants to be happy, but there is a trick to capturing joy – one thing that separates those wanting to feel joy from those who are truly joyful.

We spent the last week in Disneyland and one of my favorite things to do in crowds like that is people watch. Now, I don’t like stereotyping, but in just a few minutes, it was clear that there were two camps of people.

There were the people overflowing with joy, finding happiness and magic in every corner. They were the ones with seemingly permanent smiles on their faces, blowing bubble wands, skipping down the street, excitedly chattering about their adventures in ride lines, and squealing with glee when characters walked down the street (and I’m not just talking about children here!). You could practically see a shine of joy radiating from their smiles.

Then there were the people that never ran out of things to complain about. The lines were too long, the sun was too hot, the shade was too cold, the churros were too expensive, and the crowds were incredibly bothersome. No amount of sunshine, happiness, or sugar was going to brighten their day. If you can find a way to be grumpy at Disney, the happiest place on earth, the problem probably isn’t them.

Everybody wants to be happy, but there is a trick to capturing joy - one thing that separates those wanting to feel joy from those who are truly joyful.

The Trick to Capturing Joy

Obviously, these two groups of people don’t just surface in Disneyland. They are all around us – in our families, workplaces, churches, friend groups, grocery stores, and well…everywhere.

So, what separates these two groups – the joyful and the not-so-joyful?

Those people who radiate joyfulness didn’t get their joy as some badge of honor for a perfect life. Perfect lives don’t exist (even if Facebook tries to convince you otherwise). We all have bad days, heartache, and stressors to deal with.

The trick to capturing joy is recognizing that it’s a choice. 

Joy isn’t the reward for having a good day. It’s the continual decision you make, when things are perfect and when they are far from it, to choose joy.

There are all kinds of things that try to steal that joy from us.

  • Comparing ourselves to others robs us of joy.
  • Having a sense of entitlement, feeling like we deserve a certain kind of life that we aren’t getting robs us of joy.
  • Feeling like we are just victims and the world is just out to get us also robs us of joy.

Take the power back.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There are plenty of decisions outside of our control, but you are the one who gets to decide to rejoice, in the sunshine or rain. You get to decide if you want to spend your money on that expensive churro (which is totally worth it, in my humble opinion!). It’s your decision how you spend your time, energy, and emotions.

Change the things you can and work on accepting the things you can’t.

But, for goodness’ sake, decide to capture the joy! It’s God’s will for you to live a life of joy and gratitude, finding blessings in unexpected places. Don’t wait for joy to fall into your lap. Seek it out! Wake up with the mission of capturing joy in as many places as possible!

Don’t settle for a monotonous life simply going through the motions and responding to those How are yous with “fine.”

Without changing your circumstances a bit, you can change your life from fine to amazing with just a shift in your perspective. 

Right now, take a minute and look around you. Think about your day. Reflect on your relationships. Now, count your blessings. Start small and work your way up. Gratitude is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it will become and soon it will just be second nature to capture joy in any moment, in any circumstance.

So, what joy did you capture today?

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