A smiling woman looking over her shoulder

Life has felt more daunting these days. This past couple of months brought significant changes. It altered schedules and challenged mindsets. It knocked us off our feet as we saw daily routines and ways of life compromised.

The world came together in solidarity. Ideologies were challenged, as brothers and sisters across the world spoke out against injustices. 

The world around us seems to be moving at a confounding rate. The train of life rushes fast—casting shadows upon our visions. During these times, we’ve had to deal with personal hardships. Some have fought to maintain peace by working through bouts of depression and anxieties. Others have walked away from toxic relationships. Some made difficult life decisions that changed the trajectory of their lives forever. 

The world around us seems to be moving at a confounding rate.

Yet, the world around us has refused to show mercy, even in the midst of our personal pains. It has expected us to move along to its cadence. We have hardly had a moment to breathe. We have hardly had the opportunity to process our hurts and experiences during these times. 

Instead, we avoided our problems by seeking thrills that brought us momentary happiness, forgetting that happiness in and of itself is fleeting. What we need is joy, something that can’t be taken away from us. We need to find ways to create and maintain joy in our lives so it will carry us through.

Happiness is fleeting.

Sometimes, when we face hardships, our first inclination is to engage in momentary pleasures in order to be “happy.” We have a need to fill empty voids. Thus, we latch onto activities that promise instant gratification, but momentary pleasures do not satiate our sufferings. They do not present a balm for our sensitive scars, but instead, they usually leave us feeling restless. 

We latch onto activities that promise instant gratification, but momentary pleasures do not satiate our sufferings.

Momentary happiness from self-gratification taints our souls with a deep yearning. It plunders our hopeful tomorrows ruthlessly and leaves us to wallow within shallow nothingness. Happiness is fleeting, which is why it is necessary to seek joy. Happiness holds no promises of security. It comes easily and disappears easily, but joy can never be taken away. 

Pursue joy, deliberately. 

Joy is not a one-time experience. We need to deliberately choose it over and over again. It is something that must be cultivated and fostered. Joy goes beyond happiness by transforming and challenging unhealthy and detrimental mindsets. It separates us from hasty decisions by propagating fundamental truths that string peace into our heart. It makes us authentic. 

When we pursue joy, our eyes do not linger on fears of the future. We are open to trust and open to love. We are able to move beyond our pains by acknowledging them first and then welcoming hope over our lives.

When we pursue joy, our eyes do not linger on fears of the future.

Joy can be found everywhere.

We can find joy in the sweet moments of self-discovery. We find it in the awakening blossoms of love. We find it serendipitously on warm days when our souls find peace and everything seems alright with the world. We find it when we gaze upon the love of family. We find it within the warmth of an embrace or a kiss. We find it embedded within the crinkles of the June leaves when they sing with the clear skies. 

Joy can be found everywhere. It is not affected by unexpected sorrows, neither is it throttled by life’s hardest tragedies. The sweet truth about joy is, it is always here with us. It doesn’t push, neither does it force us to commit. It waits patiently for our hearts to open and receive its bountiful mercies.

Joy is catching.

May you find the joy that calls you to throw your hands in the air and feel the electrifying thrills of the wind as it cleanses away stifling memories from your past. May you allow joy to smile sweetly upon you. Holding steadfast, may you remember that though life may be painful and bittersweet at times, it is also beautiful. 

Grasp the sort of joy that permeates within the dark aches you sift through in your day-to-day ups and downs. For joy, is catching! 

How have you learned to cultivate joy in hard times? Why is this important?

Image via Ben Cope, Darling Issue No. 19

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