November 21, 2020
Some women wear joy like a jacket. They effortlessly smile, wave, and embrace others with a genuine sense of happiness. I admired people like that from afar but never thought I could be one of them. I wished I could order up joy like a side of fries. Ironically, today people would probably say I am one of those people. That I always seem so joyful. Let’s just say it took a few wardrobe changes before joy became an easy fit. There are a few habits of joyful people I learned through the process.
Eliminate Behaviors and Relationships that Steal your Joy.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)
Jesus came so that we can have a full life. This includes our relationships and behaviors. When you get together with your friends for lunch do you feel refreshed, inspired, and encouraged, or do you feel depressed, sad, and disgusted? If it is the later it is time to FIRE a few friends. I’m being serious. Don’t continue to hang around negative people just because they have “always” been your friend. If you are trying to become a joyful person it helps to surround yourself with positive people. Just let go of those cranky hooches.
Also, are there habits that make you feel depleted? Here are a few things that deplete me:
If you are feeling cranky, check to see if your social circle or your habits are creating a positive or negative atmosphere. We always have a choice about what we watch, listen to, and spend our time doing.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22)
Joyful people understand the freedom that forgiveness brings. They move from grudges to reconciliation quickly. This doesn’t mean that they don’t get hurt, it simply means they make an intentional effort to move past hurt quickly. Jesus calls us to continue to forgive. Now that doesn’t mean that we set ourselves up to continue to be hurt by careless people. We need boundaries…see the first habit of firing negative people from our lives! However, holding onto bitterness, resentment, and hurt just robs us of joy. Forgiveness and grace for others ushers in restoration and wholeness in our own hearts.
They are generous.
The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. (Proverbs 11:24 MSG)
The Bible tells us that being generous expands our life. According to Forbes and Entrepreneur generous people are happier. The habit of being generous in our time and our resources help us to feel a sense of purpose. When we help others it gives our brain a surge of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine which helps us to feel good. The more we serve others especially during high-stress times the better we tend to cope with the situation.
“No joy can equal the joy of serving others.” Sai Baba
They celebrate the everyday moments.
So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 NLT)
Joyful people understand the beauty in savoring everyday moments. My husband is one of the most enthusiastic people I know and he celebrates even the smallest victories. He watches sunsets, kisses his daughter on the forehead, cuddles with his dog, and tears up when he counts his blessings. This is what I am talking about relishing the common moments in life. I’ve learned from him that celebrating what can seem normal actually creates a habit of seeing extraordinary things every day. It builds a mindset that expects amazing things. Joyful people celebrate the ordinary with extraordinary enthusiasm.
They take care of themselves.
Joyful people exercise. I’m not suggesting you must become a world-class athlete, but you should do something to move your body. Here is a list of things to do for exercise that don’t feel like exercise. Exercise gives you a dose of endorphins that make you feel good. Get enough sleep. Every person needs a different amount of sleep to feel rested, but it is typically between 6-8 hours per night. Make a habit of going to bed at the same time every night. This will help you go to sleep faster and have higher quality sleep as well. If you ever have tried to pull an all-nighter you know that the next day or two is hard to be full of joy. Exhaustion makes us irritated. Taking care of your physical body helps us feel healthy, strong, and energized.
Habits of joyful people aren’t based on circumstances they are a choice. It was a hard lesson for me to learn as I considered all those people that seemed effortlessly joyful. We determine our friends, where we spend our time and how quickly we forgive. We can choose to give freely of our time and resources to help others. We decide to see and savor the moment by moment beauty of life. Lastly, we make a choice of how we treat our bodies. All these habits don’t guarantee joy in your life but I promise if you commit to doing them regularly you are going to feel a shift and it will be positive. How do you choose joy? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.