I watched two of my kids leap onto a zipline swing yesterday. I was too far away to hear their laughter, but I saw it on their faces. And my heart surged with joy. I wanted to hold on to that joy, keep it from leaving.
And it got me wondering about joy and how we can capture it more frequently.
And for me I’ve realized it comes more often when I’m on the path God leads me on. That has meant different things at different times of my life. Sometimes gratitude, sometimes focus, and lately, repentance.
At a time when gratitude was the furthest thing from my mind. When financial struggles, a new job for my husband, and a new home collided, I felt totally overwhelmed and called on God for help. I didn’t see how gratitude could help with my problems, but that was the answer He gave me again and again.
I was amazed at how much gratitude helped my perspective on a difficult situation, and it is still something I rely on when life gets difficult. Being grateful for the ways I see Him daily brings peace and lets me hold on to joy every day. Remembering all God has done for me helps me to have faith that current problems will resolve.
With a to-do list a mile long and plenty to worry about, the little everyday joys can be dwarfed by overwhelm. Being in the moment and letting tomorrow take care of itself, in essence trusting that God will help me traverse difficulties as they arise, has allowed me to feel more joy in the life I am leading (and being led in by Him).
Being present has helped me to find the joy that the psalmist recorded, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
I used to look at repentance as a specific wrongdoing with a specific process to right that wrong. (And I’m not saying it isn’t that.)
But lately I look at it as a more ebbing and flowing process, where I bring my struggles to the Lord every day and He helps me to know how to use His help to improve on them. Some days are better than others. But relying on the Lord’s strength gives me the power and capacity to overcome natural tendencies and become more Christlike. This has given me a chance to “discover the joy of daily repentance” (“The Power of Spiritual Momentum,” President Russell M. Nelson).
Life is tough, but using these three techniques has allowed me to hold on to joy that the Lord provides.