On seeking joy

I have taken to giving thanks once a week here, and it’s a time where I remember that life is good and not to be taken for granted. I get to go through those wonderful things that my life has been touched by in the past week, and reflect on them.

But despite this, I don’t feel like a joyful person. When I think of a joyful person, I think of my mom, who literally glows with joy. She is enthusiastic, she is warm, she is alive, she is spirited, she can be fiery, she gets involved (perhaps too much at times). But she’s joyful.

I also think of Jabez when I think of someone who oozes joy. I can just imagine what she would be like in person.

I know I’m similar to my mom in some ways: I can be enthusiastic, I can be fun and playful and laugh for hours in my infectious way that gets others laughing. I love to make others laugh too and work hard on that. But lately I find that the weight of some things on my heart has prevented me from fully exuding that joy. I smile, but does it reach my eyes? Do friends or even strangers on the bus look at me think “Gosh, that Good Naija Girl looks so joyful, like she has a secret that no one else knows.”? I doubt it.

So I am challenging myself to seek joy this week. I want my happiness with all the blessings in my life to show in my smile, my eyes, the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I respond to a stranger in the elevator. Even if I have to fake it at first, with time it’ll come more naturally. It’s one thing to be grateful to God for the good in my life but to be joyful about it, about my very life, that’s something I think I’ve been missing.

Who’s with me?

(PS If you haven’t checked out what the African Women are saying about interractial relationships this week, you can check out the wordsmith‘s post here, and my post (now with audio!) here. Don’t be too hard on me…I actually wasn’t nervous, “ums” and confusion really are a part of my regular speech patterns!

18 thoughts on “On seeking joy

  1. Hi GNG! It makes my heart swell knowing that someone is reached by my JOY. But even MY joy is not MINE, its handed down by GOD… but i had to do the SEARCHING.

    Go for JOY!!! Then you will SEE things with NEW Eyes!!!

    … and dont forget LOVE… because the greatest of these is LOVE

    *wink*

  2. I think that either you HAVE the joy or you don't, you can't fake it. I know a couple people who oooooze joy and kindness and compassion and…. That's not to say you (general you) don't have those qualities but they don't define you (again, general). That being said, I often find that I'm leary of these people who are ALWAYS so sunshiney and happy and positive….I have to wonder if everything is as it seems or if sometimes it's a front. I mean, you can't be joyful ALL the time, can you? But I guess there's where you see my inner realist (I'm a realist, not a pessimist, heh).

  3. Joy….that elusive antidepressant. U know I dont think I am actually capable of that.

  4. Waoh, that's a big wake up call for me GNG…to be joyful is far different from just being thankful…I gats to get me some joyfulness…thanks dearie…

  5. â–ºDanny BaGucci

    I'm sure it'll fit in nicely with your other goals.

    â–ºJabez

    Well said my sister…I love every word in this comment. I'm excited at the thought.

    â–ºTHIRTY+

    Hurray! I suspect you already do a good job of seeking joy, so I'm happy for that.

    â–ºShannon

    Your comment gave me food for thought. I don't believe that anyone is joyful at every moment but there are people you see and think "what a happy person", and Jabez and my mom are those sorts of people.

    What makes them interesting is both are dealing with situations that would not normally make you want to smile your face off. They've just chosen to be positive and focus on what's good in life. Sure, they cry, feel hurt, get angry or sad, etc, but generally they are happy people, and this joy shows on their faces and in their eyes. They don't dwell too much on the negative. That's what I think I'm missing, though the thankful posts are helping a bit.

    I know people who don't have a tenth of the medical ailments that my mom has, yet who walk around as if they have a death sentence around their necks, who are rarely if ever happy or satisfied, and who don't seem to enjoy life much. It's not that joyful people don't have reasons to be sad but they either take some time to feel sorry for themselves before bouncing back, or pray/meditate on their worries as a way of removing the hold it has on their life, and return to focusing on the good/positive stuff.

    It's possible to be characterized as a joyful person yet not be fake or hiding your true self.

    Finally, I remember hearing that even a fake laugh or smile can deliver the benefits that a genuine laugh or smile can do. I think the saying "fake it till you make it" can be applied in that situation. If you're someone who wants to appear more joyful, yet have a tendency to be pessimistic, you can start by practicing (faking) a smile and before long, I think you'll want to smile more.

    â–ºBSNC

    It sure is! Thanks for stopping by.

    â–ºTemite

    But you can try, my dear. It's not easy but you can try to find joy. Even finding more than you found or saw yesterday can help.

    â–ºJustdoyin

    My pleasure! All the best while seeking joy!

    â–ºchayoma

    Thank you for visiting and thanks for the comment! Joy is a different ballgame, one that requires more of you perhaps than being grateful does.

    â–ºTigeress

    Thank you, my fellow African woman!

  6. I'm so with you on this. Joy, joy, joy. I have made up my mind to be happy no matter what d situation is. With Joy, u attarcat every manner of good thing into ur life

  7. Someone once explained to me the difference between joyfulness and happiness…I'll paraphrase….Happiness is dependent on what happens to us so it fluctuates depending on whether it's good or bad….Joy on the other hand, wells up from within our spirit and it's (should be) there regardless of the circumstances of our lives.

    Now that's tough. I can handle happiness on my own but joy? Just like Jabez put it, it's handed down from God. Now the work is to search it out and make it mine.

    I'm with you on this one GNG!

  8. I am so with you on this one!

    You sound just like me. I feel I am positive but not joyful enough. I think being joyful draws more positive things to you in life, and this has been my goal for a while, but I must admit, I havent been focused enough. You just sharpened my focus! Thanks.

  9. I'm with you GNG! i learnt/read something a while back…joy is not dependent on what you have or don't have…it's from the heart and one can choose it.

    I choose joy all the way!

  10. Yur mom is a joyous person? its nice to have someone like that next to you, it tends to rub off on you. like you said, fake it until it becomes reality.

  11. â–ºBeulah!

    I agree with you and I want to attract the good things in life o!

    â–ºEnkay

    That's a great explanation of the difference between happiness and joy, and making that distinction is important. When you realize that joy doesn't depend on your circumstances, then I think that means you really can fake it until finding joy comes naturally.

    â–ºAdaeze

    You're my e-twin! Hurray for sharpened focus, and you're welcome.

    â–ºNoLimit

    You're pretty joyful, so I can only imagine how you'll be if you consciously work on it!

    â–ºWritefreak

    Thanks for sharing what you learned…I'm so glad you've chosen joy!

    â–ºaloted

    Thanks aloted babe for the biblical references. Both of those trigger songs in my head.

    Love you too :)

    â–ºnaijagirl

    I'm blessed to have my mother and hopefully her nature does rub off on me more. Thanks for your comment.

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