Valentines Day was going to be my theme. ❤️

Instead, JOY took over. 😀

I don’t typically make resolutions for the new year. But after several personal setbacks and disappointments, I determined 2023 🎉 would be different. For months, I longed for sadness to swallow me whole. I became a burden to those around me and was unable to willingly (joyfully) care for others.

On my quest for joy, I bumped into happiness—a finished house project, a fun trip to Seattle. Happiness is like a single breeze on a hot day. 😓 Fleeting.

I wanted more.

A friend told me to pray BIG. I did. I wanted joy all day, and even in the middle of a restless night. Joy in every situation.

Greedy me.

I prayed for joy like ordering an Amazon Prime package. 

I wanted joy NOW! Instant joy.

I grew up with boxed instant puddings. Stir cold milk into powder. 🥣 In five minutes—Happiness!

One day, I grabbed a box from the cupboard that read cook and serve. After grumbling through the entire process—mixing, cooking, cooling . . . waiting, waiting, waiting . . . Patience rewarded me with a much-improved product. 

Then, I opened a Betty Crocker cookbook.

Copyright 1950. It isn’t my mom’s but could have been.

I measured sugar and cocoa into a saucepan. Milk, butter and vanilla waited nearby. I was ready to create. After some time and effort, a bowl of creamy homemade chocolate pudding cooled in the refrigerator. Success! This felt close to joy.

The fact that I also set my mom’s dishcloth on fire did not scorch my delight. 🔥

Unlike today’s ready-made puddings, the more satisfying homemade version requires attention and participation.

Maybe my prayer for joy required something from me. Hmm . . . 🤔

From a book of hymns, I played “Joy Unspeakable” on the piano. The song “I’ve Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy Down in My Heart” came back to me from childhood. Defiant Joy and Choose Joyaudio devotionals—literally spoke to me. 

Then one day, although my challenging life situations were unchanged, I drove to my writers meeting. Suddenly, an unannounced smile spread across my face. I couldn’t stop it. It slid into a goofy grin. I sensed my heart smiling, too. I giggled. (I’m not a giggler.) This was joy. Pure joy. Supernatural joy. When I reached my friend’s house, I practically fell into her arms. She’s a hugger, and I needed one that day, at that moment. 

I’ve learned this newfound joy must spill over onto others or there’s no point. And daily choosing is key.

I have committed to choose joy—today, tomorrow, the day after that . . .

How about you?


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