The key to joy may well be within our reach. The question remains, however, will we take the necessary steps to unlock the potential and see the view from the top?
The Internal Battle For Joy
I have been fighting an internal battle recently. I can’t explain it beyond simply saying that I find it present in my day-to-day happenings. It is a loud voice that obnoxiously proclaims, “I don’t want to!” I hear it when I get on my bike or head out for a run. It yells at me as I prepare to head out the door to walk my dogs and it pops up when it is time to sit and do the budget. It bares its ugly self when my cabinets are empty and my hungry kids clammor for food. It’s maddening.
I recently became so aggravated by the demanding voice inside my head, that I decided it was time to write. I knew there was something that needed to come out. For there was an internal pull that was keeping me from taking the steps necessary to move forward. As I wrote through all the ‘I don’t want to’s,’ I found myself asking another question. As my pen struck the paper, I wrote, “If you don’t want to do any of these things, then what is it that you do want?”
I Wanted Joy!
As my pen continued to tell me the story of that which I did want, I came to see life from a new angle. For what I realized here was the reality that the life I wanted and the joy I sought was found through doing the things I didn’t want to do.
I needed to climb the stairs.
While preparing menus, exercising, cleaning, putting the needs of others before my own and so on weren’t what I wanted to do, I did want my kids to make healthy food choices and for myself to be fit active, and healthy. I came to see that I wanted to enjoy the process of shopping for clothes and not dread the necessary task. In addition to these, I knew I wanted kids that were well-behaved and (maybe even more importantly) emotionally healthy. I, too, scribed that I want a marriage that is strong, whole and healthy. Needless to say what I saw on paper that day, was the reality that I want a lot! But that I – like a child – struggle to do those things that are necessary.
I struggle to climb the staircase.
The Thief of Joy.
As I have continued to think on these things I have asked myself a few questions. Questions such as these: Would I willingly allow a thief to walk in and take all of my stuff? Would I allow someone to purposefully hurt me or one of my family members? The truth is, I wouldn’t. I would do all I could to stop a thief from stealing those valued people and things from my grasp? So, why was I allowing the Thief of Life to take these good things from me?
I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard. It’s hard to have the freedom I have as a human being and to still move forward, knowing I don’t have one hovering over me telling me what to do. What I’m realizing and reckoning with is the hard truth that I am lazy. It’s even hard to say. But, maybe this is what the verse in Proverbs 6:6-11 is talking about when it says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard, consider it’s ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores it’s provisions in summer and gathers it’s food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”
There it is. The cold hard truth. I, too often, when given the choice choose that which is easy. Needless to say, the sluggard within is not my friend. It is, instead, a thief. A loud, obnoxious, ruler that whispers, “Don’t do it.” “What’s it matter anyways?” “It probably won’t get you anywhere.” “What’s the point?” And, more often than not, I listen to it. But seeing and recognizing this is half the battle.
And so, I’ll hear the whispers and I’ll likely continue to struggle. After all, I’m human and I want an “easy button.” But, I’ve learned that I don’t have to listen to that voice. I can choose to climb the stairs, hard as it may be. And in doing so, I can choose joy. The question isn’t can I experience joy in my life. The question is will I choose to experience it when given the choice.
It won’t be easy, but I will try. For my joy is worth the climb.
Till next time,
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