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what if

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Fling JOY

Festive parties, spectacular light shows, delicious holiday food and sweet Christmas music interlaced with extra doses of joy are tasty morsels that make this season special.  What creates joy in our lives?  How do we get intentional about experiencing it all year long?

Every time someone wrings their hands together and says, “What if?” or “If only,” joy leaves the room.  This uncanny ability to spend our moments in the future forecast of doom or the past experience of regret creates a joy vacuum. Tomorrow’s grief may never come and it’s less likely to come, if we’re not willing it in to being.  Yesterday’s sadness is over and can be left in the past.  If joy is what we’re after, it seems like staying in the moment is the best way to be joyful.

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Consider making a list of small things you can do right now, to usher a little joy in your life. Then start doing them daily.  Here are a few little moments of joy on my list:

  1. Music, for me, is the very embodiment of joy.  If I can turn on the music, almost any kind of music, it puts a smile on my face.  
  2. Get outside, breath the air, hear the birds, feel the sun on my face, watch the wildlife — the beauty of creation fills my heart, soul and lungs with pleasure.
  3. Doing something valuable for others, not just running errands or bringing gifts or providing a service (although those are fabulous), but also, depositing encouragement, inspiration and vision.
  4. Unplug.  There is something about powering down the electronics that forces me to find the joy, rather than be entertained.
  5. Practice understanding.  Entering a relationship or conversation with the intent to understand the other, rather than to push my message on them brings me real satisfaction.
  6. Gratitude.  Every time I practice deep gratitude for the things and people in my life and world, I experience sweet delight.
  7. Breathe.  In my non-joyful moments, I’m often holding my breath or breathing shallowly.  When I am intentional about taking slow, deep breaths, it releases a freshness within me.
  8. Create.  I don’t fancy myself a creative  -- you’ll never find me sitting at the table doing something crafty.  But when I sit with words, ideas, concepts and create something new, a special place in my heart comes alive.
  9. Build a tribe.  When I am in the room with smart, savvy, deep thinking people who can bring a different perspective into my life, it jazzes me.
  10. Read.  Books hold great intrigue for me.  Getting cozy with a book that takes me on an adventure or teaches me new concepts sends my mind and spirit into a place of bliss.

Joy to the World . . . Fling joy everywhere!
 

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The Possibility in Uncertainty

On my fiftieth birthday I awoke jobless, homeless, alone for the first time in 30 years and able to say "I'm better than I should be." I was facing what appeared to be insurmountable uncertainty.  As I reflect back on that I realize there is possibility in uncertainty.  

To find the possibility in the uncertainty, you must carefully guard what is going on inside your own head.  Consider changing the way you use the two words, what and if.  Rather than saying, "What if the sky is falling?" like Chicken Little; try, "What if this turns out to be the best thing that ever happened to me?"  Instead of using what and if to delineate every possible bad scenario, use them to accentuate all the possible positive outcomes.  If you give  your mind even just an inch of negativity and worry, it will take a mile.  

On this uncertain journey, escort your mind at all times!

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/94991702@N00/16978585429">Wednesday Wisdom #33: Uncertainty</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/94991702@N00/16978585429">Wednesday Wisdom #33: Uncertainty</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>

When treating uncertainty as the source of possibility, get moving.  Stop sitting, stop waiting, stop sulking, stop wringing your hands and do something.  What is the next thing that needs to get done? What action can you take today? What is the goal for the future?  What small step can be taken today toward the possibilities?  When I was facing uncertainty from every aspect of my life, I just took the next step.  No, I didn't have it all figured out and I definitely didn't understand it all but I could figure out what could get done today.  Just do that.  

Action and movement will help you uncover the possibilities under the uncertainty.   

When you face uncertainty, a great deal of reassurance can be found in putting your confidence in something bigger than yourself.  If you are the biggest thing in your world, it is sure to crumble. The absolute best way for me to face uncertainty is to hope in a God who is bigger than all that I am facing.  I admit that most of life is out of my control which could leave me very shaken, if it weren't for the fact that I trust in a God that restores my confidence.  

Having confidence in something beyond yourself will keep you watching for the possibilities.

To reach for the possibilities in the middle of uncertainty: be attentive to what is happening in your mind, take daily action toward the next best step, and put your trust in something bigger than yourself.