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My JOY List

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 when we’re not willing it into being. Yesterday’s sadness is over and can be left in the past. If joy is what we’re after, staying in the moment is the best way to be joyful.

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. In my world, music 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 joy, rather than be entertained.

  5. Practice understanding. Entering a relationship or conversation with the intent to understand the other, rather than 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 an artist -- 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.

Stop and make your joy list and then practice each one this season. Joy to the World!

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