Seriously, guard and protect your joy. Don’t let anyone take it from you, most especially don’t take it from yourself.
I say this as much to myself as I say it to you: guard your joy!
Now, if you are in the midst of joy stay there! You don’t want to allow yourself to wander down the paths that lead away from joy, because those paths are deceptive. They appear to lead to more joy because they show you wonderful things, achievements, visions of an alternate reality.
Don’t be fooled!
Those paths have twists and turns, hills and valleys that lead away from joy. They are the paths that lead you to that-which-you-do-not-have but think you should. Those paths are mirrors of someone else’s truth. They are the paths that lead you to comparison, the thief of joy.
Comparison is that tool (and I mean that in the bad sense) that causes you to consider what others have and to regard their achievements and acquisitions to be superior to your own. Comparison is the scale on which you put your best on one side and someone else’s best on the other side only to find that what you have always, always, always fails to measure up.
And that starts you sinking and telling yourself you should have achieved more by now, been at the top of your field by now, made that million 10 years ago, bought that big expensive house, had more spectacular children, been driving that luxury car, been discovered and promoted in the speakers circuit, etc, etc, etc.
Comparison tells you you don’t measure up, you’re not good enough and never will be, and that you are not important, not valued, not loved.
Comparison is the biggest lie you have ever told yourself.
Don’t believe it!
Seize back your joy with gratitude and remind yourself that you are right where God wants you to be right now.
Refocus and remind yourself that you are loved and important, more than you think or know you are.
Could you be doing more or better? Possibly. If there is room for it, and you desire it, and it is pleasing to God, you can do it! We all have hard patches in life, some have them more often and for longer periods, but you can do something about it.
And by the way, doing something about it does not start with comparing yourself to others. It starts with earnest introspection in to what is essential for your life and your relationship with God. Wealth, notoriety and things will not bring you joy if you don’t already know joy.
Got that? Wealth, notoriety and things will not bring joy to someone who doesn’t already know joy.
Where do you find joy if you don’t already have it?
Good question! You start by being thankful, grateful for what is in your life. Are you healthy? Give thanks! Got a roof over your head? Give thanks! Clothes on your back? Thankful! Have you eaten today? Thank you! Can you read? Thanks! Can you think? Give thanks! Just took a breath? Thanks again.
If you’ve lost your joy, or feel like you never had it, stop. Look around you. Start taking inventory of the little things that bring a smile to your face, help your heart thaw a little. If you are having a hard time thinking of things, think back further in your life. What made you happy when you were a child? Look for butterflies. Listen to birds singing. Stomp in a puddle.
Take responsibility for your own self and stop comparing other’s situations to yours. You aren’t them. The only measure for comparison is yourself! Be the best YOU that you can be.