Tuesday, December 14

An Experiment in Joy

Read Psalm 96

Normally I speed around in my mini-van.

I mean, not really speed {after several speeding tickets about seven years ago I average about 2 miles above or under the posted limit. True story.}

As the holiday season advances, my life speeds and gets continually faster and faster. I spend more and more time in my car, especially as December gets eaten away by Christmas programs and Holiday Parties and making extra sure I have everyone’s gift and plate of cookies ready to go and by the end of it I’m exhausted and spent.

Finally December 24 comes and I stuff little girl legs into tights as we pull the tags off of Christmas dresses together. We rush down the stairs, frantically look for shoes and get everyone in the mini-van {again} to speed off to church.

Where has my December gone? The joy? The slowness of enjoying things and relishing in the quietness in a heart that December should bring?

I decided that this year would be different. 2009 made me want to pack up the kids, get in the car and go anywhere but here for Christmas 2010.

We aren’t jetting off to an undisclosed location to celebrate our holidays {like I wished 11 and a half months ago} but I am figuring out how to celebrate Christmas in a slower, more deliberate way.

Even among the millions of details.
And the Christmas programs,
the nights that are just as busy as the days.

And the Advent calendar candy candy candy every morning for the kids.
I’m looking for JOY.

November was a particularly difficult month for me. I got some bad news. I had some relationship-fractures.

And then I let it all take me down. But, on a day that you prayed for me, I had an idea.

I decided that I would offer up my own self as an experiment. Would intentionally looking for the JOY that is already beneath my fingertips change me? Would spending the entire month of December searching, photographing and watching my life {and the lives of others} for JOY, would that create JOY in my own heart?

I wondered.

It’s called the 100 Joys project. Every day I am intentionally searching for simple but noteworthy joys in my life. I’m photographing them. And I’m counting.

And almost from the beginning the experiment seems to be working.

I’ve had to force myself to stop. And watch. And look. And note the things that make me smile. And if nothing shows its face, I don’t give up. My heart is different than it was 14 days ago.

I’d like to invite you to come along too. It’s not too late: You can slow down. You can rest, even now. And if you look you can find the joy that’s right beneath your fingertips.

Today's post is borrowed from Sarah Markley, a contributor at (in)courage and keeper of a blog called The Best Days of my Life.

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