November Joy

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November might possibly be my favorite month of the year.  It’s just so beautiful, the season of Fall is truly underway, and the delights of friends, family, and food await us by the bucket-load!

Happy November to you if you’re reading this!

When I think of November, I always think of our American tradition of Thanksgiving. This is the month of all months, especially for dwelling on how grateful we are for the blessings in our life.

After deciding to do a Thankfulness journal back in August, cataloging my days with the boys like a diary of sorts, and adding in one thing every night that I was grateful for, I’ve decided this is something I will always try to do.  It’s been so wonderful to look back at the days, see what we did, the little hilarious things that happened, or the sad things and how we got through them, but especially to see what I thanked God for before bed each night.  It’s been interesting to wrap up each day, no matter how good or terrible it was, with the blessing of choosing thankfulness for at least ONE thing I was grateful for.  The days ebb and flow, stretching out and long, or passing by faster than I felt I could keep up, but God’s love remained the same.

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I love the seasons, how each year brings a chance of renewal and remembering what God has blessed us with or brought us through, or what He’s doing right now in our trials.  Recently, our Bible study has switched from studying about the wonder of God, to the joy He wants us to experience.  It’s a strange thing to be studying so much about joy when November, for me, has always been about thankfulness.

I didn’t really realize it, but joyfulness comes extremely easily to me… and this is a gift I should be thankful for!  Ever since being accused of not being genuine – being too happy to be real – back when I was maybe 16 or 17, I’ve wondered why my joy, my genuine happiness wasn’t always perceived as a reality.

Our study guide asked us each to rate on a scale of 1-10, how much joy we have in our life, and I rated it easily at a 9 out of 10.

Joy, happiness, cheerfulness are feelings that come easily to me, but I never understood how much of a blessing this was until doing this study.  In fact, I almost felt a little ashamed at my celebrating the joyfulness of life, afraid that I only looked fake.  I never realized how this is something people sometimes have to work at, and sometimes very hard.  The author of the study admitted she believed her capacity for joy in her life had been only at a 3 out of 10 before searching it out in Scriptures.  I guess when someone is at such a low score of joy in their own life, when they see someone who has a higher level of joy, their first thought is that this person can’t be real, that having that kind of experience must be fake.

“Joy is a gift.

You can be more joyful tomorrow than you are today.”

A huge part of being joyful though, is allowing yourself to enjoy the gifts God’s give to all people in life.  It is also understanding yourself enough to know how to search out and go do the things that fill you back up with more joy when you’re running low or going through a difficult time.

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Whatever it is, joy doesn’t seem to be something that is passively waiting for everything to be just right before we can feel it’s pleasure.

JOY INVOLVES A SPECTRUM OF EMOTIONS, ACTIONS, AND RESPONSES THAT INCLUDE GLADNESS, CHEER, HAPPINESS, MERRIMENT, DELIGHTING, DANCING, SHOUTING, EXULTING, REJOICING, LAUGHING, PLAYING, BRIGHTENING, BLESSING, AND BEING BLESSED, TAKING PLEASURE IN, AND BEING WELL-PLEASED.

One of my favorite places to go in the mornings for a walk with the baby.

One of my favorite places to go in the mornings for a walk with the baby.

Make November full of joy for yourself and your family!

Cook up your favorite holiday dishes a little earlier, make some delicious pumpkin pancakes with hot maple syrup for breakfast, go for a walk in nature and really feel the vibrancy of the colors around you.  Curl up in quiet space with a good book and glass of wine, or get up early and wrap up in a blanket on the couch with a hot cup of your favorite coffee.  These are things that never fail to bring me joy.

Promise to do something, to be radiant with God’s love for you, and to allow yourself to search out joy this November, and I wonder if you’ll find yourself also swelling with gratitude in the end.

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3 thoughts on “November Joy

  1. So well said, Dragonfly! 🙂
    Joy is a gift beyond price. I seem to be “easily happy” as well. Of course, my life is awesome so I don’t have anything to be unhappy about (a million, bazillion thankyous God). I am enormously, gianormously blessed.
    Mike reads a lot of nonfiction books, particularly about the human mind and behaviors (that type of stuff interests him very much). Not long ago he read a book (can’t remember the name and it’s too early to ask him) about human happiness. Apparently people have internal set points. Some people are “happy” types, and some have internal settings that make it very difficult for them to be happen for any extended period of time. They followed folks over the years and found this was true regardless of circumstances (winning the lottery, physical disability, and so forth). Of course the happy person wasn’t happy when they initially lost a limb or became paralyzed, or something…but in time they went back to whatever stage of happiness their “internal setting” was. It was the same for the sad individuals. They experienced some type of great success and were initially happy, but quickly enough settled back on their set point.
    Unfortunately, according to the book the “set points” were set early in childhood and are difficult to reset later. One thing to keep in mind when raising children! It’s very very important to bring the happy. 🙂

    We’ve actually had conversations when I’ve been sad/mad and so forth, and Mike will say, “I know this will pass because you’re a happy person. You can’t help it.” And he’s right.
    Oddly enough, I was raised in a home devoid of any joy. I dont’ remember either of my parents ever laughing, or smiling for that matter. Mike says it’s a mystery. So I’m unbelieveably blessed!
    🙂

  2. That really is remarkable, Liz! My mom had a childhood I think mostly devoid of joy – it was horrible with abuse and all kinds of things, but wow did she overcome it for us! I was blessed to have parents that, for the most part, were able to laugh and be joyful – my mom was (and still is) so much fun and and made my childhood full of joy.

    But she also taught me to search out joyful experiences, to regularly enjoy things and learn what made me happy… she pushed me to do things I wouldn’t have done like join track saying that running (exercising) produced endorphins making you feel more joyful, or to try out for a semi-professional dance group in our city that I was scared to do but ended up being an amazing experience, and so many other little things that ended up bringing me so much joy.

    It was sad to me to learn that other people may honestly have a hard time experiencing or remaining happy. My oldest seems to maybe have a lower set point – he’s still happy and loves laughing, but he gets sad and moody easily. The baby is obviously set higher on the scale – he is always smiling and laughing, very easy-going, rarely fusses usually, and just full of so much joy. It’s strange to see how they’re so different, and how some people can just be born happy (?), like our baby.

    Just last night, we had the best time ever in the bath – the boys were playing with each other with a ball, and were just so silly, my oldest and I were laughing hysterically at the silly things the baby was doing. It’s like he’s already a little comedian. Or maybe it’s just boys… they all seem to have comedian in them!!!

  3. Your Mom sounds awesome, Dragonfly! 🙂

    “Or maybe it’s just boys… they all seem to have comedian in them!!!”
    I agree. Boys are so much fun!
    The other day I came home with my oldest (he drove) from the store. We’d bought a key lime pie and it was frozen. For whatever reason, my oldest was angry at his brother (the second one). When the second one asked, “why is this frozen?” My oldest answered, loudly, “Because YOU’RE FROZEN!”
    Which obviously didn’t make any sense at all. Our youngest replied from the sidelines, deadpan, as if on queue.
    “Dude. Burn.”
    And we all laughed. LOL!

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