To say life has been challenging lately is an understatement, I believe. Life has been downright hard, and there have been numerous times in which I’ve broken down into flooding tears asking God why is it so hard, and why can’t it be just a little bit easier?! Why can’t things go as planned, why do bad things keep happening in the world, why can’t we all just be a little nicer to each other, and a little happier each day?
With this challenging life, and in my life, in particular, I can honestly say that it has been really difficult to find joy in living. The hustle and bustle of each day are exhausting, and the trials and tribulations of the world are devastating and depressing. You don’t hear much about joy on the news, and you don’t read about it on social media. Instead, we see the latest crime stories and Covid statistics reported on TV, and we read people’s constant complaints all day long on social media.
The negativity is overwhelming. Joy is most certainly lacking in today’s world.
Over the past few years, in trying to better myself and pull myself out of a depressive rut, I have been diving into various self-help books I’ve found recommended online and by others. My most recent find is one of Brene Brown’s books, Daring Greatly. If you haven’t heard of Brene, she is definitely one worth researching, and listening to one of her TED talks on YouTube won’t be a waste of your time. She is a researcher and professor with a degree in social work who has spent years studying shame, vulnerability, courage, and empathy. She has written quite a few books on these topics and I’ve become quite impressed by her work!
Recently as I was awake late at night into the morning hours (thanks to my circadian rhythm disruption courtesy of night shift nursing), I was listening on Audible to Daring Greatly, and I came upon some words that hit me with such conviction that I had to write them down.
“Joy comes to us in moments- ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.”
I realized that lately, in this exceptionally hard season of life, I myself have been seeking so much of the extraordinary that I’ve been missing out on the joyful ordinary moments happening right in front of me every single day.
Like when I get quick hugs from my kiddos on the way out the door to work, headed in for my night shift as a nurse in the Neonatal ICU. Like when I wake up in the morning to my dachshund’s long fur tickling my nose because he is once again competing against me for my pillow. Like when I pull up behind a car in traffic and get just close enough to read their funny bumper sticker about actually owning a minivan.
All of these moments are pretty ordinary, and each of them may elicit a smile, or, as in my case lately, they may cause a moment of annoyance and aggravation. Sure, my kids mean well by hugging me as I leave for work, but too many times have they come running to give hugs and I have sighed and rolled my eyes because I’m running late and haven’t they hugged me a thousand times before? And my dog trying to steal my pillow- I can’t stand his long hair getting on my pillow! Never mind that he loves me and wants to be as near to me as possible, providing me affection and security, thus cuddling up next to me in bed. And that car with the funny bumper sticker is driving slow in the fast lane- I don’t care what the sticker says, just move out of my way!
However, I pray that I can choose joy more often than annoyance and aggravation. I want to be able to experience my life’s moments, to actually live in the present and feel my life happening, and to see it for how wonderful it truly is. Thankfully, Brene’s words came along just in time to save me from missing out on any more of these seemingly “ordinary” moments in which I need to take a pause in life and enjoy. I need to thank God for each and every second of joy that he is putting into my life on a daily basis and take time to relish in this joy and reprieve from my current life that may seem all too hard these days.
For all the moms out there
I pray for all of us moms out there who are struggling in this hard season. I hope that you too can take your eyes off of your phone for a few minutes as you sit relaxing on the couch, and actually watch your children playing legos with each other on the living room rug.
I pray that you can cherish moments over dinner with your family and, instead of eating too fast and rushing through, actually talk about each other’s days and maybe converse about the joy they themselves may have experienced that day.
I pray you can find the joy in instances such as these, in the seemingly small and insignificant moments, and that even while we are all struggling during this hard time in life, we won’t let this hardship steal away the perfect joy that can be found each and every day with our own perfectly imperfect little families.