Living My Joy
I want to believe everyone has a light. Some shine brighter than others. Sometimes, it depends on the person and/or the circumstances. For example, one's light might shine like a searchlight (looking for opportunities to help others) in the morning, and a nightlight (just illuminating a path for someone) by the end of the day. I know some wonder if they have a light at all because darkness seems to permeate their lives. They've been so beaten down by life circumstances, the daily grind, other folks' negative opinions and perceptions, or their own negative perceptions and/or attitudes, that they don't recognize there's a light inside trying to shine.

I believe most of us have a light that shines brighter than we know. We may not be able to see it in ourselves, but others see it. Has anyone ever told you they see something positive in you that you didn't recognize in yourself? Or that they admire you and you don't know why? I believe that's your light shining. Then there are others who recognize the brilliance of their light but try to hide it to make others feel comfortable. They worry that others cannot handle it, will resent it, etc.

It's so important that we let our light shine. We live in a world full of darkness. I believe we were put on this earth to help each other. If we're hiding our light, we're doing ourselves and others a disservice. Our light might be what sparks a light in someone else; it may propel someone into action. It could be the very thing that gives someone hope. Maybe it's by offering a helping hand, a smile, a hug, donation, encouragement, sacrificing time, etc. A small flicker of light from us may cause a fire to grow in the belly of someone else. What may seem insignificant to us may mean the world to someone else.

I don't believe we should hide our light to please others. Some just may not be ready for what we have to offer. This is not about arrogance. It's not about shining our light in others' faces like a spotlight. I believe the light of arrogance is dim. Instead, it's about living our lives in a way that people are helped, inspired and/or encouraged. Not everyone will be appreciative, but we can't control that.

What about the light we shine at home? Are those closest to us beneficiaries of our light, or do we save it for others? If so, perhaps that's a light with a little too much shade.

What do you think?

We all experience pain in our lives. If you haven't, like older people used to say when I was growing up, "just keep living." Whether the pain is emotional, physical, etc., we all have things that hurt us. Sometimes, it's inevitable that others will see our pain. Other times, it's not. I don't knock anyone who openly expresses their pain. But I don't want anyone knocking me if/when I don't. Or, to assume an absence of pain because there's no outward manifestation of it. We all handle things differently. Neither my way nor anyone else's way is right or wrong; it's just different.

When I initially became ill, I was absolutely miserable due to pain, but I didn't show it. Even most of my former doctors didn't believe me (until my tumor was found)--and that's why they're my former doctors. Neither my countenance nor my physicality fit their checklist. Over the years, I've had other doctors, friends, and associates question whether I could truly be in the pain I said I was in because they couldn't see any manifestation of it or hear it in my voice. Now, in case you haven't figured it out based on subtle hints on this site (for example, the "Are you Joystipated?" page), one of my health issues requires fairly frequent visits to my gastroenterologists (yes, plural). You can trust me when I say these are the types of issues that can make one quite prickly. So, when I'm pleasant, suffice it to say it's because I'm living my joy and not my circumstances. Typically, the worse I feel the more I go out of my way to look the opposite. I'm going to put on my lipstick and earrings. More likely than not, I'm going to wear a pair of high heels (although low by today's standards). And, hopefully, if we cross paths, I'm going to give you the best I have at that time. Yes, indeed, that's how I'm living. Because I'm still here! I'm still standing! There's so much in my life that's good and right that I refuse to place my focus on what's wrong.

As I write this post, I'm doing some self-examination. There are definitely situations where I've been guilty of the very thing about which I write. So now when I see or talk to someone, I'm going to try to be more mindful and not assume all is well because there's no obvious indication that something is wrong. Instead, I'm going to listen to what they say. Because, like me, they may be holding their head high since a lower view is too restrictive. Living their joy instead of their circumstances. Why must I see their pain to believe it exists?
The job of a bellhop is to help you with your baggage; to "jump" into action upon receiving instructions. Have you ever treated God like a celestial bellhop? I know I have. Years ago, my pastor preached a sermon on this very thing. How we expect God to jump immediately and deliver on our requests. After all, that's what He's supposed to do--act when we call, right? Not! At that time in my life, I felt that God was late delivering on too many occasions, and sometimes didn't show up at all. While I recognized that "no" and "not now" are answers, they weren't acceptable to me. Wasn't I supposed to "ask, believe, and receive"? I hadn't paid attention that what I was requesting had to be in accordance with God's will. It was all about my will. Well, I don't need to tell you how that turned out, do I?

Now I've lived long enough and had enough life experiences to be thankful for many of the times God didn't grant my requestsHave you learned the value of being thankful for the prayers that weren't answered in the way you requested? I have been in situations when I realized that had I gotten what I asked for in the past, I would have missed out on something better. I've also been in situations where I realized I was saved from disaster by not getting what I asked for. Talk about dodging bullets! I can laugh about those things now with a sigh of relief. Don't get me wrong, though, there are still times when I'm disappointed in the absence of an immediate answer that's in accordance with my will--especially if I lose a loved one, an opportunity, or have additional health challenges. But I'm learning to accept that it's not for me to know why God allows things to happen. I can only trust that whatever the reason, it's according to His plan. While I can only see today from my limited perspective, God sees today and tomorrow from a total perspective. So I try hard to look for something positive in each situation. For example, with my health, although I haven't been healed physically, I have been healed in other ways. That's a blessing.

There was a time when I truly believed I was the architect of my life. Yes, I have free will, and am able to do many of the things I want to do. But I believe we're each on this earth to serve a greater purpose than ourselves. If I'm living according to God's will for my life, that makes me an apprentice carrying out the plans of the Master Architect. With this understanding, the best I can do is get with the program and jump to it. Turns out I'm the bellhop!
I'm alive . . . I'm grateful. I'm in my right mind . . . I'm grateful. I have a bed . . . I'm grateful. A roof over my head . . . I'm grateful. There is clean water running from my faucets . . . I'm grateful. I have food in my cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer . . . I'm grateful. I have electricity . . . I'm grateful. There are clothes in my closet . . . I'm grateful. I have furniture on which to sit and eat . . . I'm grateful. I have health care benefits . . . I'm grateful. Excellent doctors . . . I'm grateful. I live in a country where I am free to come and go as I please . . . I'm grateful. I can freely and openly praise God
. . . I'm grateful. I have love in my life and plenty of love to give . . . I'm grateful. I have everything I need and most of what I want . . . I'm grateful. I have peace in my heart . . . I'm grateful. Joy in my soul . . . I'm grateful. I'm looking forward to the day and all of its possibilities . . . because I'm grateful. If the day brings victories and happy moments, I'll be grateful. If the day brings challenges, I'll be grateful . . . because all storms end. If the day brings sadness and pain, I'll still be able to find something for which I am grateful. If tomorrow never comes, my today is filled with gratitude.

I just set the atmosphere for my day.

How did you start your day?