Joy when you are struggling

I have had some emotional happenings in my life and when I came here and noticed I have not posted in over two weeks I felt frustrated with myself. But, I am doing for me what I recommend for everyone and what I do for others — giving forgiveness and grace. Life sometimes can be overwhelming and things can become a lot to keep up with and sometimes we will slip, that is ok. It is ok to feel down and upset, it is ok to be frustrated, it is ok to be a human and feel what you need to feel. The key is deciding how long you will dwell there, to make small daily choices for you and to make sure you are taking care of yourself.

My brother recently shared with me that while he understood doing the list of joys, he couldn’t think of what brought him joy, he had found himself so caught in the darkness that he could not see the joy all around him, and this is a habit – one you should not feel ashamed of, or be talked down to about, or one you have to remain in. My brother began with small steps to improve his life, he knew he could no longer continue the way he was and he wanted change, he wanted God in his life even if he did not know it. It may not be clear all the times but God is in everything, there is nothing in this world that is not God. And I do not judge you if you call it life source, or the universe, or Mother Earth or any other name. I do not care what beliefs you have and your personal relationship with God, I am here to seek forgiveness for all and that is not obtained because you believe in the same version of God that I do.

I did care deeply that my brother was hurting and I have learned from a dear friend of mine, Sara Waters (great book, great TikTok, great person!) that each of us has parts to us and sometimes those parts are louder than others and sometimes they can be scary but they are doing their best to protect us. Because of this, I was able to remain mostly calm when faced with the truth of how deeply he was hurting and I am so beyond thankful for this. Not only did allow me some peace to understand that this is an opportunity to become curious about why he felt this way, what are steps in his life that can start small to change this, and what does he need to move forward. He quickly identified his kids are a clear joy, every day, in the smallest and biggest of ways, and has said they are his reason but beyond that was having a hard time seeing through the fog.

Until this morning when an honest miracle happened. He had moment after moment this morning of clarity and epiphanies, with the biggest coming from vocally calling out to God and being answered. In his moment of need, his car reset and a religious music station came on, this is not a station he listens to or a station that has played in the car before when it started and the song playing told him to bring Him his tears, bring Him his pain, bring it all to Him because he is more powerful than anything here on earth. It was a remarkable and needed moment.

You may or may not have such a moment in life, you may find your peace and your joy in other ways but trust you will find them. Even if you have to start in the smallest of ways or ask a loved one what they think you find joy in, it is available to you. In your darkness, there can be light.

My brother may have had this miracle moment but before that he told me he decided to find his joys by starting with what he didn’t like and work his way from there. He began to see joy in some of the most ‘simple’ of things that life has to offer: watching sports, taking a morning walk, enjoying his coffee outside off his phone, the cool morning air, and he also listed his friendship with me and that is now added to my list of joys — seeing that text message with that listed.

He opened my eyes to understanding that seeing joy in life is not always easy and sometimes you may need some extra help to figure out how to find some joy. Please just be kind to yourself, start small, contact someone who cares about and knows you and ask them what you enjoy to get going and once you do, you may be surprised how much you notice these small joys (and some big ones!)

I do have a recent podcast on this topic if you’d like to take a listen. And if video is more your style, I do shorter videos on these topics over on my YouTube channel.

Until next time, I wish you joy – no matter how small – in your day.