“What lights you up inside? What really brings you joy?” Someone once asked me this question and I used to be able to readily give an honest answer. And then everyday life crept in; and routine settled in; and that gave way to boredom, lifelessness, and just going through the motions, and I lost my sense of true north- of just what makes me who I am and the things I love to do. Responsibilities have to come first most of the time. Laundry will keep, but the 3 beautiful souls I’ve been entrusted with don’t have a modicum of patience when their blood sugar is low and it’s nearing lunch time- they have to come first. But if I’m not to lose who I am in the midst of pouring into the small ones, I have to take some time for myself too, as Mufasa said to Simba (if you don’t know this reference, please come to my house for Friday night dinner and a movie), “Remember who you are.” This is so critical for joy!
I have been blessed with an amazing family and home and I am so thankful for them, but I still need to take time for me, even amidst all those other things that barrage my mind to be done by day’s end. I can’t be the person I want to be for my children and husband without taking time to recharge myself. As much as I need time to do something I love, I also desperately need to have a community, a village of other ladies of all ages and walks of life to surround me and speak truth to me and encourage me and help me bear my burdens some days. Because, if we’re honest, some days the thought of doing the routine again is just awful. Some days I can’t see the value of who I am and what I’m doing; but an encouraging word from someone else who is ‘in the trenches’, or a cup of 8 times reheated coffee with a friend who has ‘been there, done that’ is enough to remind me that I’m not alone and isolated as I might believe sometimes. You may have heard the story of the African tribe where when one of the tribe members does something wrong, they put that person in the middle of the tribe and then remind the wrongdoer of who they are. The story says the tribe members speak every good thing, every strength, every kindness, every positive thing they can recall about this person as they surround them and then restore them to the tribe. They help this person remember who they are and help bring them back to a place of joy and love (whether or not this story is factual seems to be up for debate, but I can only imagine how awesome it would be if it were true!).
This is why we need to journey into joy: to be fully who we are and who we want to be, and to not get lost in the process. This takes others who not only want to have a friend but those who will be a friend as well. It takes a group of people to show us the way back to the path when things get in our way. It takes a group of people who will lovingly guide us back to the place we need to be. Sometimes joy is easy to grab ahold of, and sometimes we need to be reminded of how to get there. I know I want to be part of a group of people who help make life meaningful in the mundane.
I would love to hear from you: what are some ways you have found that help you restore your joy? What helps you recharge and find rest?
Hope to hear from you!