The past week or so, me and a few friends have been chatting about the concept of joy. Like, what actually is it? What does it feel like? How do we experience it more often?
When you’re a kid, joy seems like the absence of bad, right? Those moments when you have no chores to do, no pain, when life is going perfectly.
Which is honestly kind of a sad way of looking at joy because none of that is in your control. With this juvenile perspective, your joy could be stolen from you at any given moment, by anybody who needs you or doesn’t treat you well or just by life itself.
So is joy out of your control? Is it up to your circumstances, or God, or the universe? Or is it something you can choose to experience?
In my study of joy, I came across this goldmine of a podcast episode from All In. I highly recommend listening to all of it, but minutes 15-25ish are so good if you only have a few minutes.
Here is the part that really hit me:
“…all of the things that I end up doing in the time that remains in my life I end up doing them for the sake of themselves. All the things that used to just be means to an end; all the things that were a kind of slog and a chore that I had to get through in order to finally get the reward I was hoping would arrive in the end…they become things that are worth doing just for their own sakes; and I learn how to love doing them for the sake of themselves.
The joy it turns out that we’re looking for can’t be given as a reward. It’s not a thing that shows up because you did X, Y, or Z, it’s a thing that shows up in your doing of X, Y, or Z and in doing them in a way that manifests the fact that you love them for their own sake, not just because you hope they can get you someplace else.“-Adam Miller
My friend, I’m still very much learning about what joy is and how I can experience it even in the hard things. Because there is no escaping the hard. Life isn’t easy for anyone.
But it can have joy.
So right now, I’m trying to lean into it all and find joy in the doing, not in the done.
Maybe you’d like to join me on this journey. I would love to have you alongside me.
If you have any thoughts on the concept of joy or how you’ve found it in your everyday, I would love to hear your thoughts! Drop a comment below or join the discussion on Instagram.