Living the Overboard Life is so daunting at times. I want it to be easy, even though I know that being pushed to the limit is what helps expand my limits. I know that being emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually stretched will only result in my ultimate good and God’s ultimate glory. But that knowledge alone, doesn’t make the process any more enjoyable. Then I find myself falling into another trap: believing that personal growth has to be hard. It’s not easy, for sure, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. In fact, even Jesus found joy in the process of buying our redemption (Hebrews 12:3), and I believe God expects us to show the same joy in our own growth. It’s not easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard!
Oscar De La Hoya, the great Mexican boxer, once said this about fighting: “Always keep smiling. Work hard and fight the best. There’s no room for ducking anybody. I always fought the best, and whether I won or lost, I always had a smile on my face. Whether it was a tough fight or an easy fight, I would smile…”
Personal growth isn’t easy, but it can be joyful. There are struggles. Some are overcome easily, some require great effort. Sometimes we lose the immediate battle, though we press on to win the war. But through it all, we can be joyful.
Here are three simple ways I’ve learned to keep my joy when I’m in the middle of a struggle to grow:
- Share victories, even the small ones, with the people you love. Most people love to complain. We love to talk about how rough our day was, or how bad our lives are. The evening news, our online news sources and our current events news sites have programmed us to start a recall of our day with the worst events, first. Flip the switch -- share your joys and victories first, even the small ones.
- Memorize joyful Scriptures. I have some power Scriptures that remind me to be joyful, or ones that bring joy to my heart and soul. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7) always puts a smile on my heart. After all, if God will exchange my worries for His care, I’m going to be ok!
- Spend time intentionally being thankful. The words “Thank you” bring joy to both the giver and receiver of them. When I am thankful for the activities of my day, I receive as much joy as those I’ve thanked. Here are a few “thank you’s” I try to use frequently:
- Thank you Traci for a great meal tonight.
- Thank you [insert child’s name] for doing your chores without grumbling
- Thank you officer for that ticket (yes, I actually thanked a police officer for handing me a ticket) (ok, hopefully I don’t have to use that one “frequently”!
- Thank you Sandy (my secretary) for managing that mailing for me.
- Thank you Danny for that timely phone call and advice.
On and on I could go, but the point is this: Every day I have something to be thankful for. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, taking a few moments to express thanks to God and to those people He has placed in my life, my perspective can change quickly.
What tools do you use to keep yourself joyful in the journey? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!