How to live with joy through the gritty stuff

How to live with joy through the gritty stuff

live-with-joySometimes, it’s difficult to live with joy.

You probably know plenty of people facing big challenge, trials and tribulations.

In fact, the world is full of them. Where I live, fire has taken so much from people. And I know many others with health challenges. Financial challenges. Grief. Heartache.

Life can be difficult.

Sometimes, the easy default is to wallow in it. God knows I’ve done my own share of wallowing in my life. Of seeing through the eyes of fear. Of having a siege mentality.

It’s easy to get carried away by fear:

There’s fear of the unknown. Fear of being penniless in old age. Fear of death.

We don’t want to hear that any of this is meant to be a lesson of some sort. For someone. If not us, someone else.

But if we’ve done all we can do, there’s nothing else to do but have faith that what’s happening is supposed to happen.

What can we do?

Here’s the truth: we all die one day.

We can’t do a damn thing about it.

Death has been a big fear for me and without any real reason to think I would die young.

Fear is more “real” for some of my friends with health challenges. Their anxiety has a real reason.

But step back a minute: what do worry and fear accomplish? They simply rob us of the ability to live each day fully.

How do we keep that from  happening? Not everyone has faith, but if you do, this would be the time to access it.

Because nothing that happens to us us wasted.

Everything that happens to us is used to teach a lesson. We don’t get a say in that.

A friend told me that she was having a hard time receiving from people wanting to help victims of the fire.  It’s easy to give and sometimes not so easy to receive. Seemed clear to me that her situation might have been meant to teach her the beautiful lesson of receiving.

“I just can’t figure out what this disease is supposed to teach me,” another friend said, plaintively. She was convinced that she’d gotten cancer because of stuffing her emotions. But of course, she couldn’t do anything about that now.

Her illness didn’t seem like a lesson for her now, I thought. It was more a lesson for those around her. Maybe the Divine hadn’t sent it but it was surely using it.

She used her strong faith to manage her fear every single day, refusing to let it consume her.

When she left this world it was unexpected, and it was quickly and easily. Thankfully.

Here’s my point:

The only person who can keep you from living fully every day is you –and the anxiety and worry you might feel about your circumstances.

Maybe you don’t have faith. Maybe you don’t believe that the Divine is working in your interests.  That’s ok.

Because the secular side of that is that you can choose how you respond to your circumstances. You can respond with fear and anxiety, or you can refuse to let those take root.

No matter what’s going on, the only person who can ever stop us from living fully is OURSELVES.