Choosing Joy

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ever wake up and feel like a swarm of birds pooped all over you while you were sleeping? And not in the I-desperately-need-to-wash-my-hair kind of way. More like, why am I such a crankasaurus? What crawled up my rump and died?

I've been feeling this way a lot lately, and I'm tired of it. It's a Wonderful Life is one of my favorite movies. Mostly because George Bailey and I aren't so different. Neither of us realize the goodness, the wonderfulness, if you will, of our lives. We go about our days with no real rhyme or reason. We are duty bound. Obligation keeps him in his small town, stuck in a boring office at a dinky bank because he doesn't want to see the place his father built destroyed. His life of adventure and travel is put on hold... indefinitely. But for a while, it seems okay.

He has a wife, whom he loves. Children who adore him. A town that depends him. A seemingly adequate life. For all intents and purposes, George Bailey should be happy. Nothing is really wrong. And then it happens. Uncle Billy loses the bank's deposit and Mr. Potter takes full advantage of his mishap. The people begin to panic. The town is in mayhem. And George thinks the only way to end it all is to end himself. 

Enter Clarence. His guardian angel, the one who would completely change George's perspective on his already wonderful life. If you think about it, nothing really changes for George. True, the bank does get out of some serious trouble and he no longer has to go to jail. But for the majority, his life remains the same. He is stuck in the same old town with his family. The exciting life he has always dreamed about is still sitting on the shelf. But now George is happy because he GETS IT.

As Clarence says, "You see George, you've really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to just throw it away?"

I had one of those moments this morning as I was getting ready; it was a George-Bailey moment.

For the last few weeks, I have been complaining like one of those real housewives of New Jersey.
I'm angry at things I cannot control. I'm frustrated that we live in Mexico, away from most of the people we love. I'm hurt by people. I desperately want to work etc. etc. 

It's funny how the little things in life end up being the parts of your day that REALLY matter. In the grand scheme of things, this "revelation" isn't really a big deal. But, like George Bailey, my perspective got changed.

We still live in Mexico. We still haven't really gotten plugged into this city. I still don't have legit 8-5 job. BUT (and it's a glorious but) Grahm and I have each other. We have a cute apartment. We have food.  And we have Jesus, our only good. This may not seem like a lot, but it is. It is everything we need. I just need to remind my greedy heart of this.

So the next time I feel bored, or angry, or just plain ol' apathetic, I'm going to try to change my perspective and realize my life is already wonderful, I just haven't realized it yet.


anna.montana said...

I definitely have those moments. Funny how you get so caught up in your life inside your little bubble - everything seems mundane and almost purposeless. The other day I found myself brooding over the fact that I can't afford to go drop $50 on new makeup and hair stuff at this new Seffora-like store that just opened up...really?! That's the last thing I should have my panties in a bunch about! It's hard to take a second and register all the good we have goin'...but it shouldn't be. Be happy!

Julie Neal said...

I'm right there with you, Jena. It's super hard being down here in Mexico, but count your blessings also that you live in a big city. Alice is just 20,000 and a lot of Mexican food restaurants. We've been looking for a way to move back to Oklahoma, but we know God will make it happen in good time. Until then, just keep being George Bailey!

Kaity said...

Thank you so much for writing this- it's so freakin' timely. I'm so stressed to the point where I want to cry every day. I've just started a new job, have to move in 2 weeks, have a wedding to continue planning in a month and grad school to attend (that I can't even afford). It's so easier to just focus on the stress these situations are causing me (combined with the exhaustion!) rather than focus on blessed I am to be experiecing all of these wonderful, life-changing things!

Perspective, as you said, is everything :)

Thank you, again.

Christina said...

I know exactly how you feel. It is so easy to get caught up in the little annoyances in life and to get wrapped up in people who have hurt you, but what we fail to see are the blessings that the Lord gives us daily. It is a daily battle to choose joy, but we will be better off for it in the long run. I will be praying for you as I pray for my own battles every day.

Erin said...

I love the title of the post because it's something I constantly remind myself of. Jared and I text each other multiple times a week while at work just to remind each other and say "Hope you're choosing joy today!" or "Have joy when dealing with those meanies!" etc... I have to alwayyyys remind myself that the few "things" we have are really the ONLY things we need. :)

Courtney Carlton said...

Timely. That's how I've felt in Dallas recently. Disconnected, disagreeable, and disinterested. But at the same time, so THANKFUL for Bo and for the peace that only Jesus provides in the moments we need it most.

Psalm 118:24 :)

Happy ALMOST weekend!

Amy said...

Thank you so much for writing that, i think you'll realize how much people are A. in the same boat and B. have been there and can 100% relate. I know that feeling SO well. There are some days i wake up and immediately am against anything that comes my way..why?! Why do i do that?! Because we don't take the time to choose joy, like you said.
:) <3

Allison said...

You are so smart to have such a positive attitude. Joy is definitely a choice and you are right in having all you need! Hang in there girl!

Tamara said...

Absolutely agree with everything. Being happy is a choice. Sometimes you just have to look beyond what is directly in front of you, and learn to be grateful for it. You're amazeballs.

Second Hand Rose said...

Such a great post, as usual! I think we all have those moments and we all need to sit back and think about what we really having. The most important thing in your life is the people in it. XxxX

Gig-ee said...

Love your joyful perspective. May I add that, as hard as it is, when you know you are feeling the Debbie Downers, as we all do at times, please think of some kindness or blessing you can share with someone who needs blessing more than you do. It really does more for your spirit than the recipient's and makes living, even in Mexico, more pleasant. Really takes 2 years to feel at home in a new place.

Andrea said...

This was exactly what I needed to read right now. Came across your blog via Sarah at Life of Love. Very inspiring words! I've been living away from family and friends for 5 years now and in a long distance relationship for a little over 2 year so needless to say some days are truly more difficult than others. But I must keep remembering to choose joy. Thanks again for the meaningful words!

Kristina from Everything Changes said...

Y'all live in MEXICO?!

I know that was not the point in your post. Sorry. But I did NOT know that. Did I miss something?! Anyway. I know that you are on the right track if you are trying to dwell on the joyful parts of life! =) God is sovereign and He will take care of y'all! :)

Kathy B. said...

This is an absolutely lovely post, you gorgeous thing! :) It really made me smile. xXx