March 25, 2013

One Word 2013: For the Simple Joy of a Thing

Have you ever loved doing something?

Like, really loved it? Had a deep passion for it?

Then, you figure out what it will take to get really good at this thing.

You work hard.

And at first, the hard work is glorious. You're invigorated, because finally you're following your dream.

But then, after awhile, life finds a way of nudging in at the edges, reminding you that you have other responsibilities. Reminding you that this thing you do is going to take some blood, sweat, and tears to defend.

But you do it. Because you love it.

And you stick with it. And you get better.

But then, you start to become stressed out, because you're taking forever to get better -- or at least to get to where you want to be.

And soon, that "want to be" turns to a "need to be," because who are you anymore if you don't become the best you can be at this thing you love?

Except...do you really love it anymore? Or has it simply become another thing that you strive for -- and you've forgotten why?

Have you forgotten the simple thrill of doing the thing you were made to do?

Where joy once was, now stress and pressure and fear and doubt have taken up residence.

How did you get here, so far from the reasons you started pursuing this thing you love in the first place?

It's so easy to fall away from that first joy, but you can rediscover it.

Lay off the stress. The pressure. God is leading you where He wants you to go. It may take longer than you'd like to get there, but if it's the route He wants you to take, He'll make enough light for the next step. And the next.

Because I'm learning that I'm most alive when I'm doing what I was made to do. But I wasn't made to stress or have fear or doubt.

Instead, what I was meant to do is "rejoice in the Lord always."

I find it so interesting that my word for 2013 is rejoice. I thought the Lord gave it to me as a promise of sorts, that there would be much to rejoice about this year.

Instead, I'm thinking it's a reminder.

To stop.

To focus.

To return to my joy. 

Your Turn: Have you ever allowed yourself to lose sight of your initial joy for something you love? How did you get it back?

*Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

19 comments:

  1. Lindsay, thanks for such a sweet word of encouragement. I'm smack in the middle of your post right now--caught between hope & doubt. I was reminded just yesterday that the joy of the Lord is my strength. There's something powerful in that revelation. If I can remember to be faithful in pursuing my dream for God's glory rather than my own, then my pursuit shifts from striving to thriving.

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    1. The joy of the Lord is our strength...Yes! Love that thought. And you're so right. The real reason we have joy in what we love is because we're doing it for God.

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  2. Great reminders, Lindsay. I've found sometimes stepping away revives that conviction that joy truly is in the doing.

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  3. Definitely know what you're talking about, when you're deep in those trenches and wondering why on earth that dream looked so good a few months or years before! I think, in the end, if you come back to the love of it, you find the determination to keep going.

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    1. I love that it's a solid foundation to come back to, even when we're deep into the construction of something...we know that even if the house crumbles, our foundation won't change.

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  4. Such a wonderful post today, Lindsay. You have such a way with words and deep thoughts. :) You know me well, so you KNOW I've had times of losing the joy of a dream. But God is always faithful to bring me back--often through friends like you! :)

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    1. Aw, thanks, friend!! And He definitely uses friends like you in my own life to bring me back to the joy.

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  5. Oh yes! I have definitely let myself lose sight of my joy before. Such a perfect post for this week! In my case, I found taking a step back and eliminating the extra, and outside unnecessary stress, gave me perspective and I was able to see why I originally found joy in that thing in the first place.

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    1. You're right...we can pile so much onto our plates -- stuff we don't necessarily enjoy -- and our plate fills up and buries the joy we once felt. Such good advice to eliminate the extra.

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  6. I sooo relate to what you shared today, Lindsay. It's easy for me to let responsibilities and expectations steal the joy I find in pursuing my dream. When I take my eyes off the big picture--for me, glorifying God in all I do--and put it on the things I think should be happening, then I lose my joy in the doing.

    I have to guard against that. Thanks for being so real today, my friend.

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    1. So glad I'm not alone! And you're right. The real joy comes from being right where He wants us and glorifying Him in the process. If we focus on that, we'll be able to rejoice whatever else is going on.

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  7. Lindsay, this resonates big time. It's so easy to get caught up in the joy of a new thing, whether it's pursing a dream, getting married, buying a house, having children, starting a new job - whatever it is, once the newness wears off, and the reality of how hard it will be hits, it's easy to lose the joy. That's the moment when you remember the commitment you've made - not only to the new thing, but also to God, and you realize that life isn't about "feelings" it's about "believing." And you continue to push forth, holding on to the promise that the joy of the Lord is our strength, He will never leave us nor forsake us, when we delight in HIM, He will give us the desires of our heart and when we seek His kingdom and Righteousness first, all the other things will be added to our lives. None of these things are easy, but they're worth it. God placed a dream in your heart and now you're working it out! He has so much to teach you - and in His perfect timing He'll allow victories that will sustain you and keep you going to the finish line. Thank you for sharing today - and reminding us we're not alone! We've all been there.

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    1. You're so right about this applying to so many areas of life!!

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  8. As usual, your vulnerability is beautiful. I found that deadlines tried to steal my joy. Even though I work MUCH better under a deadline, at first I thought it restricted my creative license to someone else's timetable. Well, all it took was to realize the blessing of publishing deadlines and what an incredible privilege it is to that unique calling. JOY!

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    1. You bless me, Donna. :) And you're so right. There are so many blessings even in the things that we don't initially think of as something that will bring us joy. Focusing on the blessing is what can bring that joy out big time!

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  9. This was so good, Lindsay. Thank you for the heartfelt and needed reminder. It sounds like we're in similar places-- I blogged something similar last week. It's such a sweet thing to find that others face those moments too- others, like you, who I respect. :)

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    1. Girl, you definitely have the gift of encouragement! I need to go read your blog post again!

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  10. I've been there. And like you said, I think it takes refocus, more time with the Lord to wash away fear and doubt and then to just love what you do. Sometimes I picture myself in his lap at my desk. His hands fitting over mine and we write together. I find most joy when I remember who's in the seat first. :)

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