I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19a
Happy New Year! I trust you’ve had a chance to recover from the Christmas rejoicing and the New Year celebrations. Maybe now you’ve begun to think about something new, something bold, and something h-e-a-l-t-h-y! Well, I’m just in time to release you from old expectations of gym memberships and Paleo diets and invite you to think about your health in new ways. Spend this year with me in “365 days of Joy.” I believe, and research supports, that when you live with more joy, your health improves. You feel well, regardless of your physical state. Or as Paul says in Philippians 4:11, you learn to be “content whatever the circumstances.”
When I say living with more joy, I don’t mean the same as being happy. I mean the joy Shirley Caesar sings about in the song that inspired the title of my blog, This Joy I Have. When I talk about joy, I’m describing a state of mind and spirit—as Paul talks about being content. Happy is focused on an event: Happy Birthday, Happy New Year, Happy Anniversary! However, joy transcends what I see in front of me and focuses me on the present. It calls my attention to the here and now.
Life recently got my attention. Two events happened together that blindsided me. My adjunct position ended because of budget cuts. That was hard to hear. Then on the heels of that, my daughter announced she was pregnant. The old “one-two punch.”
It’s not that I don’t think grandchildren are cute and wonderful. I love my granddaughter. But I was still wearing three-inch heels and red lipstick. I could not get my head around my being a grandmother like my mother—she, not I, was Grandma. Also, I had to resist blaming myself for no longer having a “position.” I liked teaching and having an answer when people asked, “What do you do?” I could not change what had happened, but I could stay in the present, live in the here and now, and remain open to God’s plan for my life.
I looked with new eyes at where I am now. I began to embrace my new identity: a stylish grandmother who is available to babysit for her granddaughter! I began to focus on my daily joys. My state of mind shifted through Centering Prayer. I became content and connected to my joy and myself.
My big “aha” moment about the impact of joy came when my internist looked at my perfect blood pressure result and then looked at me with surprise. I had presented with the lowest blood pressure he had seen in the two years he had been my provider. He wanted to know what “new thing” I had done to lower my blood pressure without medication. I admitted that the biggest change was working on my mental and emotional health (lifestyle changes), which improved my physical health.
I invite you to join me in my “Seeking 365 Days of Joy”! Every day this year I will find a joy and present it to you in my weekly post. Also, I would love to get your daily joys. I will include as many as I can in my blog. You can ask that your name not be included, if you wish. However, whether you send them to me or not—seek more joy every day. Your joy will lead to improved well-being. Try it. You may not have the perfect blood pressure reading, and life will still blindside you, but I believe you will perceive what happens in your life with new eyes, which will lead to lower stress and higher wellness. Live Healthy and Be Well!
My Daily Joys
- Slathering sweet-smelling body butter all over
- Enjoying a plate of nutrient rich, low-calorie spaghetti squash and lentils
- Wearing the red workout clothes my daughter gave me
- Doing sun salutations from memory in my morning ritual
- Having just the right book for my morning devotion
- Finding my favorite organic, unfiltered apple juice on sale
- Having a chat late at night with my girlfriend because she’s a night owl, too