“When you take your life for granted?
You get jealous.
When you take your life as a gift–
you get joy” (Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts).
On the surface, that sounds easy, right? Who in their right minds wouldn’t choose joy over jealousy and peace over comparison?
But in a society that runs on envy and comparison like fuel, choosing to see your life as a gift to be cherished rather than something you’re owed that you can take for granted is like imitating one of those crazy fish that swim upstream every year. It’s nuts.
The hardest thing in the world sometimes is to celebrate with and for those who have what you don’t– what you desperately long for and pray for and still don’t have– relationships, solid finances, stable careers, etc. It’s easy to get competitive and develop an “us versus them” mentality that leads to a way of life where you have to outdo, outspend, out-everything your neighbor.
Joy comes when you stop competing and start cooperating, when you can genuinely be happy for the person who gets what you’ve waited for so long. Joy comes to those who see and choose to focus on what they already have instead of what they lack.
Joy is not our default. Joy isn’t automatic like breathing. Joy is something we must choose every single morning, and sometimes with each moment. Joy is good.
Right now, joy is a very sleepy geriatric cat on the pillow next to mine. Joy is satisfaction from a full eight hours of work (even if I wasn’t able to get everything done that I wanted to accomplish). Joy is any kind of Halloween candy with chocolate in it. Joy is a warm bed under a ceiling fan. Joy is knowing that real value lies in what can’t be bought or sold or even owned.
Once again, I choose joy because I choose to see this life as a gift.