I Don’t Want to Write This Blog

As I’m writing this it’s late on Friday afternoon — it’s my blog that I publish each Sunday — and I don’t feel like doing it.

I’ve had a busy week.  I still want to work out before Michelle and I head to a dinner party that we’ve been invited to. I have other commitments all day Saturday so I can’t write it then.  I don’t feel like I have anything of value to say. The list of lame excuses and whining goes on and on.

You might be thinking “Wait a second —  Isn’t this the Joy Guy? Shouldn’t he be bubbling with optimism and energy?”

Well, here’s the truth:  In the midst of feeling a little “down,” I actually still have joy. Remember, joy is not like happiness or what we see in peoples’ Facebook highlight photos.  Joy is a deep sense of overriding peace and contentment that goes beyond circumstances, emotional highs and lows, and “how I’m feeling today.”

It’s about perspective and counting our blessings:

  • I get to write a blog. Not, I have to write a blog.
  • Every time I take a deep breath, slow my mind down and ask God to reveal what I should write about, He always delivers.
  • I am healthy enough to get a good work out in this afternoon.
  • I have friends I am looking forward to hanging out with tonight.
  • My commitment on Saturday is to cut firewood for people who can’t afford to heat their homes in the mountains of Colorado.It’s supposed to be beautiful weather tomorrow. I’m doing it with two friends who always make me laugh. It’ll be good, physical labor after a week of white collar work. It’s for a good a cause.
  • I get to use my new chainsaw.

Just writing that down has given me a lift! I just shifted my perspective from empty to full in a moments’ time. If you ever want a boost of joy, count your blessings.  I don’t think it’s possible to be joyful if we’re not grateful.

Here’s the other thing about joy – and this may sound odd, but I believe it with everything in me: Joy takes commitment and discipline.

For many people, commitment and discipline have strong negative connotations because someone else forced commitment and discipline on them when they were younger and now as adults they want their freedom and autonomy. They avoid commitment because they want options. They avoid discipline because it might lock them into something they can’t get out of in case a “better deal” comes along. Everything in life becomes “carefree and play it by ear.”

The downside is that over time what starts out as freedom and autonomy often morphs into laziness, drifting, lack of focus, and ultimately, discontent.

I’m not suggesting we all kick into hyper-achievement mode.  I’m just saying that if you want real and lasting joy, you will need to commit to something.

Let’s use the M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan to come up with some examples:

Margin in your Calendar: Commit to having the courage to say “No” to things that aren’t supporting your values and goals.

Abide with God:  Commit to time reading the bible, praying, talking with people whose faith you admire, reading great Christian books, joining a bible study, etc. The reward will be heaven on earth and heaven in heaven.

Self-Awareness: Commit to personal growth.  Push yourself to identify and use your talents more. Identify your short-comings and do something about them.

Treasure: Commit to saving more money, giving more money and spending less.

Temple: Commit to getting healthier. I’ve never met anyone who said after a workout, “Well, that was a waste of time!”

Engage in your calling:  Commit to finding a cause, issue, project or volunteer role that is bigger than you. Is focused on others’ well-being. Something that is loving and powered by the Holy Spirit.

Relationships:  Commit to self-control when your friend or family member starts doing that thing they do that drives you crazy. Commit to one random act of kindness a day.

Joy isn’t instantaneous. It’s more like 100 obedient, courageous, selfless steps over an extended period of time.  As I say in my book The Joy Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Peace, Purpose and Balance, experiencing joy is more like growing corn than popping it. Life change and accomplishment and joy take commitment and time.

I didn’t want to write this blog, but I did because I made a commitment to myself – and maybe more importantly – to a lot of other people. If what I’ve written helps one person in one small way, I’ll consider it all joy.

Jeff Spadafora