Keep Leaning In
The journey to joy is just that – a journey. It’s not a single decision. It’s a series of decisions over time.
So many people want their lives to be different, but they’re not willing to live differently. I can tell you that everyone who experiences real joy (and, for that matter, success, healthy relationships, a strong body, a sense of purpose, etc.) has taken a risk, made a sacrifice, stopped whining and gone and done something.
The last two weeks I’ve been trying to give you very specific ideas to take action on:
Two weeks ago my recommendation was to grow your understanding of who God is and how extravagantly he loves you by reading Matthew 5-6 and John 14-17.
Last week’s recommendation was to listen to a talk by Bill Hybels and look closely at the sad and messed up things going on in this world. The point of this recommendation is to give you perspective and boost your gratitude and compassion.
Did you do those two things? If not, I encourage you to go back and do so.
If you did, here’s this week’s recommendation:
1. Keep reading the bible or a great book about God. My top three recommendations are The Raggamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg and Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby.) Proactively growing in our knowledge of God is the first step toward joy and a habit we should continue forever.
2. Next, do something small and specific based on what broke your heart last week as you got exposed to some of the problems in the world. Here are a few simple ideas:
a. Write a note to someone caught in or working on the problem that you care about to encourage them.
b. Write a check to an organization working on that problem. Make it an amount that stings a bit.
c. Find a place to volunteer in the next 30 days. Not “some time.” Not “After the holidays.” Within 30 days.
I know people are motivated differently and maybe these steps don’t particularly resonate with you, but all recommendations I make are habits and disciplines of joyful people who I have observed over the years.
Don’t expect any single step done once to massively change your life. Just keep leaning in. If you do, your life may not be different by Tuesday at noon, but a year from now you’ll be a new person.