Searching for Joy in 2020

by Mary Ellen Collins

2020. That represents either the year we’re in or perfect vision.

But it’s a decade year and a good time to reflect where I’ve been and where I’m going. Being in awe of what God has done in my life.

I spend so much time looking forward, I do not often stop, pause and just look back at where I have been; what I have done. Pondering what has given me joy. Pondering what has stolen my joy.

I am a planner and an organizer. Always thinking about what is next. Each morning I give gratitude for the past 24 hours, and I will confess, I often have to think hard to remember just one day before. My mind is off to the day or the week.

As I reflect on my joy, an email grabs my attention. It asks, “What Makes You Happy?” I find myself asking others this, but not myself.
Am I spending time on what gives me joy, or am I draining the joy out of me?

The author directs me to draw 4 squares on a piece of paper and to answer questions for each box. You need to do this too.

Box 1What are the things I get to do that I enjoy?
This is the easy box. I have a few things that come to mind right away: my job, spending time with family and friends, vacations, or just carving out an hour to read a book.

My biggest regret is not writing a book on mother loss. I have ministered to women for 20 years and I have treasures and stories to share. I have done so much work with age of loss and stage of emotional development. If I don’t share, it will be lost.

Box 3Which activities drag me down?
The trick to this exercise is to find ways to get things on this list off my plate, or to do them more efficiently so I have time to invest in things which will bring me joy.

Details make me barf! I can do them. I don’t like to do them. They take so much focus and energy. They just exhaust me.

Box 4What tasks have I let go of?
Celebrate the things in this box and my strength in letting them go. Maybe it is a bad habit or toxic relationship or a job that was sucking the joy out of my days. Letting go of things that weigh me down are as valuable as making time for things that lift me up.

Well, the first most obvious thing is detail work. There are others. Maybe I should make a list?

Commit to take action
The next part of the exercise is harder. I need to pick something from Box #2 and schedule it for some time in the next few weeks. And just to make sure I don’t back out, I need to share my commitment with an accountability buddy.

As I schedule my activity, I realize the power of putting a date on my calendar. Instead of hoping to carve out some time later, I now have an appointment, not just with myself but with my accountability buddy. And I find myself excited and looking forward to keeping that appointment.

My calendar now reserves Fridays as writing days.

What is in your Box 2? Schedule some time to do this. Find an accountability buddy or just let me know.

This is one activity that outlines intention for a better future.

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