I’ve been thinking about joy and writing about joy and reading about joy this month, but some of my most valuable lessons about joy seem to just hit me out of the blue.

I had just finished ordering school books and supplies for next year, switching out loads of laundry, and was in process of cleaning up lunch and hastily loading the dishwasher.  I had been moving from one task to the next all morning, trying to get all of the STUFF done so that I could get some ‘real, important work’ done.

I have an article that needs to be written and a digital magazine to put together and all of this STUFF (making meals, preparing for school, caring for my family’s needs, etc.) was keeping me from getting to the important things that I really NEEDED to do.

As I turned around to take a stack of plates to the cabinet I caught a glimpse of our little furry girl, Rosie, doing what she does several times a day…sitting at the widow, longingly looking outside at all that she’s missing out on by being cooped up in the house.

Never mind that she’s pretty much the queen of this castle.  She has a full food bowl, cold water, treats, people to play with, and an endless supply of snuggles.  Still.  She often goes to this window in our kitchen and gazes out at all the places she’s rather be.

Maybe she’s imagining that she’s chasing the squirrels or rabbits or birds that she sees scampering outside, just out of her reach.  Maybe she’d considering what it would feel like to run wild out in the field.

I smiled.  Then it hit me, like a sucker punch to the gut.  

I’m totally pulling a Rosie.

But worse, you know, because I’m a person who should know better.

 I felt like an ungrateful jerk until grace flooded in and washed that ugly thought right out of my head. 

I’m moving through the tasks of my day, longingly looking ahead to the things I feel like I’m missing out on, while all of this good stuff of daily life surrounds me. 

And it’s stealing my joy.

Isn’t that how it works sometimes?

We get so consumed looking at the things we wish we had, the things that we wish that we were doing, the places that we wish that we were; that we miss out on the good stuff, the joy, that surrounds us.

Our joy is being hijacked right out from under our noses because we are too busy dreaming about the ‘what ifs’ to notice the joy right around us!

Rosie could be playing fetch with Gavin, whose sprawled on the floor in the living room reading a book.  She could graze from her food bowl or she could curl up in the little patch of sunlight streaming through the window and enjoy a warm nap like our other furry girl, Lilly, is doing.

Instead, she’s longingly look out at what she’s missing out on.

Kind of just like I was doing when I rushed from one task to the next, not engaging in the moments or with the people around me, barreling through my morning with my eyes longingly looking ahead to the “important” things; missing out on the joy all around me.  Kind of like we all do sometimes.

Ouch.  I know that realization hurts a little.  It did for me too, but remember grace, friend.  

You see, I should know better, because one of the things that I have learned about joy this month is that when I’m actively looking for it, I can almost always find a reason to be joyful in any moment.     I bet you can too.

Even in the mundane, we are all so blessed.  Even in the hard moments, there is always a glimmer of joy to be found.  Even in the messy, imperfect moments, there are reasons for joy.

The more we look for joy, the more we notice it in the everyday moments, right where we are.

Unless we pull a Rosie.

Sweet friend, if we are constantly looking out at the things we wish we had, the places we wish we were, the things we wish we could do; then we miss out on the joy that is all around us. 

Goals, dreams, wants, desires; they are good and healthy.  Heck, I even think they are necessary.  I’m a big dreamer.  However, when we get so focused on what we are missing out on that we forget to engage in and enjoy the moments that happen right in the middle of our every day, we miss out on so much joy right where we are.

I don’t want to miss out on the everyday joys, and I don’t want that for you either. 

So, I’m taking a big, deep breath.  I’m pausing from the tasks to curl up on the couch next my kiddo and type this.

I’m letting gratitude for this lesson and for the joy that sits right there in the middle all of the messy, imperfect moments sink in to my heart.

I’m enjoying this space instead of resenting it. I’m extending a little grace to myself.  I’m keeping my eye out for the joy around me.  I’m being grateful.

Maybe you will want to do the same if your joy is being hijacked by the what ifs.

And, just so you know, Rosie gave up her window post to drape herself over the cushion behind my shoulders and she’s snoring contentedly in my ear.

Maybe we are all learning lessons about finding joy right where we are today.

Love and blessing,

Bobbie


 

This is Easter a few years ago with my sisters. Who even knows what I’m laughing at, but these two bring out the laughter in me!

Joy.

If I sit and think about what joy should look like, my mind wanders to those memories that I’ve tucked away where I feel blissfully happy.

Like snapshots, I thumb through them.  I see the places and the people that I love the most.  I see birthday parties and anniversaries and holidays and celebrations and family gatherings.  I see the grins of my boys and the smile of my husband.  I hear the laughter of my family.

A smile spreads across my face as I recall those moments, but a twinge of sadness shadows them because all they are now is just that.  Moments.  I’ve tucked them away and can turn to them for a smile and the warm, fuzzy feelings that they bring, but the experience of them is in the past.

Memories.  Moments.  Fleeting.  Temporary.

That’s when truth glimmers and hope pushes in.  I’m reminded of what I’ve come to know to be true.  Those feelings aren’t joy.  They are happiness.

The two are different.

 

Those feelings aren’t joy.  They are happiness.  The two are different.

 

What’s the difference?

I’m glad you asked.

Webster says that happiness is:  a : a state of well-being and contentment b : a pleasurable or satisfying experience.

A state.  An experience.

Joy is defined differently.  Webster gives one of the definitions for joy as : a source or cause of delight.

Joy is a source.  Joy is a cause.

 

That is what I was to dig into this month.

Joy. 

Joy that lasts.

Joy that endures in hard seasons, in sadness, in trials, and in struggles.

Joy that is present in good times and in bad, in plenty and in want.

 

But how is that even possible?  How in the world can we have that kind of joy?

We can have that kind of real, deep, soul penetrating, enduring  joy because Joy is a source.  Joy is a cause. And we know what the source and cause of joy is!

Habakkuk 3:18 NIV reminds us of the source and cause of our joy, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:18 NIV

 

 

Let’s dig in to how this kind of joy looks in our everyday lives.  Let’s see how knowing that this kind of joy is available to us changes everything, because we all want happiness in our lives, but what we really need is JOY.

 

We all want happiness in our lives, but what we really need is JOY.

I’m excited to really dig into the theme of joy this month!  I hope you’ll join me over on Facebook, on Instagram, on You Tube,  and here on the blog!

Need some resources to help you dig into joy?  Subscribe to my newsletter HERE!  I’m going to be sending out some things that may help!

 

My friend, Lauren Gaskill will be joining me as well!  You’re going to love her!  You can get to know here HERE.

This month, let’s really explore how to Honor Him through JOY, even in the Craziness of our lives!

 

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 


Happy June, sweet friends!  My favorite part of each new month is introducing you to another of my Sisters at Build a Sister Up!

This month, I’m excited to introduce you to my friend, Lauren Gaskill.  Lauren is a blogger, a speaker, podcaster, and founder of She Found Joy.  She Found Joy is a nationwide ministry encouraging women to discover an authentic joy in Jesus, live it consistently and give it abundantly.  They host ladies’ night out events across the country!  You’re going to want to pop in to her website right now and find one near you!

She is also in the process of publishing her first book, Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith, which releases Nov. 6 and is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

Diagnosed with an incurable genetic disorder (Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), Lauren is passionate about encouraging others to fight for faith and keep hope alive — no matter what. When she’s not writing, Lauren loves to cook, bake and go on hikes with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who is affectionately named Reese after Lauren’s favorite candy, peanut butter cups.

I’m so excited to have Lauren joining me this month as I dive into the theme of JOY.  Obviously, she’s the perfect fit for this month!  I can’t wait for you to meet her and get to hear her heart!

I’d like to introduce you to my sweet friend, Lauren Gaskill!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
North Carolina is my home. Alex is my man. Reese is my fur baby (and yes, I named him after Reese’s peanut butter cups because … chocolate and peanut butter … hello!) Beaches and mountains are my happy place.

Writing, speaking, cooking, baking and designing are some of my life’s greatest passions.

Coffee or tea?
Both. I love black coffee and blueberry green or chamomile lavender tea.

Exercise or nap?
Exercise all the way! I’ve been a swimmer since I was a little girl and still swim several times a week. Can’t keep me away from the water!

Cake or pie?
Chocolate chip pie. My sweet mama makes the best one I’ve ever had.

High heels or sneakers?
Birkenstocks.

Vacation or staycation?
Vacation. Preferably to the Caribbean, please!

Early riser or sleep in?
Early riser. I had to get up for early morning swim practices in high school and then to work the opening shift at a gym and bakery in college. So, it’s kind of in my blood, whether I like it or not.

Read the book or watch the movie?
Both. First, I like to read the book and develop my own perspective.  Then, it’s fun to see how directors and actors interpret the story on screen.

Dogs or cats?
Dogs! I’m partial to Cavalier King Charles Spaniels! (Although all animals are amazing.)

Introvert or extrovert?
I used to be an extrovert, but I’m becoming more introverted with age.

Country living or city girl?
I love visiting the city, but please, let me live in the country!

Do you have any hobbies?
Swimming, singing (although it hurts my jaw), hiking, traveling, walking the beach, reading, cooking, baking, biking, trying new restaurants

What are you listening to, reading, or watching that you are loving right now?
TV shows: Nashville and Friday Night Lights
Reading: The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers and all of the BASU books!
Music: U2, Coldplay and Goo Goo Dolls forever!

What are you passionate about?
Helping women live courageously and joyfully. Walking with my Jesus.  Being the best wife and friend I can be.

What/where are you writing?
Just finished edits for my debut book, Into the Deep: Diving Into a Life of Courageous Faith, which comes out Nov. 6!

Are there any other projects or ministries that you are working on/with?
She Found Joy

How can we connect with you? (website, social media, events?)
Blog: http://www.laurengaskillinspires.com
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lauren.gaskill.inspires/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lauren_inspires
Instagram:  http://instagram.com/lauren_inspires
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/lauren_inspires/

What is an area that you’d like to grow in?
Patience.

How can we build you up?
Help promote the She Found Joy fall tour and the book launch in November!

Is there a parting thought you would like to share?
Proverbs 3:3. It’s one of my favorite verses, and I hope it encourages you! “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”