The Middle Name of Joy

For those of you who have followed Noveltea for any length of time you probably know by now that Monday is my favorite day of the week. I love the idea of new beginnings and a whole week to accomplish and create and live in. 
It’s a little before 7:30 now and I’ve started two loads of laundry, gotten ready for the day, spent several minutes straightening my office and cleaning up my desk area so I could start writing on a more suitable surface for my body posture, talked to my mom (who is also my boss) about what I have on my plate for today and had my devotions. I have thirty-two minutes before I have to be at my non-writing job (it will take me about ten minutes to get there) and I have Chris Rice playing on my phone. 
Life feels pretty good right now. 
Do you know what I’ve discovered though? It only takes me about .3 seconds to go from “Wow! I live the best life in all of forever!” to want to be curled up in a little ball of sadness bemoaning the fact that I can’t simply snap my fingers and turn into a different person for the day. 
It’s not usually anything big that prompts the switch, either. It can be something as simple as me planning on cutting the grass and then finding out that I have to organize the kitchen instead. It can be the fact that I forgot about a meeting or that we don’t have the ingredients we need for supper or that someone dumped my freshly dried clothes in my room instead of laying them out. 

Then I have to stop and think about it. Where am I really finding my happiness and contentment? Is it in the ability to keep my world spinning at the pace I’ve set for it and having everything on my list checked off? Is it when I can do each one of my tasks and still find some “alone” time? Is it when everything goes according to my plan?

Because I don’t think any of those things constitute true joy.

I am striving to find joy in all situations, not just when life goes my way. I want to be able to smile in the face of my dreams disappearing and to be kind and gentle even when the little kids in my life throw me off routine. I want to be able to laugh when my plans change and to be gracious even when I’m out of my element. I want to dance in my stress and love in my frustration. I want my underlying feelings, emotions and my actions to transcend what I am experiencing at the moment and speak of a deep character.

My middle name is Joy and when I was a little girl (ok, ok, maybe I wasn’t so little…) and I was being grumpy my parents would tell me “Oh no, you can’t be grumpy, your middle name is Joy and you need to live up to it. We named you Joy on purpose because we wanted you to spread joy to the people who around you.” I spent a couple of years not liking my middle name. I didn’t want to be full of joy and it felt unfair that my parents were allowed to chose something like a character trait as part of my name.

I’m not sure how long it took me, but eventually I began to really enjoy my middle name. They named me Joy for a reason. It was within my power to bring joy to people and that is an amazing thought. I have the ability to change people’s outlook on life. I have the ability to change frowns into smiles. I have the ability to turn someone’s off-day into an on-day. Of course everyone has this power, not just those with the middle name of Joy, but the name is a good reminder.

And so today I am striving to live with joy. Not only for myself, but also for those around me. I want to greet each situation with a smile and give the world a metaphorical hug. I want to rejoice even when things don’t go my way. I want to bring God glory and those around me joy. And on that note I’d better go before I’m late for my non-writing job. I hope y’all have a wonderful day!

* * *
I am delightedly interested in middle names and would find it quite fun if you care to share yours in the comments. 

4 thoughts on “The Middle Name of Joy

  1. Anonymous says:

    I'd just like to say that I really appreciate this blog! I'm one of those weird stalker people who read a blog for a long time, but never comment…. I've been reading this blog since about instalment 24 or so of WLHYL, so you can translate that into months… 🙂 This blog has given me really good tips and ideas on writing, and as an aspiring writer, it's nice to see someone else's writing journey. Thank you for your honest posts, great witness for Jesus, humour, and writing tips, book reviews etc. Keep up the good work!
    Hannah M.
    P.S I actually won the book in the ElishaPress giveaway because I saw the review on your blog, and entered!
    P.P.S I'm glad to see that I'm not the only person in the world who would go barefoot all year round! 🙂


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