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May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself. - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Joy is a Choice - but Not an Easy Choice

Of course you want to be happy, but life is hard. Your job's a pain, your family nags, and sometimes your body hurts, so how can a Joyful Life be a choice? It isn't an easy choice, but Joy IS a choice that you can make.

Some choices are easy, because clearly defined alternatives are available. Choosing between vanilla and chocolate ice cream is such a choice. Other choices sometimes don't even appear to be choices. If I live in Detroit, but I would prefer to live in Florida, I may not feel that I can choose to relocate. In reality, I always have a choice about where I live. I have my story about how my job, my house, my family, and my friends prevent me from moving, but it is truly only a story.

The greatest obstacle to a Joyful Life is your "story" about your life. Your story is filled with needs and obligations. You are sure that you "need" at least a certain income to live - and you likely feel that you "need" more money than you have. You "need" a "good" job. You "need" a big house. You feel obligated to do whatever your boss and your spouse ask of you. Perhaps you also feel obligated to serve your parents, children, friends, church, and more. STOP!

There is nothing I ever need to have.
There is nothing I ever need to do.
I say NO to the demands of the world.
I say YES to the longings of my own heart. - jlh

The secret to a joyful life is Simplicity - saying NO to the advertisements for the latest this and the most glamorous that - saying NO to chasing that next job promotion - saying NO to all the stressful demands upon your time and energy.

It's YOUR time - it's YOUR life - YOU get to choose how you use it. There is no way that your life is "supposed" to be. Your parents had their vision for your life. Your boss, your spouse, your church, your friends, and even the family next door have their ideas of how you should live your life. What about YOUR vision for your life? What do YOU want? YES, it matters what you want. YES you can have what you want.

CHOOSE the life you want, and CHOOSE to live Joyfully.

18 comments:

  1. Amen. The only choice we don't have is the one of being born. Then, we are given a "free" will to "choose". If we loose the "will" there is no choice to make. If we have the "will"-- the energy, the desire, the power--, then we must have option1, option2, option-0 (don't have to choose). If we have the "will" and no options, we can't make a choice. Can we create the options if there are none yet we desire to take one? Jolanta

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  2. I agree with this philosophy of life. Most people blame others for the choices that they themselves made. The pathology is that there are dire consequences with each choice that we make. How and why we make choices are always to be considered first. In the end, serving yourself happiness should be priority and being a slave to friends, children, and family.

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  3. Correction: In the end, serving yourself happiness should be priority, than being a slave to friends, children, and family.

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  4. Yes, truly agree that we should not be obligated to anyone or it would cause us all the heartaches when whatever we did were not appreciated. We should always have the philosophy of self first. That is not being selfish but at least give self the joy and happiness.

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  5. Dear Jonathan, I love reading your Daily inspiration every day. In my oppinion, Joy and Happiness is sleeping in our mind,which we forget to wake them.In my situation, your articles wake me up from my changing direction from happiness to unhappiness.Since I knew myself,I knew myself as Happy persion.I give joy to everyone I meet,everyone arround me are happy to see me happy.As you mention"Demands of the World",I was forgotten myself for a while,and gone to sleep for a while.sleep was so deep that wasn't able to wake up my own.There was someone who connected me with your saul to wake me up.Thank you for waking me up.I love you for this, but please don't get me wrong,I'm not fall in love you.Thank you from bottom of my heart.PS.

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  6. Thanks to everyone for the comments...

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  7. We must remember thou, that Every Action -- Has a Reaction. Making a Choice brings a positive or negative consequence; Not making a Choice will most certainly always bring you a negative consequence. I agree with your statement "The secret to a joyful life is Simplicity - saying NO to the advertisements for the latest this and the most glamorous that - saying NO to chasing that next job promotion - saying NO to all the stressful demands upon your time and energy." Getting back to the Basics will simplify your life. Saying NO once in a while will give you more control over your life which should result in less stress and more JOY. Having a Joyful Life is also an attitude. When you wake up in the morning you make a concious choice to have a "good" day or a "bad" day. Circumstances and situations may arise throughout the day, but you make a choice in whether the issue is going to make you "cranky" or continue being Joyful. By God's grace, we can be JOYFUL in the midst of turbulent seas. God Bless your encouraging words and positive affirmations.

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  8. ahhhh...the irony of this one being attached to today's positive message. i often click on each additional link or just one that jumps out at me & today this one jumped at me. this one was here at just the right time. i 1st read this 1 when going through a tough time trying to decide whether or not to leave a job that has caused me nothing but strife, but i've stayed because it pays well...chasing the american dream...haha. i had awoke w/mixed feelings today about my decision and here was this message and the spirit of God just began working in me...it was aweseome. I cried so beautifully and I know I'm making the right choices & that he has something so big planned for me! I needed this reminder...thanks.

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  9. Going back to what Grace said above, I totally agree with her. Everyone knows you can't give a thing away that you don't have first. This includes anything and everything, especeially:
    JOYFULNESS and HAPPINESS !! Seesee

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  10. i'm very much impressed to read your inspirational quotes. however, help me to be free from sadness as i suffer from B.P. , Headache and stomach problems. though i am under treatment and taking medicines, yet i feel depressed thinking over my bodily problems. pl. give ur valuable talks as to how i can lead my life happily.

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  11. This is in reply to the previous comment... Please understand that the following is my opinion....

    It is one thing to have lost job, money, family, friends, and such. It is quite a different matter to be in physical pain and to have one's own biochemistry run amok. The former set of challenges is best met with gratitude, forgiveness, acceptance, and a courageous focus on new beginnings. The latter is a much harder trial by fire.

    Healing: There are some who believe in spiritual healing, and there are many who put their faith in medical science. I believe that the two are not at odds, but work together. I believe that one of the ways spiritual healing shows itself to me is in guiding me toward the physicians and treatments that will help me the best. I believe that Spirit guides the hands of most of those who develop and administer our drugs and other medical treatments. Don't hesitate to accept medication and other treatments from physicians you trust and are intuitively drawn toward. At the same time, do focus your intention and belief on your power for spiritual healing. Miracles are available to all of us.

    Acceptance: The complementary technique for dealing with your challenges is applying the same tools as in all cases of emotional suffering... Be grateful for what you DO have. Forgive yourself and all others (including God) who you may believe in some way to be at fault. Accept with grace. Connect with your Higher Power from a sense of gratitude rather than neediness.

    I wish you health, wholeness, and joy.

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  12. yes i agree..we are d master of our own path,,we are the writer of our own life..only life and death is constant..d rest is ol depend on our final decision..wat ever/wer ever we had ryt nw nor wer we ryt now..is d result of our deceision frm d past...

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  13. I do agree with most of the comments here, however, there are other things that are not within our power / control. For example, being born to an alcoholic or a drug addict. This is just one example. And yes, eventually and ultimately it is that individual's choice to seek out the help that they need to heal. BUT, some of us start off different than others. I've seen and experienced it. It is very hard sometimes to choose happiness, but you do keep working at it. And, there are ALWAYS things to be grateful for.

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  14. Agreeing with all the above, but how do you feel about one's 'Destiny'?
    Is there such a thing as destiny?

    My whole life has been trauma and sadness and im sick of it. Yes I have made choices along the way but is it my destiny?

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  15. I disagree with the fact that my family is only "a story". Today the pendulum between self concern and responsibility to others has swung too far in the direction of self as a result of the Me Generation. If you are in an abusive relationship by all means get out but to put o.self over kids well-being (and no question divorce effects kids esp. at risk kids) is selfish. And anyway happiness doesn't come from external situations as much as fixing oneself through the hard work of self-reflection. "You can change yourself or your surroundings, which do you think lasts?"

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  16. Everything in our lives is "a story" in the sense that we always add our own perspective to everything we see and hear.

    A crowd gathers outside the convenience store as a mother yells at her son for shoplifting a candybar. There are as many "stories" as there are onlookers. Each person constructs his or her own story about what went wrong and what the mother and son should each have done differently over the last ten years.

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  17. I stand firm in my personal opinion that a child is better off in a home with one loving and attentive parent than in a home with two mutually-abusive parents yelling and throwing dishes at each other.

    See http://www.quotes-daily.com/2009/03/dont-stay-in-broken-marriage-for.html

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  18. I agree with Keith that the pendulum between self and responsibility to others has swung to far toward self. The deepest irony about living according to the self-serving worldview is that all to often we end up being empty inside, unhappy, unfulfilled and disillusioned; because living only for oneself cannot ever bring the truly deep happiness, meaning and joy that we are seeking. We are relational beings; we need to connect to others in order to be happy, and that connection is best experienced in a relationship where we both give and receive. Our best and deepest moments of happiness sneak in during times when we forget our 'self' in working for something or someone greater than ourselves. In this way I choose a life of joy-- it's not always an easy choice, but it's a wonderful one.
    May God bless you all as you seek a truly meaningful life.

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