May Your Joy Be full

Happy New Year!! 2020 was a year none of us could have ever predicted. I don’t know about you, but I look back on it and wonder how exactly we got to this point. Never in all my years would I have believed that the entire globe would be fighting against an invisible enemy known as COVID-19. From lockdowns to border closures, our world was turned upside down. I felt like we were in an episode of Black Mirror, and let me tell you, I wanted out. Every norm we once knew had shifted. Laws were changed, new procedures had been put in place. Everything I once took for granted had been altered. I found myself missing the little things!

Now, I know a lot of us have been feeling down and lost. Our lives were altered without the permission we once thought was needed for such a big occurrence to take place. We were told we had to stay home, without being allowed (in some communities) to visit friends and family members, attend church, go to the gym, and shop, unless it was deemed essential. It is hard to find a light to the end of this very dark, never-ending tunnel.

So how do we stay positive and find joy with COVID still out and about? It is hard to find hope, to see the good, and to know that we will be okay. Because we can’t and don’t know that. I struggle from time to time, to stay positive, and to feel safe. It’s ok to be unsure, it’s okay to have those days where you are down in a rut. We aren’t perfect, and in a time where the world feels like it is crumbling around us, it is absolutely ok to not be ok! Don’t be hard on yourself for having bad days or finding yourself lost. You are not alone.

With this being said, a new year brings a new mindset. Unfortunately, we cannot leave COVID-19 in 2020, but we can change the way it makes us feel and how it affects us. Last year was filled with doubts and fears, understandably, but this year you can change that! Thinking positive, having faith, and pushing yourself to look past your current setbacks can help to see a better future, and live a better present. Below I’ve listed a few ways to find joy beyond the pandemic.

Surround Yourself with Love and Comfort – Psalm 119:50
It is crucial to surround yourself with family and friends, the people who support and love you. Even if it only includes Zoom calls for the near future, don’t separate yourself from those who you love and who love you. Don’t forget those who are in your corner day in and day out, who cheer you on, help you when you’re in need, and comfort you when you’re lonely. This year be sure you make time for those who care for you. Make sure to spread your love around. Surround yourself with the love and comfort of those who cherish you and your presence. They can bring light to your darkest day.

Express and Have Gratitude Psalm 9:1
Be thankful for what you have. Waking up and feeling grateful can affect your mindset and help you feel fulfilled. A good way to do this is to write down in a journal why you are grateful, spend a little bit of time in the morning putting down on paper what you are thankful for. If it’s a person? Tell them! Call or message them explaining how grateful you are to have them, let them know how special they are to you. No matter how small it might be or insignificant it might seem, be thankful for all your blessings. Appreciate the good you do have, and the things you can control!
James E. Faust says, “a grateful heart is the beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayers, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being.”

Don’t Let Your Anxieties Take Over – Proverbs 12:25
A lot of the time, it’s our own mind that ruins how we feel and view things. Don’t give your anxieties the power to make you doubt your journey, yourself, and others. Take a moment to figure out why you are feeling down, insecure, or anxious. Find a way to overcome it, take a walk, connect with a loved one, or take some “me” time- do something you know will make you feel happier. Don’t allow yourself to be the reason for your own downfall.

Have Faith – Hebrews 11:1
There’s no doubt that this pandemic rocked how some of us might feel about our connection to God. However, you cannot allow it to. Let’s look to John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full”. This passage reminds us that the Lord’s joy often comes through pain and suffering, that those who experience the greatest defeat will also be the ones to experience the Lord’s greatest joy. Ultimately, we need to have faith in Him, His plan is to give us abundant life. We need to remember that, “when you have faith in God, you don’t have to worry about the future, you just know that it’s all in His hands. You just go to and do your best” -Elder Bryan Mathison. All we can do is have faith in God and know that He has a plan for us. We need to have faith and continue to spread love, kindness, peace, and His teachings.

A good quote to remember is by Juansen Dizon, “I hope you realize that every day is a fresh start for you. That every day is a new chapter in your life waiting to be written”. Take it day by day. Be present in every moment, take nothing for granted. Remember what makes you happy, what makes your life worth living, and make them a priority. If you noticed, anything materialistic can fade, a job is just a job- unfortunately, as the pandemic showed us you can lose it in an instant, but your faith and your family? That is what stands at the end of the day, that is what keeps you going, and what you continue to hold on to. Don’t take that for granted, celebrate the small things, make time for the things that matter most to you. Be present, don’t focus only on the future, or count down the days until something big is about to happen, you don’t want to miss out on so many good things happening around you!!

Robert Rogers expresses, “my faith didn’t remove the pain, but it got me through the pain. Trusting God didn’t diminish or Vanquish the anguish, but it enabled me to endure it”. This year may not be perfect, we won’t be without disappointments, but we can do our best to find peace and harmony by having faith in God and His plan.

“We may not have chosen the time, but the time has chosen us” John Lewis.

Have any tips and suggestions that you’ll like to add? Kindly do so in the comments section below.

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