I have been praying a lot lately asking the Lord to help restore my joy. And, as usual, in the most unexpected way He helped me.
Our family just returned home from a vacation to the beach city where my husband and I grew up. By some beautiful coincidence—on the second day of our trip—I enjoyed a beach day with just me and both my grown kids. I sat on the beach and watched as they boogey boarded.
My son came back in quickly to drop off his board so he could body surf. He asked me if I wanted to join them in the water. Without thinking, I blurted out several excuses so I could be lazy and just lounge on the beach.
As he turned to go, I was instantly frustrated with myself. Here my grown children were asking me to join then and I had said no. So, I jumped up, grabbed the boogey board, and made my way to the water.
When I got to the water, it was cold and I was taking my sweet old time getting in. I found myself falling back into my old pattern of wanting to be lazy so I could just go enjoy the warm sand and book I had brought. Apparently I was being grumpy and my son said something to the affect of, “You’re not having fun so why don’t you just go back.”
And that’s when I had my moment of clarity. Instantly, the thought hit me, “When did I become such a stick-in-the-mud?” Followed by the realization that my younger self would be so sad at what I had become. When I was younger, I was full of life, effervescent, and a free-spirit. I had loved growing up by the ocean and was always the first person in and one of the last to be dragged out at the end to the day.
So, I sent up a quick “hail Mary” prayer saying, “Help me to let go and find the joy in this moment. And, I’m just going to ride these waves and think of nothing else.”
I ended up spending over an hour catching some great waves and having the most wonderful time with my kids. I could have missed out on that experience …but I’m glad I didn’t!
As I walked out of the water, I also realized that I was lacking joy in other areas of my life. I had found myself asking God in recent years to help me find my joy and zest for life again. It was finally clear to me that I needed to start changing my outlook and my actions if I wanted the things I was asking from God.
Joy comes from seizing the unexpected moments.