Last Wednesday at lunch with G, one of my Chi Alpha core group leaders, today, we spent a while talking about joy, and specifically the joy we should have as followers of Christ. I think most people, including Christians, view joy differently than what it really is. Rather than being a synonym of happiness, a mood, joy is more like a state of mind. It can be hard to do sometimes, but having joy is a decision, which you have a lot more control of than whether you are in a good or bad mood. And for this reason, you can be annoyed or upset or any number of feelings, but still have joy. While joy isn’t a feeling so much, it can definitely shifts whatever mood you’re in in a positive direction.

As I’ve come to understand this more over the past weeks and months, I’ve realized how much better it feels to be joyful. I’m not proud to say this, but last Thursday night (or really Friday morning), I was up until 7:00 in the morning working on a lab report. This wasn’t because I waited until the last minute to start the report, but after starting analyzing my data on Wednesday, it took me much longer to figure everything out. Anyway, I ended up sleeping halfway through my physics class, so I didn’t go to that, and had a hard time keeping my eyes open in chemistry.  And that was only the beginning of the day.

Had I been the same person I was in high school, or even last semester, I would have not been happy at all. Sleeping in on a school day? Missing class? Not cool, in my book. But it was such a beautiful day. And I got to eat breakfast before chemistry. And I did a really good job (I’m pretty sure) on my lab report. And it feels good to be productive. And it was Friday, so I was done for the weekend after chem lab. And so on… I think one of the easiest ways to be joyful is just to remind yourself of what you’ve been blessed with and focus on all of the positive things, rather than the negatives, in everyday life. It makes a big difference.

All that to say, having joy isn’t a foolproof way to always be in a good mood. This morning I got up late again, 10 minutes before my physics midterm started. I was not in a good mood. I like having time to wake myself up slowly, then going to breakfast, and walking at my own pace to class, and, well, you get the picture. But it was a lot easier to get myself back on track mentally and emotionally than I remember it being.

Well, I should get moving on some work. I’m still working on getting myself caught up with chemistry, which is a frustrating process. And I finally have my interview for marching band leadership today. I forget whether I posted about this, but I completely forgot about my original interview time because I didn’t look at my calendar that morning, then remember two and a half hours afterwards. So that was bad, but thankfully the director’s are giving me a second chance. So it should be a good rest of the day.

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