Overflowing Joy

Yesterday I made some fellow drivers quite mad when I didn’t start to drive when the traffic light turned green.

Truth is I didn’t start driving right away because I was distracted. Totally not paying attention. At all. In my own little world.
At that moment my world was filled with cars driving around me with real Christmas trees tied up on the top of each car. There were about 20 cars that went by, all with Christmas trees on top, and I was just mesmerized. I was so stuck paying attention to that, that I totally missed the green light right in front of me.

Watching those 20 cars drive by made me so happy. I mean the kind a happy where you are just smiling so big and you start laughing. I fell in love with those 30 seconds and then snapped back into reality with tons of horns honking at me.
I was just thinking about how very simple circumstances or one moment or even a certain word or image can either bring us the overwhelming feeling of joy or this sudden deep feeling of anger or sadness. And that one thing or moment – it determines our whole entire day, or it can even effect us on a longer time frame, a lifetime.

I had one of those moments yesterday, the car situation. After that I just felt so full of joy, I was just going to have the best day. And then I saw an email that said that all Christmas decorations at Michaels were 70% off and I raced over there and was so excited about what I could find for so cheap. I found everything that I wanted to make my idea of a perfect mantle come to life and when I got home I went to work and my perfect mantle came to life. And that was it. My day was perfect. The mantle was the icing on top of my favorite cake. I actually cried (pathetic, right?) because I was so stinking happy. I had thought so much about how I would decorate my own home for the holidays one day, and yesterday everything came true.

In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t get so happy that I cry on a regular basis. Actually, way more often I have the days where something happens, one little tiny thing happens, and I let it ruin my day instead, I either get mad or sad and I will stay that way for the rest of the day. Its almost as if everything within me says, “NO MINDI, you will not be happy today!” My struggle with anxiety and depression is a long and hard one, a daily one, and I’m sure to most this isn’t news, but maybe some day I will share more on that when I feel like I am ready to.

The other week I actually sat down with my husband and said, “I just want to be happy.” And I want to make this clear. Its not that life makes me unhappy. What I more crave is that momentary feeling of pure joy, and the problem is that I tend to think that the momentary feeling is more validating of a happy life than just plain life itself.
I mostly struggle with this on an internal level, but when you are newly married everyone tells you that you need to communicate with your spouse more than anything else (which is actually harder than I thought it would be), so I finally decided to listen and I turned John Zachary into a human tissue as I cried way too much again.

Sometimes it just takes me saying all of my feelings out loud and having someone like my husband who is extremely honest and rational make me realize how unrealistic my expectations of things are and how I am searching for this momentary joy that is not something that will satisfy me more for a lifetime.

I once heard someone say, “Happiness is temporary, it comes from different objects in our day and it makes us feel good. Joy, pure joy, comes from God and God alone. Joy is Christ.”
I heard these words a long time ago. I don’t know what it was about this week when I finally opened up to Zach about how I’ve been feeling, but this time those words really came into focus for me, I didn’t just hear them but I understood them in my heart.

I’m trying to focus on how great and beautiful life is when I understand that God Himself is in control, and that He is the ONLY source of my pure joy. Things can go sucky, days at work can just break my heart, I can be upset when I don’t see my husband very often because we have the most incompatible work schedules. Those things tend to put me in a bad mood for the whole day, but I am working on writing down all of the things that made my day joyful and all the times in my day where I felt God was alongside of me, giving me words to say, guiding me throughout the day, and I am trying to be more aware of the “little hugs” (someone used this phrase and I absolutely loved it) He gives me throughout the day as well.

*This is also particularly helpful when you are struggling with depression and having a low day

After all, its totally not about the moments that bring us so much happiness that we cry, don’t get me wrong, those moments are wonderful and I believe they are 100% little hugs that God is giving us. But what it is about is acknowledging that God is the true source. The source of life, joy, love. We don’t need anything else.

My in-laws have a plaque on their wall that says God + _____ = Everything. In other words God + Nothing = Everything. We don’t need anything else. I will take the joyous moments of 20 cars with Christmas trees on their roofs, but just because sometimes the rest of life doesn’t measure up to the one exact feeling I had for 30 seconds doesn’t mean that life isn’t good or happy. We just need to seek for joy in the right places, in God, and in doing so we will never run out of joy, He makes each of our cups overflow, just open your heart to Him and He will fill it evermore.


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