Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Life is chock-full of crazy challenges!
One of the craziest challenges I’ve ever had to face was being told I had cancer. It was a long time ago now and although cancer certainly turned my life upside down in a lousy way, it also taught me so much.
Cancer robbed me of many things, but one thing I won’t let it steal is my joy. Even on some of the most difficult of days, by continuously refocusing on God’s promises of a life filled with hope and prosperity, I have always been able to chase after my joy and somehow snatch it back.
There are some practical things that have helped spark joy, no matter what life throws my way. My hope is they might spark joy in you too:
1) BE CREATIVE AND DON’T BE AFRAID TO SHARE YOUR CREATIVE PROJECTS WITH OTHERS.
I’ve always loved writing, drawing and experimenting with creativity. These are the things that really spark joy within me. Throughout my cancer treatment and even now, creativity is my therapy and dreaming is one of my favourite pastimes. I believe God gave me a creative spirit for a purpose…even if my art or a piece of writing makes just one person smile, then I’ve fulfilled my purpose. Before cancer, I was never confident enough to share my creativity with the world, but now I feel like the joy it gives me may spark someone else’s joy too, so why not share it?!
2) BE GRATEFUL IN ALL YOUR BUSYNESS.
I used to find myself complaining when I had to race around doing school runs, grocery shopping, washing, ironing, all while thinking of something to cook for dinner. It was only when I got cancer and couldn’t do any of these simple, everyday tasks that I really resented not being able to do them. As my health continues to improve, I find myself rejoicing in the most mundane of chores and am reminded to be grateful for the simple joys in life.
3) BE WILLING TO DE-CLUTTER.
I find that when my surroundings are cluttered or there’s too much going on around me, my mind is also all over the place. Decluttering my home is a way to create a fresh sense of focus, accomplishment, well-being and joy. Clearing all the nooks and crannies every now and then is not only good for my physical space, but it’s beneficial for my mental space as well. So when it comes to de-cluttering, here are some of the things I find helpful:
declutter my calendar, so I can spend more quality time with my loved ones;
declutter my fridge/pantry to make room for a more organised kitchen and healthier meal planning;
declutter my mental space, so that I can focus on the needs of my mind, body and spirit…recognise when I need rest, when I need more exercise, or tune back into the needs of my spiritual life, refocusing on daily prayer and meditation.
Life is not perfect and the many challenges we face can certainly threaten our joy. But I urge you… hold on tight to your joy, focus on God’s good plans for your life and never stop dreaming!
Jennifer Reid is a freelance illustrator, writer and teacher. It was after a breast cancer diagnosis in 2009 that she decided life was way too short not to follow her dreams.
So she now spends most of her time loving her family, nurturing her creativity and chasing her dreams. Follow Jennifer's creative journey on Instagram or Twitter!