The Pain of Joy
a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Most people would love to have a life filled with pleasure and happiness. We walk in and out of visions where we see ourselves having what we want, being in the "perfect" relationship, and living the life of "the rich and famous." This is the innocence of youth.
Then one day we wake up to the reality that we don't always get what we want, relationships are not perfect, and the lifestyles of the rich and famous are overrated. Our hearts sink into an abyss of darkness as we become frustrated by both our reality and our visions. If this dissonance is left to linger, we soon become unhappy and depressed.
There are times in my life where I sunk into the despair of this dissonance. I eventually began believing that my situation would never get better and that it will "always be like this."
What I know now that I didn't know then is this: life is full of joy and pain. Notice, this is not joy OR pain. It is joy AND pain.
physical suffering or discomfort caused by illness or injury.
careful effort; great care or trouble.
Everywhere I look, I hear about people being "down in my feelings." As living beings, we were created to think and to feel. Thinking rises from the rational side of ourselves - our mind. Feelings arise from the emotional side of ourselves. And these feelings will produce our emotional state. If we are not careful, we will live our lives on the emotional side without ever crossing over to the rational. Why is this important?
Disaster happens when your soul becomes organized around feelings. A negative feeling or prevailing mood can spread into your whole life; like a red towel in a load of white clothes - it bleeds on everything.
Dr. Cindy Trimm
As much as we want to fool ourselves into believing that we can control our emotions, the truth is that we do NOT. Most of the time we are being manipulated by our emotions on a very subconscious level. We are not even aware that our feelings are "bleeding" over into our thinking and controlling our decisions and moods.
For years, I lived in this zone with zero awareness that my pain was not arising from without but from within. I blamed other people. I blamed my situation. I blamed my mother. I blamed my father. I pointed to all that "I had been through" as justification for my mood swings and behavior.
Until I stumbled across this secret: joy was not controlled by anything outside of me. I was in total control of my joy.
In life, we will encounter pain. The pain of losing someone we love. Physical pain related to illness or injury. The reality that we are in a bad situation.
The key is this: we do NOT have to let our pain control or manipulate what we CHOOSE to feel.
We can be in a bad place and CHOOSE to feel joy. As India Arie would say "so you act, so you feel, so you are."
Off in the back country of Brazil A met a young brother that made me feel That I could accomplish anything You see, just like me, he wanted to sing He had no windows and no doors He lived a simple life and was extremely poor On top of all of that, he had no eyesight But that didn't keep him from seein' the light He said what's it like in the USA? And all I did was complain He said living here is paradise He taught me paradise is in your mind
So I made a decision - in my mind. I DECIDED (I chose) to live in joy. Joy that had nothing to do with my situation or other people.
Just like I was choosing to be manipulated by my emotions and deciding to paint a life full of sadness, I could choose differently. I could choose to have hope. I could choose to smile. I could choose to be grateful for the small things in my life. I could choose to be miserable. Or I could free myself by choosing to believe that "all is well."
“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
Julian of Norwich
Today, I want to encourage you to believe that "all is well." It may not be "all good" but it is not "all bad" either. Walk in the expectation that life is full of joy AND pain.
Accept the pain.
Live in joy.
This post was inspired by my 40 Day Soul Fast based on Dr. Cindy Trimm's book. I am on day fifteen. If you want to join me, purchase a copy of the book by clicking the picture below and starting with my post on March 1.
All shall be well. I am cheering for you!