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Finding Joy & Personal Reflection


When was the last time you stepped away from your daily life to take a break? Last weekend, I attended a retreat held at a camp about two hours away. This particular event was Christ-centered and gave adults the opportunity for personal renewal and introspection. I really was not looking forward to this event. I was asked several months ago to serve on the team to "run" this event. I tried to say no, but about 5 different folks ending confronting me to serve on this event, and ultimately, I could say no any longer. 

As the month drew closer, my mind was filled with all the ever-consuming tasks. This event would take me away from my regular Sunday responsibilities for the second time this month. I would need to find willing and able volunteers for Children's Church, Sunday School, and other worship related responsibilities. I would be giving up, yet again, another one of my weekends for a "ministry/ work-related" event. 

This event fell right before Lent, which means I have to work in advance to accomplish things on timelines. All the excuses prevented me from seeing the joy that this event could hold for me and my own heart. 

Despite the packed schedule and exhausting nature of being around people as an introvert, I found myself often reflecting on my life throughout the weekend. Instead of looking at this experience with a cup full of joy and grace, I was looking at it all wrong. 

It was an opportunity to step away from the daily grind to find myself again. It was an opportunity  to see how my own faith has grown and reflect upon the ways that I am called to share God's amazing joy with others. It was also an opportunity to recognize that I've been neglecting myself in order to get through all the daily responsibilities of life. Exercise, eating habits, to even personal devotional time (and yes, that glorious need to sleep) along with building friendships and maintaining relationships has been put on the back burner because of daily life responsibilities. 

Well folks, I was reminded that it's not healthy and that I need to reclaim the joy that life brings me. 

For those of us with hospitality components to our personalities, we can quickly become empty. We care so much for the well-being of others that we put ourselves on the back burner.

Regardless of your personal religious beliefs, I encourage you to stop putting yourself on the back-burner. Despite work, family obligations, chores, and caring for the many responsibilities in your life; you can not do so running on empty. It is so easy to put others before our own needs; our children, spouses, care of elder parents, but when we do so, we are hurting them and us because then they don't get the best of us. Then we find ourselves exhausted and without joy because we have put our all into strongly and passionately caring for others. 

Find time to take that break, go on that personal retreat, and reclaim what joy exists in your soul again. All the tasks that we deem "important" will still be there waiting for us, but taking time to re find joy and to reflect gives us a new perspective to accomplish those tasks. It doesn't have to be an entire weekend away, like mine was. 

I'm sure you are reading this scoffing, thinking there is no way that you can make time for yourself because the kids have that game this weekend, and you need to clean the house, and you need too..

Guess what? 

There is always going to be a list. There's always going to be one more thing to do, one more person to take care of, one more load of laundry to wash.. but, taking time for your own health and well-being needs to be a priority too! Finding your own joy needs to be a priority too! 

What brings you joy? Is it a person? A specific place? An activity/ hobby/ experience? Whatever it is, claim it and claim it big. Seek it out. Don't push it away.  If it's traveling, schedule that trip. If its staying home, block out the calendar.  Whatever you do, don't ignore yourself! 

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