When You Want to Live Less Tired & More Inspired

Find the Joy

I sit with a woman as she describes a busy, hectic, gotta-change-something-or-I’m-gonna-pass-out life. All of what she shares is good…family, church, friends, community. But together it’s just all too much.

Sound familiar? One potential drawback of living in the land of opportunity is that we can treat life like an all-you-can-eat buffet and instead of being satisfied we end up groaning and holding our stomachs wondering, “Why did I do this to myself?”

One of the first things I always recommend when life feels like too much is an energy inventory {I got this from Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham}. It’s a simple little exercise where you write every activity you do in one day in the left column and then whether that activity energizes you, drains you or is neutral in the right column. Here’s an example {you can do your own in a journal or even just on a spare piece of paper}…

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When we start feel exhausted, it’s almost always because we have more minuses than pluses in right hand column. That’s not a bad thing…it just means we’ve gotten out of balance and have some adjusting to do. And as I talk more with women about what changes can be made, I always ask this: Where do you find joy?

And as I’ve done so, I’ve realized there are two kinds of joy. The first is the joy we experience when we’re in the middle of doing what we love. That might be spending time with friends, being creative, volunteering or any number of things. We have a sense of fullness and well-being, an affirmation that this is part of why we’re here on earth. Studies have shown the amount of time we experience this kind of joy each day matters more than any other factor when it comes to the happiness of women.

Jesus experienced this kind of joy while doing ministry. Luke 10:21 describes Jesus as “full of joy through the Holy Spirit.”

But there’s also a second kind of joy to look for…the joy that is to come. Hebrews 12:2 says, “For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross.” Was there joy in the cross for Jesus? Nope. It was an incredibly painful, difficult experience. But was it worth doing? Yep.

Some tasks on the list you make will have no joy in them–changing diapers, exercising, choosing to plow through that mountain of spreadsheets–but when you’re done and have a smiling baby, a healthy body or productive meeting you think, “Yes, that was worth it.”

So as you consider what to add and take away in your life ask this: “Where is the joy?” You should be able to answer either, “The joy is right in the middle of it” or “The joy is in the result of it.” If you can’t say either of those, then those are the activities that should be the first ones you consider dropping or delegating. Yes, I know life’s not perfect and there are things we simply must do. But by living intentionally, we can make the change that are possible.

And sometimes it’s those little things that turn out to make the biggest difference in how worn out we feel at the end of the day. Less tired and more inspired. That’s what we all want, right?

It’s time to go and find your joy, girl…

XOXO

Holley Gerth

* A little note: I’ve struggled with depression and if you have done what you can and still can’t find your joy, I highly recommend talking with your physician as well as a counselor. Sometimes our bodies and brains keep us from feeling joy. There’s no shame in that, sweet friend, it just means you’re human. 

p.s. You’re Already Amazing and The Do What You Can Plan have more insights, tools and guidance about living in your sweet spot.