Too many people live with a sense of chronic joylessness. Chronic joylessness occurs when our minds are filled with irritation, frustration, worry, fear, lack of purpose and/or a sense that life isn’t fair. We tend to be too busy to see the joy in the everyday moments of our lives, or we assume we have to create these moments by scheduling events that we think will create the feeling of joy. It’s hard to chase joy in our lives – often the harder we try, the more elusive joy seems to become.
But does joy really need to be elusive? Part of the reason it feels so elusive is because we don’t recognize an important rule about joy, which is: joy cannot be found, and joy cannot be created. Joy always comes as a by-product of something else. What is the something else that can create the by-product called joy?
Joy is the by-product of acting like God acts. We act like God when we are selfless without resentment, when we give without counting the cost, and when we give from our sustenance rather than from our excess. As Ron Rolheiser says, “When we do big-hearted things, we get to feel big-hearted; when we act petty, we get to feel petty.”
Char Vance, television producer and comedienne, knows the difference between living a joyful versus joyless life. Char knows how to live life joyfully, even when circumstances seem to be crumbling around her:
Who doesn’t want to feel more joy in their lives? The good news is, we don’t need circumstances to unfold in a particular way. All we need to do is begin to act like God. Today. Right now. There are probably a dozen things we could each do, right now, right in this moment, to act like God. That means a feeling of chronic joylessness can be turned into chronic joy. What then, are we waiting for?