Courageous Joy

Habits are like plants.  Start small, find the right place for them, grow them over time.”  - Dr. BJ Fogg

Lately, I’ve been studying joy.  It’s a word with a very simple dictionary definition: “A feeling of great pleasure.”  But life has taught me that joy is not simple at all - it’s beautifully complex and it’s pervasive or permeating – meaning once you have it, it influences and affects every area of your life.   

Joy is an identity feature.  It’s comprehensive, completing and eternal.    

Of course, in North American Culture - when we think of ‘joy,’ we often subconsciously rush to connect it directly with happiness, which is so temporary.  Happiness is directly tied to our situations and circumstances, and the second we have it, we face the reality that the moment will pass and the unknown next moment will soon come.  This state of ongoing anxiety is the source of great stress and the subconscious bandit of peace.

Globally, people can’t help but dance as soon as the first beats of the hit song Happy by Pharrell begins, but most people don’t understand that the attitude that the song celebrates are actually evidences of an identity established in joy.  

How can we cultivate habits that lead to an identity rooted in joy? 

I believe by faith.  Jesus talked about this directly when He told his disciples that “I have told you these things so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you” (John 15:11-12).  How different would our lives become if we lived out of this kind of pure love that Jesus lived and taught?  How different would our relationships be if we lived out of love and truth instead of out of fear of loss.  How different would the world be if we found completion in love leading to courageous joy? 

Cultivating the habits that lead to an identity rooted in joy is about authentic faith. Leading to appreciation of the sacredness of a moment.

A moment spent in prayer.  A moment spent in gratitude for the beautiful gift of life and the person or persons that are sharing the moment with you.  Even in conflict and in crucial conversations, * an identity rooted in joy will understand the deeper issues that led to the struggle.  And understanding often leads to compassion, and compassion leads to love.

I pray that you will begin today – prayerfully cultivating the habits that lead to a life of joy.  So that when trouble comes, you can be a conduit of hope for everyone involved, including yourself.

*Joseph Grenny – Crucial Conversations | Willow Creek 2014 Global Leadership Summit,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCkHT_4CtNA

Your Attention Please

  Titanic, Dir. James Cameron, Kate Winslet, Leonardo Dicaprio

Titanic, Dir. James Cameron, Kate Winslet, Leonardo Dicaprio

“You have a gift Jack, you see people.” 

“I see you.”

“And…”  

- Jack and Rose – Titanic

The monetization of attention has been in the headlines for quite some time.  As a member of the Humane Tech Society, I am part of a group of designers and developers who recognize our responsibility in an ever-expanding technological global society.    The more I study, ideate, design and build in this community, the more I realize how important it is for you and me to understand the power and value of our attention.

What we attend to, we literally give our lives to.  Even the phrase we use to describe this phenomenon offers insight into how important understanding this concept is: ‘Pay attention!’ We say and hear even from our earliest formative years.  The phrase doesn’t in any way hide the fact that when we give someone or something our attention, there is always a cost.  So what are you paying for and what are you gaining or losing by spending what I call the life-currency of your attention?

Right now, you're reading this blog,  and I’m truly honored to have this moment in time from your life. I don’t trivialize or take it for granted that you have decided to gift me by considering my thoughts, by taking the time to ‘see’ what’s on my mind.  What a gift! 

The book of Proverbs contains one of my favorite prayers on the matter, it reads, ‘Teach me to number my days, so that I may gain a heart of wisdom.’*  And then in the book of Ephesians, it says, ‘Pay careful attention, as to how you walk, not as unwise, but wise. Redeeming the time because the days are evil.’*    

I hope and pray that you will join me in this moment, committing to be wise concerning your attention.  Please don’t waste it on click-bait. Don’t spend it arguing on social media.  Don’t let the hours slip away like sand in an hourglass as you scroll endless news feeds. Don't destroy it by thinking incessantly about your regrets and mistakes.  Don’t ‘pay’ for junk that smothers and clutters your life with worthless and even harmful things. Be wise and mindful and watch as your life takes on new meaning as you take responsibility for how you spend the life-currency of attention.

I pray that you will see that your time is worth more than you can imagine because you are a gift and a treasure from God, and you are beloved.

*Psalm 90:12, *Ephesians 5:16