September 21, 2017

a joyFULL 2017

This year’s word is joyFULL.

First of all, we have to get something straight. I absolutely can’t stand when words aren’t spelled correctly. It drives me crazy! However, this spelling is inspired by a few things that I just can’t shake, so I’m going to learn to like it and if you’re crazy like me and can’t stand misspellings either, then my deepest apologies because I know it is annoying.

So what does it mean? Well, if you know me at all, you know I’m pretty passionate about happiness. I feel like my baseline in life is genuine happy. I’ve always been grateful for my happy heart. But I feel like “happy” really is a yuppie word (thanks Switchfoot) and I want more than happy, in fact I’m tired of all the counterfeits for solutions for “more happy”.

So, when I heard Elder Nelson speak in October 2016 General Conference…I knew he was talking just to me! His talk, entitled “Joy and Spiritual Survival” was everything I needed. First of all joy! That’s a concept I can always get behind. Second, spiritual survival? Yes please! I feel like the more of life I experience, the more I realize how differently we are all experiencing life. I’ve seen a lot of my friends be rocked to the core this year in their testimonies and unfortunately for some that has meant a parting of the ways in terms of beliefs. While I always wish I were impenetrable, I’m not. My heart hurts. And my heart aches for them, knowing the goodness of the things they’re departing from. And then I start wondering how this can happen. I find myself having to create a distance between myself and the situation because as much as I want to respect someones beliefs, sometimes I just want to cry, a lot because of all I know they’re missing out on. Especially because, it never seems to satisfy or answer their questions, it only seems to “make it okay” to become apathetic to the situation. So, spiritual survival? Yes! A resounding yes!

I’ve always loved in 2nd Nephi where Lehi shares the principle: “Men are, that they might have joy!” In fact, I love this part of the Book of Mormon so much that its actually detached from my scriptures…maybe I shared it too much as a missionary. Joy is a principle I can totally get behind and as Elder Nelson put it, “Of all the words he could have used to describe the nature and purpose of our lives here in mortality, he chose the word joy!”

Here’s the part of Elder Nelson’s talk that resonated with the most, “If we look to the world and follow its formulas for happiness, we will never know joy. The unrighteous may experience any number of emotions and sensations, but they will never experience joy! Joy is a gift for the faithful. It is the gift that comes from intentionally trying to live a righteous life, as taught by Jesus Christ.”

Intention and joy?!? Oh the joy! I’ve done a lot of soul searching to figure out just what my word would be this year. While I may have listened to this talk 30 times since conference, the word didn’t stand out until I found it in some scriptures during my study yesterday.

There are a lot of things I’ve learned in life about being happy but I think the Lord has more in store for me and for each of us in the emotion of JOY!

JOY is what I want to feel and to be and to become.

FULL means having an abundance that is spread to others. It means not suppressing kind thoughts or deeds. And, as it was so well worded today at church, “as we respond to promptings, we put actions into motions that could not receive a force in any other way.”

And, as another put it, “There is a happiness that is waiting for us–that we will be happier than we’ve ever been.”

Will you too be joyFULL?