Well, I'm happy to share that I was able to maintain my focus on compassion and have another joyful week. It feels really good. And that is so impressive for me at this time of the year.
This week's topic feels a little bit like cheating because it is the same topic as the lesson I will be teaching to the women's organization (Relief Society) at my church a week from today. But I feel like it's what I'm supposed to post about today. And I've been thinking about it all week, so I have had ample time to reflect on it.
So, this week we're discussing "Unity". In case you hadn't guessed that from the title. So, how does unity contribute to finding joy in our lives? For me personally, I find unity in my life at a few different levels and each of them contribute to my level of joy.
First, I would say is unity with God and myself. I put the two together because I know that as I strive be more like God by following the example set by Jesus Christ, I will be doing exactly what is right and best for me. Anything that distracts me from this goal creates a division between God and me and within myself. I'm not saying I have a split personality, just that when I participate in something like negative self-talk I'm not unified within me. I'm tearing myself apart. And there is really no joy to be found when that is going on. So, it's important that I stay close to God and see myself through His kind and compassionate and knowing eyes.
Second, is unity at home. Or with my family. HH often tells me that whatever my mood is, the rest of the family will follow. And he's right. When I am in a caring and happy mood, the tone in our home is very harmonious. But when I'm upset or down, you'll most likely find discord. That's because when I am in a bad mood everyone is affected by it. And the family feels kind of "split". It seems like everyone is mad at someone (or everyone). Sometimes this chain-reaction drives me crazy! But the truth is, it's a blessing. I'm like the glue and all I have to do is make the choice to "stick" to a cheerful attitude (forgive the pun) and my family usually stays happy.
Another important aspect of unity in my family is the strength it provides me. When my husband, or even my children, feel close to me, it is much easier for me to feel their support. When I first started getting depressed I would push HH away and then dive even deeper because I felt so alone. Thankfully, we've both figured that out and I try to stay connected to him no matter how I feel. He's also gotten a lot better at not allowing me to push him away.
Unity in the family is important for the good times too. When we feel unified fun things are more fun and great things are even greater. For example, I play with Sweet P and Little M (I decided that was more fun than "KN" and "BW") a lot. When I'm feeling distant or distracted, not only can they tell, but it's pretty boring for all of us. However, when I'm focused on how much I love them and what an awesome gift they are in my life, we all have a lot of fun and find that the afternoon passes much too quickly.
This principle works with the family I grew up in too. Location-wise I'm pretty far away from almost all of my family. But if anything comes up, I know I can send out a quick email asking for their prayers and I instantly feel connected to each of them. And when something good happens to any of us, all we have to do is share that with each other and the joy of the good thing is magnified through our love for one another. Families are an amazing thing.
Unity with friends is pretty much along the same lines, so I won't delve into that.
The final group to feel unified with is everyone. Try a little experiment--go about your business one day thinking everyone is suspect and maybe even out to get you. Then the next day, try believing that there is a connection between you and everyone who crosses your path. Remember that we are all children of God; that we all share this earth together; that we're all experiencing the stress of current circumstances. And believe that we are here to help each other through it all. Believe that anyone who offends you did it merely out of ignorance, without any real intent. Believe that anyone who helps you is offering you a gesture of love. Try saying "Hi" with a genuine smile to at least one stranger. If you do that, I can give you a 110% guarantee that you'll feel a lot more joy on the second day. So, don't go back to the first day, okay?
Remember, we're working on remembering things here. The things that bring greater joy in our lives. Because the joy is there. It's just a matter of remembering to find it and choosing to experience it.
Anyway, what are your thoughts on this? (Remember, I'm teaching a lesson on Unity, so I can use all the insight I can get!)
Here's to another week of remembering!