Top 10 Attributes of Joyful People

Joyand the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (ACTS 13:52)
“Joy is the unmistakable work of the Holy Spirit.” That’s the quote I heard this morning at church spoken by a perky, bright gal named Denise. It really struck me as profound. It’s the soul of happiness. Joyful people are the ones God uses so often to bring others to Himself. How am I doing? Do I have this gift? Am I sharing it as I should? These were my questions and they were a big part of my Lenten prayers this morning. So, I have been contemplating about the most joyful folks I have met in this life, and I am comparing them to the stories of some of my favorite joy-filled saints. Here is my unscientifically created list of Top 10 Qualities of Joyful People! Do you consider yourself a JOYFUL PERSON? How many of these qualities do you have? What have I left out?

1. They don’t take it personally. Joyful people are other focused. They consider circumstances and consider that they may not have all the information. They do not look within themselves insecurely. When things don’t go their way, joyful people do NOT dabble in the form of self-centeredness which takes it personal.
2. They see the bright side. Joyful people tend to do the following when things go wrong, “Well, in good news…” They reflect on lessons learned, solutions which might be employed next time, and they find a way to be content—even in a storm.
3. They don’t judge. They know the only perfect person was Jesus and know “I’m not Him!” They are able to find something positive to say about even the most challenging folks around them. They’ve made their own mistakes, picked themselves up, and are working on their own holiness by shining their light, not wagging their finger.
4. They know there is a time for everything. We can’t always work, nor can we always “have fun”. Joyful people scoop up opportunities to show up for others, they don’t dwell on past mistakes, and take time to enjoy the little things. Sometimes, that means belting out a favorite song or showing up for the little league game. Other times, it means taking time for sacred silence.
5. They are self-aware. Joyful people know what their gifts are, as well as their quirks and shortcomings. They know who they are and what they are capable of. They have the kind of positivity (despite their own flaws and misgivings) that cannot be taken away– because it wasn’t gifted to them by men.
6. They are creative. For many, when joy exists before the “I”, and they are able to live a life standing outside their own egos, a greater sense of creativity is present in them. Joy thinks outside the box. Many joyful people are just plain silly at times! They aren’t afraid to look like a fool. Many times, this will mean they are curious types who ask questions and are truly interested in knowing more about you!
7. They are consistent. Joyful people are not typically regarded as “sometimes joyful”. Others see them that way. Period. It’s sometimes quiet, but ever present. Even in sadness, joyful people still exude flickers of light. It may manifest itself very differently, but it’s always there. It’s a divinely given gift, after all, and is rarely a gift for just a season. Therefore, authentic joy doesn’t need a reason or a season. It’s simply unreasonable happiness which is rooted in deep gratefulness to God.
8. Joyful people are loving. When people describe others they know who are joyful, they always mention love. Don’t believe me? Ask around! The truly happy know joy isn’t a feeling. They are people who have turned themselves toward God. The only response to that is the living of the high adventure and love that is rooted in the divine.
9. They appreciate simple. Joyful people have learned to love the simple things. They find deep peace in knowing their blessedness. Things like campfires, sunny mornings, cool breezes, a long walk, a good giggle bring deep interior consolation. Sure, joyful people might enjoy “the good things in life” just as much as anyone, but they aren’t terribly attached to them.
10. Joyful people love themselves.  They know deep within that they are beloved sons and daughters of God.

I am grateful to God especially for St. Teresa of Avila, St. John Vianney…and my sis Robin, Vivian, Lily S., Jake A., Janie M. and Renee (among many others) for their examples of joyfulness that inspire me!

For Pity’s Sake, She Said…

Easter Season is the time for Joy and Gratitude!

Easter Season is the time for Joy and Gratitude!

I knew it was coming.
“Will all those married couples celebrating an anniversary in the month of May please stand for a blessing?”
My mind flashed back to that surreal day in the ER where her body laid lifeless in front of me and his forlorn eyes looked through me as his words echoed, “We didn’t make it to 50.”
Making no eye contact, I reached over and put my hand on his knee. He grabbed it and as couples in pews all around us announced how many years of marriage they were celebrating, my father-in-law and I just sat quietly, holding hands. This month, Jane and Tom would have celebrated 50 years of marriage.
Weirdly, this seemed like a good way to start Mother’s day to me. Together there at mass we sat, my father in law, my husband, and our three cute boys.
My own amazing mom was due to arrive shortly, and we would casually celebrate the day with a cookout, just hanging out together doing nothing, and doing it on a gorgeous and warm sunny day delivered with love by a God who seemed to spoil me with blessings on Mother’s Day 2014.
Nick and Drew wrote beautiful notes of thanks, and when paired with Zach’s hand drawn rainbow card, I wondered how God could choose me to mother these incredible children. As the daylight was starting to wind down, my hubby and I went on a joyride in his sporty little red car and finished the day with the most delicious margarita and a short walk downtown.
As I headed to bed, I texted a dear friend, “If I don’t wake up tomorrow, you can tell everyone that I died happy!”
So, this week started out spectacularly!!
Life can be a bumpy road though, and so the past 5 days have brought quite a bit of chaos, some interior anger and a touch of impatience. At one point on Tuesday evening, I found myself at an accident scene with my 16-year-old son and two Fishers police officers, with my phone ringing requesting a home showing, and my 9-year-old son feeling like he was going to vomit.
What happened to the convertible ride and the sunset margaritas, God? Sigh.
It’s so tempting to focus on what’s troubling us. It’s tempting to be angry, or impatient. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s easy to forget gratitude when life doesn’t appear to be going my way. The thing is, God knows exactly where I am. He knows all about my sick little guy, my shaken new driver and his crunched car, my 13 unsuccessful house showings, the giant laundry pile, stressed out husband…and on and on. And He placed me right here, right now. So, here’s where He wants me, and it seems like whining about God’s plan is a touch counterproductive.
For pity’s sake, don’t start meeting troubles halfway. –St. Teresa of Avila
St. Teresa of Avila was a brilliant chick and is an inspiring saint. What makes her so amazing to me is that her advice is so accessible to me in 2014. I mean, she has a point. I’m guessing if she were here to give me some guidance, she’d suggest gratefulness to God for my MANY blessings, a joyful spirit, patience and trust.
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess 5:16-18)
In the spirit of St. Teresa, I’m sharing today my rather un-fancy, somewhat inarticulate prayer, offered with a joyful heart. She famously said, “You pay God a compliment by asking great things of Him.” So, here I go.
Thanks, God for giving me a terrific father-in-law so willing to take in a sick third grader while my house is unavailable. You are amazing and awesome for keeping my son safe on the road, despite his accident and inexperience. I love you and I trust you with the circumstances of my life this day and plead with you for increased faith and the grace to be all that You mean for me to be for those around me today. Lord, You above all know my every need before I ask. Help me to love you more and to be a light for others. Please bless my family and all those for whom I have promised pray. Oh, and God? I know Your plan is the best plan and I thank You for taking great care of me, even when I grouse at you and act like a spoiled toddler. Amen.
There’s no sin or wrong that gives man such a foretaste of Hell in this life as anger and impatience. –St. Catherine of Siena.