Are you a resolver? Do you spend the days leading up to December 31 planning your resolutions for the new year? Do you find yourself saying similar things every year? "This year, I'm going to give up drinking...water, that is." "This year, I'm going to go to the gym EVERY SINGLE DAY...for a week so I can say exercise doesn't work for me." "This year, I'm going to consume only plant-based, organically grown foods...bearing in mind wine, whiskey and tobacco are plant-based and I'm sure they're organically grown."
Typically, I join the 'resolvers', those who clog the machines at the gym the first few weeks of January. Ordinarily I'd be saying, "THIS year, I'm actually going to lose (and not find) the weight I have found (again) over the past 12 years." But not this year. I was watching a woman the other day and caught her in the midst of an obvious portion of her daily routine. Under most circumstances her countenance would have just bugged me. As she comopleted the task at hand she wore on her face a little half-smile. Why would a half-smile bug me so unreasonably? I couldn't figure that one out. Then I realized I was probably envious. Not of what she had or how she looked, but I was envious of her decision to smile. For I see the smile on our faces to be largely a product of the decision to find joy - or peace - in the daily-ness of life.
So often I find my brow furrowed not out of worry or pain but - dare I say it? - habit? Why is it so much easier to appear downcast or sour than joyful? We all know that it requires more muscles to frown than to smile (43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile) but why does a frown come more readily for so many of us, well, for me at least?
We are never told by God that He wants us to 'be happy'. Instead we are commanded to 'be joyful always:' (1Thessalonians 2.20) That's a tough order for me. But that's my resolution for 2013; to be more JOYFUL. To find the JOY in an afternoon with the grandkids. (Well, that was easy. Maybe this joy thing isn't that difficult.) To find JOY in a moment (or 30) sitting in traffic, viewing it as a chance to simply sit. To find JOY in the fact that I can arise from my bed each and every day without help, (for there was a time last spring after breaking my shoulder when I couldn't get out of bed under my own steam, I needed Art to push me from behind. Sigh. Those were tough days.) To find JOY in yet another day, (yes, even a day of rain!)
So, if you see me on the street (and I'll be running again by month's end - yay!) and notice a smile on my face, know I'm just choosing to be JOYful.