How To Cultivate Joy All Year

There's a misconception within our community that joy just happens. That we wake up and shine with no assistance whatsoever. Here's how we play it in our minds: Did you see that mom on Instagram yesterday? She managed a Pinterest perfect craft with all four of her boys and she had a smile on her face. Did you see that boss lady rockin' out a new product line? She never seems to slow down or be thrown any hurdles, yet here I am struggling to process through writer's block. Where is the joy in overflowing laundry, a three-year-old throwing food across the kitchen, endless deadlines and a the pressures of life?
Those lies we feed ourselves, they're crippling us in cultivating a life of joy. Comparison is a slippery slope friends, so first up in order to cultivate joy all year long let's stop looking side to side. All eyes on Jesus.
We're big on cultivating joy around here. I quit chasing happiness a few years ago, and oh my stars how that's flipped the script on living out a joy-filled life. Y'all, it's not about the destination of happiness, it's about the joy-filled journey. 

Begin the day in Scripture. He is our joy. He is the reason we sing. He is our Redeemer and we pray to be more like Him. This is good, great even, but we can't be more like Him if we don't know Him and the truths laid out in our Bibles. Open your Bible every day and if possible before the day really gets going.
Not sure where to begin? She Reads Truth is an online community of women in the word daily. Both myself and my husband can point to this community as part of our testimony in coming to walk with Christ every day. Currently, we're studying through the book of John, but if you're new to reading scripture I highly recommend their "Open Your Bible" study. Perhaps you already begin your day in the Word, but are craving something more. I've been so encouraged my the simple tips Kristin has shared in not just reading scripture, but studying scripture
Surround yourself with Truth and encouragement. I too easily fall into a trap of darkness. I lived in darkness for a long time and can just feel it nipping at my heels some days. As such, I've taken to the walls of our home with tangible Truth and encouragement. Our shop was birthed from a deep desire to be intentional with visible reminders of our joy in our life. Praise from our favorite worship songs, scripture rooting us in the joy of Christ, they're simple but mighty sources to keep us rooted in Truth.
We're excited to have a new line of prints specifically to encourage your hearts launching later this month. AND we have a lovely something up our sleeves headed to your homes this Lent. :)
Be in community with others. Community was (and sometimes still is) a big scary concept for this introvert. I often use the excuse I'm a "home body", but the truth is community can be downright intimidating and I let the fear call the shots for too long. 
Putting yourself out there for others to see, broken and burdened, it's scary. Right? Friends, I'm going to let you in on a not-so-secret secret: we're all broken and burdened and in need of Jesus. Let's all be brave this year. I challenge you to put one foot in front of another to intentionally cultivate community. I stepped out of so many comfort zones last year in hopes to build a community, and He acted with such beautiful provision. Provision only God could orchestrate. Trust Him. There's a whole lot of wonderful people waiting to welcome you on the other side of your fear. 
Be intentional with social mediaI point to my journalism professor for planting the seed of social media in my life. I'll never forget the day he turned us towards our computers and said, "today you start a blog and you join Twitter." It was 2008. And now, I somehow always end up on Instagram. Or Pinterest. Or Facebook. Scrolling through feeds almost subconsciously.
Social Media is the white noise of our generation, and it's not headed anywhere. So? I've decided to use social media as a tool to live life filled with joy. Choose to feed yourself with goodness as your scroll through the phone this year! Take the time to weed through your social media outlets and fill it with those that shine joy into your days. Read more on our favorite outlets of encouragement in social media here
Choose joy, every day. You will not wake up radiating joy by doing all of the above. Life will be tough. The scripture reading of the day won't always set your heart ablaze. The beautiful reminders of Good News adorning your walls won't always make the difference in your day. The community you build may fail you at some point. The social media feed you've narrowed down to cultivate joy may still produce comparison every now and then. But when you step away from all of it, when you focus in on you, tune your heart to Jesus and make an conscious decision to choose His joy, you'll find the light in the darkness. His light will always offer you joy, friends. He will be your portion when you just can't even. Choose joy in the celebrations, in the trials, in the mundane motions of life, choose to cultivate joy