I recently used the 360 Lite tool to get insight about areas of strengths and those areas where I need to grow. A dear friend who has known me for ages it seems (since I came to Albania) wrote a comment stating I seem to have lost my joy.
Hmmm…. ouch. What would lead her to think that about me? Am I exhibiting frustration, sadness or worry more frequently than happiness, joy, and peace? Her comment began brewing in my heart and mind so I decided to probe deeper to see if what she said had any validity.
Where do you go when you lose something? Most restaurants, activity centers, airports, movie theaters and offices have a Lost and Found box. So that’s where I decided to go hunting to see if my joy had somehow ended up there.
I opened the Lost and Found Box of my life and took a good a look to see what’s been hiding inside.
Not completely to my surprise, I did find some of the following items:
The biggest item I found in my lost and found box was: (Can you guess….???) Yep: 1. Worry– about the future, finances, our desire for children, family health issues, etc.
A second item I found, though somewhat reluctantly was: Selfishness– it seems that these past few years I’ve been much more self-consumed and preoccupied, as opposed to other-centered and servant-hearted. Stress and fear were among a few other items that were lurking inside my “found” compartment.
In the smaller corners of the box, I did see that JOY was there– it had simply been covered up by worry and fear. JOY was deeply connected to a PERSON– the person of Jesus. One of my favorite quotes about Jesus shows this vital relation between Jesus and joy:
“The Gospels show that Jesus quickly established intimacy with the people He met… He cut instantly to the heart of the matter, and after a few brief lines of conversation these people revealed to Jesus their innermost secrets… People liked being with Jesus; where He was, joy was.” Philip Yancey
Tucked under other items like material things and worldly concerns was thankfulness. How could I bring joy out of my Lost and Found Box to the center and surface of my life? Through Thankfulness– thankfulness is key to ridding my life of worry and fear.
A great quote I recently read states:
“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” Hannah Whithall Smith
There’s been so much to be thankful about: good health, a great hubby, wonderful family, answered prayer, significance and impact through our ministry and the work God’s entrusted to us, etc.
Thus, I’ve decided to pull out of the Lost and Found Box those two most precious items to keep with me at all times: Joy and Thankfulness.
And I’ve also decided to empty my Lost and Found box by tossing in the trash those things that were bringing me down: worry, fear, selfishness, pride, and materialism.
It’s not always an easy choice– sometimes selfishness stubbornly shows up at the door and demands her way in– and mistakenly I’ve put aside precious time connecting to the Source of Joy, foolishly letting selfishness rule.
But I was extremely thankful for my friend’s profound feedback from my 360 Lite Review as it got me thinking– how do I come across to others? Are they seeing the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control grace my life? Or am I characterized by worry, fear, selfishness, discouragement or other undesirable characteristics?
As I’ve changed my focus these past few months to one of giving thanks and choosing joy, I’ve noticed my disposition and outlook have markedly changed and that peace has enveloped my heart on a daily basis.
What about you? What is lurking in your Lost & Found box that needs to be dusted off and embraced or thrown out in today’s trash?
For finding out more about using a 360 Lite for personal growth and development, click here.