Marie Kondo has made famous the question “Does it spark joy?” But no matter how hard I try, my skill at folding clothes has yet to spark joy. It does cause uproarious laughter among family members, but I don’t think that is the joy Marie Kondo was getting at.
To admit the obvious, sparking joy has been harder during these days of the pandemic. Routines are topsy-turvy. Mental and physical exhaustion creep in without warning. Patience - like yeast, flour and bread – is in short supply at times, and favorite restaurants are closed. Even the nerves of friends and family whom you knew to be fray-proof and frazzle-proof are now showing signs of being frazzled and frayed.
What is a person to do? Increase your joy spark by answering these questions:
Is there more joy in being selfish or being unselfish? The “right” answer is easy for this one, but it is still true that unselfish attitudes and actions have tremendous power to spark joy in others as well as yourself.
What does the acronym JOY stand for? Long ago someone turned the word “joy” into the acronym JOY: Jesus – Others – You. When joy isn’t all about me (or you), there is more joy to go around. Of course you attend to those habits and hobbies and people that bring you joy, but it doesn’t have to stop there. And sometimes it doesn’t even have to start there either. Joy that spreads is joy that sparks and is mindful of others as well as oneself.
What company does your joy keep? Joy is easier to spark when surrounded by love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-discipline. Want more sparks of joy? Focus also on one of these other areas that are named for us in Galatians 5:22-23, and see what happens.
In the Good Book the apostle Paul wrote: “Spark my joy again and again” (oops! That’s Marie Kondo sneaking in there again) “by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose …Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interest of others. Have the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus.” Amen. (Philippians 2:2-5)
Jesus – Others – You. Three key ingredients to sparking joy.
God Bless and Be with you,
United Methodist Pastor, Child of God, Follower of Jesus Christ.