Word of The Year: JOY

So as I mentioned in previous blog posts, I've been having a bit of a writer's block (it took me like, 4 weeks to finish this post and publish it!) I was starting to feel a little embarrassed about that but quickly realized that's so silly. No one is standing there with a checklist saying "A Tiny Traveler Blog didn't post her word of the year until February...tsk tsk." I hate the pretense that if you're going to be a real blogger you have to post every day and have it all together 100% of the time. Not me... 

If this was me a few years ago, I would be frantically trying to snap some new photos and write up a couple of new posts because 6 posts in 6 weeks was unacceptable. That's not how things are done in the blogging world! GOOD bloggers post at least 3 times a week, right? But I've changed, and its been good for me. Because seriously, if you're blogging for other's approval, you're doing it wrong.
Read more about that here. 

So keeping all this in mind, you'd think I would be done comparing myself and my creativity to others right? Well, not exactly. It's still really difficult to keep myself from thinking, "What am I doing wrong?" or "Why can't I be that talented of a writer/photographer?" or even "My business will never be that good." Comparison is such a big pit that we tend to fall in to and it can be pretty tough to get out. 

I saw this for myself in most of 2016. I went in with such high hopes and excitement to fully embrace who I am and what I have to offer, but as the year unfolded I was grumpy and jealous and unsatisfied. Why? Because I was looking at the negative and at what I wished I could be; I let comparison steal my joy.

Not just with blogging and my small business, either. In my marriage. In my work. In my spiritual life. Even in my relationships with friends + family. It seemed like most days, "It's not fair," was ready to leave my lips. Not okay, and not beneficial to anyone. So I've decided that my word for 2017 will be JOY. Better late than never, right?

Being joyful is definitely easier said than done. "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart," isn't exactly something I wake up singing every morning. Sometimes I'm really tired. Some days my brain is on overload + I get anxiety. Some days I wake up knowing there are bills that need to be paid, things that need to be cleaned, and errands that need to be run and all I want to do is drink coffee and play with my kitten. Then, there are some days when I wake up and I'm worried about my father-in-law who has stage 4 cancer and its spreading and he can hardly breath on his own. I worry about my 22 year old brother who I haven't spent time with in weeks. I worry about my Dad and his wife and their kids because they live in Virginia and I don't see them much and I miss them and what if they forget about me...? Just being totally honest. My mind races with fear and anxiety most days.

I woke up a few days after Christmas and called my mom because I was just feeling really sad. As soon as she answered the phone she knew something was wrong. I love that my mom is so intuitive. She and I talked about the way 2016 went for me personally and emotionally and she said "You need to focus on the good things. You need to make joy a priority." It was a really beautiful way of looking at it. Making joy a priority. Choosing joy. 

Oftentimes I look at joy as an emotion but it's so much more. Its a choice to see the good and in the bad situations still try and remain positive. It's a process to learn how to live like that, but one that I'm willing to work towards!

Since New Years Eve, I decided to write down something that I am thankful for at the end of each day. It's really been showing me the positive parts of each day, and I can't wait to look back in a few months and see how God's provided for me and my family and also see how I've changed and grown. Here's hoping!

My verse this year is "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." -Psalm 94:19 

It's the perfect reminder that when I am feeling down or anxious, I can find joy in Christ and who He is and what He's done in my life. Seriously, looking back on my life and remembering the times that I've been shown grace and the blessings I've received and totally didn't deserve, or when more specifically I struggled with self harm and depression, but God wasn't finished with me and he showed me I was worth it and life was worth living. That is what keeps me going, looking back and seeing how He has prevailed in the face of everything that I thought would keep me down. God has a plan for us all, even when we don't see it, and that is something to find joy in!

JOY. Yes, joy is my word and I am going to work hard to embrace it. 


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