Do you know your personality type?
There are many tests available that help us understand ourselves better. However, even if you’ve never done one, you may still grasp the concept if I ask which character in Winnie the Pooh you feel most closely represents your personality. Are you like Tigger, constantly (annoyingly to some) upbeat? Nothing seems to get you down. Or are you an Eeyore, melancholy and introspective, the glass-half-empty kind of person?
I don’t believe one personality is necessarily better than the other, but there are benefits and struggles to whichever personality we have. The seemingly “happy” person may be hiding behind a facade to mask a deeply troubled spirit. The melancholic might have empathy and understanding of the hard things of life because of how contemplative they are.
How can I write about joy
when my own joy seems elusive at times?
What we cannot do is pigeonhole ourselves into a type, thinking, “Oh, that’s just who I am, and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Whatever personality we have, we always need to fight against the negative tendencies within it.
Many variables form our personalities, such as upbringing, genetics and past experiences. I have lived with myself long enough to know that I tend to be introspective and pensive. I think deeply and sometimes have to fight to see the good in circumstances. I need to be aware of where I focus my thoughts because focusing on the negative comes too easily and is often the beginning of spiralling pessimism.
With this in mind, how can I write about joy? When my own joy seems elusive at times, how can I encourage others to run after the joy of the Lord? Or is it because I must resolutely chase down my own joy that I can confidently share my struggle?
Suzie Eller, the author of “Joy Keeper,” said in a recent podcast, "Biblical joy is not a feeling. It’s intentionally walking into the goodness of God right where you’re at. Choose to trust in the source of joy.”
What freeing insight for those who struggle with an Eeyore complex! Joy is not a feeling, but it’s something we choose! Instead of focusing on the difficult feelings at hand, I can choose to place my trust in an infinitely loving God who is above and beyond my struggle.
Do you see beautiful?
Are you a glass-half-full girl
or a glass-half-empty girl?
Some of us need to work
that little bit harder
to find the beautiful.
Maybe it’s how we were wired
maybe it’s our past
that fogs our lenses.
Maybe it’s the habit of negative thinking
that seems a rut
way too deep to ever
climb out of.
And maybe we’re going through hard things
is just not even on our radar.
For some of us, it’s the demands
of the day that stand
before the beautiful
blocking our view,
and others of us,
we just can’t take the time
because time is of the essence,
we’re running way too fast
to smell the roses, let alone
If we don’t train our eyes
to see beauty,
ugly will take its place
turning our day
on its head.
What if we dared to stare down
determined to unearth beautiful
like an archeologist
it’s buried here somewhere.
Using our five senses
to investigate the day
for when we truly look and listen,
we notice beauty
all around us;
in the cloud formations
in the giggle of the little one
in the chatter of the early morning birds
in the sweep of the prairie grasses
in the steam off of your first morning cup
in the expanse of the ripening yellow
the cluster of cows grazing.
The more we look for beautiful,
the more our eyes
will be trained to see it
our ears will be tuned to listen for it.
When we focus on beautiful,
when we recognize how God
has provided for us in the past,
and how he provides
the beautiful for us today,
pointing us to Him,
to the Creator of the beautiful,
to His love
maybe just maybe
we can begin to turn our eyes
from all that is wrong
all that is messy
all that is hard
all that is ugly
and begin noticing
Mary Folkerts is mom to four kids and wife to a farmer, living on the southern prairies of Alberta, where the skies are large and the sunsets stunning. She is a Proverbs 31 ministries COMPEL Writers Training member and is involved in church ministries and music. Mary’s personal blog aims to encourage and inspire women and advocate for those with Down Syndrome, as their youngest child introduced them to this extraordinary new world. For more inspiration, check out Joy in the Small Things https://maryfolkerts.com/