How do we find joy in simple things?

As a girl, I loved Christmas morning. “Santa” always left a few things unwrapped for my sisters and me to enjoy before breakfast. We’d gobble down a special meal. After the dishes dripped in the drainer, we scurried to our family room in anticipation of finding our most yearned-for gift under the tree. I remember the year I got a little Kodak 110 camera. I coaxed everyone into our front yard so I could snap photos of our family. I know. This little truth probably does not surprise my regular readers.

But there were also Christmases when, after unwrapping the final gift, emptiness oozed straight from my heart to my spirit. The presents I received didn’t fill me with the joy I anticipated. 

I’ve learned joy is not found in the externals of life. I’m guessing you’ve learned the same? So, where do we find joy?

How do we find joy in simple things?

I suspect many of us reserve joy responses for life’s “big” things. A huge answered prayer. A positive result on a health test. The offer of a dream job. A new relationship. Being spared from something difficult/painful/dangerous. 

Yes, these should bring us joy. But, if these occasional circumstances are the only times when we find joy, most of our days will feel . . . blah. Let’s think about how we find joy in simple things.

13 Practical How to’s to Find Joy in Simple Things— But, if these occasional circumstances are the only times when we find joy, most of our days will feel . . . blah #tellhisstory #findjoy Click To Tweet
Image of a shell in the sand with the ocean in the background and the lowering sun. A reminder that discovering places where we find joy opens our hearts to receive God's gifts

Perspective Shifts

  • Shift our expectations. Or even better, release the expectations of what we think should happen, what we want, and the changes we desire.
  • Sometimes we wait for the “big” things to come to fruition in our lives before we give ourselves permission to find joy in the little things. A brilliant sunrise. A hug from a child. An unexpected phone call from a friend. Choose to find joy in these little things.
  • Remember joy is a gift God gives when we become His child. Though happiness can be swayed by circumstances, joy is ever present, like a gift God gives us, just waiting to be unwrapped.
  • If we often hold onto a negative frame of mind, let’s talk with the Lord and get to the root. When I’m struggling with negative thoughts, it’s often because I’m feeling either discontent or insecure about something. I spend time with the Lord in prayer and journaling to sort through and find the base cause of the unhealthy thoughts. Then I ask God to help me work through whatever is at the base of the thought patterns and reframe my perspective.  

If we want to find joy in simple things, we must shift our perspective and make different choices in how we think, how we spend our time each day, and what we prioritize.

13 Practical How to’s to Find Joy in Simple Things—If we want to find joy in simple things, we must shift our perspective and make different choices #tellhisstory #findjoy #perspectiveshift Click To Tweet

Choices we make

  • It’s important to take time every few months to evaluate our priorities. 

Consider these questions: 

  • Are we taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

When we care for our needs, it’s easier to find joy in simple things. 

  • Are we too busy because we’ve said yes to things God didn’t set on our plates? 
  • Are we in a busy season because a lot is going on in our family that we really can’t avoid? 
  • If this is the case, we need to give ourselves grace to temporarily let other things go for a time so we can focus on what’s happening in our family.

Practical how-to’s for finding joy

  • Especially in stressful or busy times, we must make choices that open us up to joy
  • Spend time in God’s word, meditating on His character and truths in His word
  • Listen to worship songs or music that soothes our spirit
  • Give ourselves time to do something we enjoy
  • Find a way to encourage others. If you enjoy baking, maybe take something to the nearby police station or firehouse. Help an elderly neighbor with a hard-for-them task. Write a note to a relative or friend.

Getting out of our own heads and looking for ways to meet others’ needs can be an effective way to find joy.

  • Start a gratitude list and add to it daily
  • Spend time away from electronics
  • Especially during the holidays, when many tasks press down on us, take time away from our normal routine to do something fun (especially with friends or family) and make special memories
Ocean foam lapping the sand as the setting sun reflects on it. SOmetimes spending time in places that help us to relax also helps us find joy

Closing Thought

It’s been a long time since I’ve raced to the family room on a Christmas morning. But I’m still choosing to find genuine joy, especially during these busy days. As we move into Thanksgiving and Christmas, let’s be intentional about finding joy by looking for the simple things in our days, in our interactions with people, and in what God is doing in nature around us. 

What about you? How do you balance the to-dos with choosing joy? What helps you find joy in simple things?

Just a reminder: Next week we’re linking up at Lisa Jordan’s place. See you there!

Come share your story at the Tell His Story linkup. Connect and be encouraged by like-minded friends! #tellhisstory #linkup Click To Tweet

Most weeks, I link up with Grace and Truth, Anita Ojeda, Instaencouragements, and sometimes Let’s Have Coffee. Come join and read more encouraging posts!

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