Cultivating A Joyful Life | Content Where We Are

Cultivating A Joyful Life | Content Where We Are

First and foremost, before I really delve into the topic of this post, I’d like to clarify that I’m well aware that most people don’t live in cozy little outdoor patios like the one featured above. 😂💚 It merely serves to materialize the ‘home’ theme of Part One of my Cultivating A Joyful Life series, as well as keeping to the constant theme of these posts, which are gardens.

In the introduction that I wrote last week, I shared a beautiful way to think of our minds and our hearts, and that is by comparing them to a garden. The gardens that are well-cultivated, loved, and overall taken care are home to many beautiful plants and accents throughout! However, much against the gardener’s will, weeds still sprout up, good plants still die, etc, so it is essential that they are continuously cared for.

They cannot be cultivated to a certain point, then left to their own devices; just like with gardens, our hearts need daily (in some cases constant) care, or else everything gets bad quite suddenly. In abandoned gardens, flowers start to wilt, stems fade and begin turning brown, leaves slowly fall off the trees … in short, beautiful things cannot live if not taken care of.

I may be speaking of gardens, but in many ways, one can put his- or herself in this situation, as well. What happens when we stop actively putting aside bad behaviors? How does our life change when good habits that we were constantly nurturing are thrown to the side? Our positivity starts to wilt, happiness fades and turns to sorrow, and the joyful way we usually feel begins to crumble away. It’s a sad image, yet absolutely accurate; I’ve seen it happen – and felt it happen! – time and time again.

One of the utmost things that has been on my mind as of late have been earthly dwellings – or, put plainly, as you’d probably prefer 😂, our homes! 🏠 Many of us (myself included) become discontent with where we currently reside for all sorts of reasons. That’s what I’ll be attempting to tackle today – discontentment with where we live, and how we may come to be okay, happy, and just overall …

Content Where We Are

This is a fact of life that many of you probably already know: we easily (and often) become bored. Growing tired of anything in our lives that stays constant for too long is a frequent occurrence, and it is completely different for each and every person. We crave change, we desire new things, and, sometimes, we simply long for life to be a bit more interesting. I know that I personally love for things to be familiar, yet interesting; normal, yet different.

You see, I love for things to have a basic schedule and predictability, while still leaving room for creativity, for switching things around here and there when necessary. For example, I really enjoy going places, and I love that most when they’re different places. I like to get my schoolwork done on weekday mornings, but in a different order each day, depending on how much work I’m assigned. I thoroughly enjoy reading books, browsing blogs, and listening to music, and I enjoy those activities most when they are different books, blogs, and music. Do you see the growing pattern here?

I love predictable variation.

That may sound odd to you. In fact, it sounds odd to me. But I have realized while writing this post that it is an absolute truth in my life.

When it comes to where my family and I live, I strive to be happy with where we’re living. I decorate the bedroom I occupy to my utmost liking, and I learn to accept the little things that are wrong with the house itself (for there are always cons to the homes we find ourselves in). I’m usually quite fine with wherever we’re living. However, the moment I begin to feel unhappy with the location, I feel very trapped, sometimes afraid, and most certainly like I want to break free and move elsewhere – far away – to be anywhere but here.

When I look to the Lord for the healing balm that will soothe my aching soul, I always find three things that comfort me. Here they are:

  1. He cares for us so much. It may look like we’re stuck somewhere, whether it’s because we haven’t found a new place to move, or there are financial struggles, etc, but all things serve a good purpose (Romans 8:28). Find joy in the waiting! It definitely seems fruitless at times, but we are always being prepared for what is to come. That leads me to my second point:
  2. The dreams and plans that the Lord has for His children are far greater than we can ever imagine. It says so in His Word! (1 Corinthians 2:9) We often find this hard to believe, especially when we’re hurting, but please, if you will, take a moment to look back at the beautiful life you have. Can you see His hand at work? I always can in my own life. ❤ That leads me (again!) to my third point:
  3. This is not our eternal home! I tend to think that bad/upsetting living situations are a permanent thing, but guys. Everything is SO temporary! Not only are there beautiful opportunities and experiences waiting for us in our future, but we are also “looking forward to the new heavens and new earth He has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.” – 2 Peter 3:13 NLT, emphasis mine. That’s the first time I’ve read that particular translation of the verse, and it has me so excited right now for all that He has in store for us!

In conclusion, it’s hard to feel settled in the houses/apartments we live in sometimes – and that’s okay. At times, it’s important that we move, and in other situations, it is crucial that we wait. Look at your unique situation from every angle. For me personally, I know that my family and I will soon move out of the house we’ve lived in for two years, which I didn’t even know about when I started writing this post. ❤ The Lord’s blessings are everywhere!! (: xx (by the way, we don’t have a date or anything yet. This plan is tentative. ‘Soon’ will have to do for now. 💚)

How about you?

Are you finding the joy in where you live? What are YOUR favorite things about your current home? 🏠💜

Happy Wednesday, guys! I hope that you’re all having a beautiful, blessed week!

Follow me! || Twitter || Pinterest || Goodreads || YouTube

Cultivating A Joyful Life | An Introduction

Cultivating A Joyful Life | An Introduction

Cultivate is one of my favorite words. It is a beautiful way to describe keeping and nurturing plant life, but the way I love to use it most is in an analogy.

Have you ever heard those inspirational quotes that refer to our hearts as a garden?

We each have a garden within us.

It’s the place where we keep all of our best memories – and our worst nightmares; a place where we grow positive attitude attributes – as well as traits we wish we didn’t have. In our gardens, we cultivate beautiful things that add joy, love, and peace to our lives … and in that same garden is an assortment of weeds, plants we wish weren’t there anymore, dusty stones in that cobblestone path that has been the main walkway in our hearts for years. It’s different for each and every person; not one garden looks the same, and that’s okay! For just like we differ as people, what we cultivate in our hearts, minds, and souls is different, too.

I often ponder what is in the garden of my own heart. Seldom have I mentioned it, but I absolutely love analogies, parables, metaphors, and everything else that’s nice (haha) – really, I love comparing things with one another by using verbal illustrations to show how, even though two things are completely different, they are, in essence, the same. Even though I have come up with few unique analogies myself, I take to heart each and every one I come across that touches me. I enjoy reading, seeing and hearing what others have come up with, and I also love the wisdom found through parables in the Bible.

Jesus’ favorite way to teach was through parables. There are many to be found in the four epistles (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and I love them all. Each one beautifully illustrates whatever point the Son of Man is making – which makes sense, for He has infinite knowledge, so He would be the One to come up with the perfect parable for each lesson, every single time, haha!

When I was pondering posts I’d enjoy writing last week, this was one of the title ideas that came to mind. That is, ‘Cultivating A Joyful Life.’ What exactly does that mean, you might wonder? I’m not even completely sure myself yet. But the aspects that I’ve thought over in the days since then have made extremely excited to write out this series, as it will be a great learning experience for me, and anyone else interested, as well.

Since April, I have been keeping up with my Making the Change series. At first, it was a weekly thing that I did, but now I do one at the end of most months. The day before I was going to make the first post public, I was really second-guessing myself on how well the series would be received. It was good for me to write that post, and I knew that it was quite possible that I could help others overcome whatever obstacles they’re facing … but I worried that people wouldn’t like me anymore because I would be revealing the fact that I was dealing with anger. Being so vulnerable and open frightened me, but I went ahead and posted it, and the response the series has gotten as a whole has blessed me so much!

Every one of you who has commented on the posts in my Making the Change series has truly added to my life and helped me to stay focused on fixing the behaviors that have bound me for too long. It hasn’t been easy at times, and I greatly appreciated everyone’s feedback, and hearing you guys’ stories blessed me, as well. ❤

This series, Cultivating A Joyful Life, will be in some ways similar to Making the Change, but instead of looking to fixing specific behaviors, it will focus more on better understanding ourselves, on how we can be joyful and at peace with who we are, where we are, and also who we are with.

It’s a work in progress, but this is only the beginning. I can’t wait to continue with this series!

Follow me! || Twitter || Pinterest || Goodreads || YouTube

Becoming a Big Sister For the Fourth Time

Becoming a Big Sister For the Fourth Time

On Friday afternoon, I found out something that I’d really like to share with you guys!

My mom is going to have another baby. ❤

I wanted to write a post about this, not only to let you guys know, but also because … well … I have mixed feelings on it.

I wish I could say that I'm excited, and joyful, and really happy about this beautiful news … but because of some deep-rooted fears that I have, I feel way more worried than I do happy.

Here's why.

I'm scared that my mom will have to go through a lot of pain. When she had my little sister Elizabeth last summer, Elizabeth was born via c-section. It took my mom weeks to heal from that, and that time was hard on our whole family, especially me, as we did our best to take care of her and comfort her when she was hurting so much.

I'm scared that others will think we're weird. When people see big families, they tend to put them in a certain category, and that makes me feel so awkward.

I'm scared that others will think I'm a teen mom. I'm not usually the only one caring for Elizabeth when we're out and about, but when I do, people have gotten the wrong impression before. I love having younger siblings – especially babies! – but because I'm afraid of others' opinions, that has taken away my joy.

I'm looking forward to this baby. I can't wait to meet him or her … but that excitement is drowned out for the time being by the worries that are filling my heart.

It will take time to heal from how that hospital stay last June drained me. I'll have to write a post on that sometime soon. And it will take me time to learn that others' opinions aren't what matter. One day, I'll feel better about this, and over the next weeks and months, I will get to the point where I will eagerly anticipate the arrival of my new little sibling.

But for now … I am thinking things through. I am praying. I am giving myself room to heal.

~~~~

Throughout my mom's pregnancy, I will be writing more posts about how I'm feeling, how her pregnancy with Elizabeth went, and other life updates. I would deeply appreciate all of your encouragement, support, and prayers.

Thank you so much for reading. ❤

— Maggie