Recently a man asked me the best way to handle some of the disappointment in his life. Things have not been going well, and he is getting discouraged. After numerous texts back and forth about life and faith, I offered up a couple of practical suggestions. One of my thoughts was merely to say, “Enjoy the journey.”
This is original with me, yet I still see it as an essential viewpoint in life. Each of us needs to understand; we will not enjoy life more once we have accomplished our goals, purchased specific items or had that dream vacation. Life is a journey from the cradle into eternity. While on this trip we need to find joy each day in some way.
Here a couple of things I have learned about enjoying the journey.
1. Be careful what voices you follow. Advertisers will tell you that your life is lacking without their product. Travel resorts try to sell you on the idea that joy is found in their location. And social media … well … I often feel like it a self-promotion machine highlighting your shortcomings. I mean if you look at social media for long you will see people promoting their wonderful marriage, perfect children, dream job and fulfilling personal time. If you are not careful, you can begin to look at your life as imperfect and incomplete. You can feel like, “How can I have joy when others have so much more than I do?”
Be careful who you let influence your life. Are you motivated by your own personal quest for joy or by the voices telling you that your life is less than joyful?
2. Walk slowly through life. This is so counter-cultural. Everyone is rushing from here to there and trying to be a part of everything. Our schedules are overloaded, and we have deceived ourselves into thinking that it will bring us joy. If we do more and accomplish more won’t we find more joy? If we make more money and use it for vacations and fancy things won’t we find more joy? My answer is usually a resounding “no.”
Slow down and do less. Enjoy a meal with our family. Sit on the porch and watch the sun rise or set or both. Listen to children tell you a story without interrupting. Ask your spouse about their feelings and listen for an answer. Tell the people you care about why you love them and how much they mean to you. Pray and sit quietly. Eat cheesecake. Enjoy this life without the burden of more.
3. Say “Thank You” for one thing (at least) every day. Said another way, “Develop an attitude of gratitude.” Force your self to be thankful. The more you work to see the good in yourself and others the more joy you will find. The more you are grateful for all you have and have done, the more pleasure you will find. I would almost guarantee you have things in your life that other people can’t believe are not making you happy.
The words are true. Enjoy the journey.
Life is short, and the road is hard. One day you will look back on today and wonder why you were so unhappy. Time will give you perspective, and your worries will all seem so trivial. There is no reason to wait for joy, find it today.