You walk into a classroom and immediately, 24 sets of eyes stare curiously, judgmentally, and directly at you. Despite the visual attention, you feel completely alone and, as silently as possible, you slide into the crooked desk in the corner.
We all know that “new kid feeling” whether we’ve been the new kid, the new teacher, taught the new kid, or just felt a bit out of place in a strange, new situation.
As a kid, I moved around from Small-Town, Iowa to Smaller-Town, Iowa. Yet, with each move, it never got any easier. In January 2015, I moved with my brand-new husband Travis to Charlotte, North Carolina to experience marriage together in a new place, get involved in a church we love, and get the heck away from Iowa winters. (*note one move across the country). Fast forward to 10 months later, we now live in Des Moines, Iowa as my husband accepted his dream job. (*note second move across the country).
Yup, that’s right… the girl who tried to get out of Iowa is back and I’m the new kid, again, at age 21.
Life happens, and moves change the courses of our lives. Yet, finding joy in the midst of the unknown, the struggles, and the chaos is one of the most beautiful things we, as humans, get to experience here on this earth.
1. We can be the joy.
2. We can seek the joy.
3. We can dream of and write about the joy to come and the joy that has passed.
Be the Joy
What even is joy? And how can I be joy? Webster says that joy is a feeling of great pleasure. I, however, think that joy is something more solid than a “feeling.” I think I can feel like the world’s worst wife, teacher, friend, daughter…etc. and still have joy. Joy comes from within, and we can BE joy. Regardless of what we feel, we can invest a few more minutes per day in the student who rebels against us the strongest or call our mom when we know she’ll talk for over an hour (hi, mom, I love you). Whatever it is, we can BE joy even when we don’t FEEL joy. I promise it’s contagious.
Seek the Joy
Speaking of moms, my mom always says that there is good and bad in every job, town, etc. but it will always be what you choose to see. I used to think it was just a thing moms said, but moms have a way of always being right. Joy never leaves; it is always there. We just have to find it. We have to search for the student sharing her pencils, for the coworker willing to be our friend, for the husband who organized the basement storage room, for the elderly couple holding hands in the park. If we seek the negative in the situation, we will feel negatively about it. If we seek the joy in the situation, we will feel joyous about it. The choice is ours, and the joy is yearning to be sought.
Dream the Joy
Sometimes the joy just doesn’t seem to be there. There are 50 assignments to be graded, your 4th graders couldn’t care less about the fraction unit, your husband is working 60-hour weeks and you feel like you haven’t seen each other in months, your 1-year-old has been trying to eat everything within a 7-foot radius, and everything seems to be falling apart at the seams. Hold on: I can guarantee that you’ve experienced joy in the past. Write about it. Research tells us that the act of writing assists the brain to store information and understand concepts more quickly and effectively. I’m no prophet, but I can promise you that joy is coming. Maybe in five minutes, five hours, five days, five months. I do not know. But it is coming. Write about that, too.
Yes, the past few months of juggling a new home, a new church, a new city, a young marriage, an online business, and grad school have been chaotic. Many tears have been shed and in about 40 different instances, I’ve felt like I’ve reached the end of my rope. Somehow, though, joy always manages to find and capture my heart.
How do you experience joy in your chaos? Post your joy on Instagram with the hashtag #TPTfindingjoy and tag @wentworthwisdom OR just comment on Facebook!
Thanks for reading about joy, especially from this 21-year-old. Those things have really helped me through some hard stuff. I’m a stay-at-home student/wife, currently. Though, I worked in a Montessori School when I lived in Charlotte. I’m still trying to figure out where I belong in this new place. All the while, I am a Teacher-Author (WentworthWisdom) on TpT specializing in ELA while providing informational text in each of my plans regarding the importance of the topic, facts, and life applications. I’m a follower of Jesus, obsessed with food (especially paleo food), and learning to seek the joy within the chaos.
And, get this. My mom, dad, and grandma are also Teacher-Authors on TpT! My mom and dad are Paul and Shelly, and their store is Promoting Success. My grandma is Rose, and her TpT store is smalltowngiggles.