What gives you joy?

Seems like a simple question right?  Hopefully you have something that gives you joy in your life.

Things that give me the most joy are centered around my family and our home.  Spending time with them, cooking for them, sitting around talking together, playing music, and spending time with God.

Simple things like this are virtually free and yet so important in my life.  You see,  I have had enough of a health scare to realize what is really important to me.  I take joy in these simple things and appreciate every moment now.  God has given me the vision to see what I was missing.  I’m way beyond any material needs here people.  Shelter, food, clothing (minimal) is all I and you really need in life.

Valuing and placing value on these simple things has given me so much freedom from stressors and negative things in my life.  Today as a society we place too much emphasis on money and possessions.  Everyone knows this, yet most are still caught in the “rat race” so to speak.  We still have plenty of debt, but we are working every day (and have a plan) to get out of debt.

Money and our debt (and anything involving money) truly is “evil”.  The Bible tells us this a lot and for good reason.

1 Timothy 6:10 King James Version (KJV)

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Money, money problems, chasing that new car, new house, are all things that society wants us to be wrapped up in.  Credit cards are from the devil I’m sure y’all!!!  Here’s free money (or so you think) that you will pay for forever!

So what does this have to do with joy you ask?  Well because we (as a family) have realized that we don’t need much money.  This was a long time coming and we had to make hard choices, but we are here in a much smaller home now with much less stuff surrounding us.  It’s been very liberating!  Our stress levels are minuscule compared to how crazy our lives were before we did this.

Will this work for me?  Or what are you telling me to do here Mandy?  Well all I’m suggesting is that you take a look at your life.  Sit down somewhere quiet.  Grab a cup of coffee or some nice lemonade.  Now in that quiet think about what brings you joy in your life.  Now think about those things that are bogging you down and bringing you stress.  Do you really need that $400 car payment?  Or 2 of them for that matter?  What could you do with an extra $400 a month?  We went from 2 car payments and a large mortgage down to 1 car payment (that is less) and a much cheaper mortgage.  This was a 2 year process, but it was worth it.  We sold a lot of our excess stuff that everyone has.  Now I stay at home instead of leaving the home for work each day.  I have plenty of time to cook for us, homeschool our daughter (which has been a huge blessing to us), and play music!

You don’t need to do anything this drastic unless you really want to but we don’t realize how much we waste money unless we really take a look at things.  We looked at it as a game after awhile.  How much could we cut, how much could we sell, etc.  The funny thing is that even though our household income dropped a LOT, everything else dropped a lot more.

I only tell you this so that you might wake from the “rat race”.  I don’t know anyone who has ever looked back over their life and said I wish I would have worked more, or had that new car.  They all say the same things.  Like they wish they would have loved more, traveled more, or things of that nature.

Take some simple steps like writing down exactly how much debt you have, figuring out what you can sell, trade, donate to eliminate some of the debt and clutter from your life.  These steps can make you so much happier.  It’s amazing!  When your stuff starts to rule your life and you are working so hard just to pay for it all, then maybe it’s time to change.

I want you to be happy and full of joy!

If you have tips for me or things you’ve done to make your life more joyful, please share them in the comments.