As this last year came to a close on December 31st, it’s only natural that we all took a moment to reflect on what happened in our lives over the past 365 days.

There was a birthday, Christmas, probably a vacation or trip, maybe even a wedding, a new home or a baby.  We think back fondly over the blessings and are more than happy to put the bad times behind us.

Personally, my 2015 included the stress of building a new home (a tiny one at that), followed by the swift realization that said house had a quadrillion things wrong with it, which meant living out of a hotel and other people’s homes, going back and forth with my builder, running into dead ends, and eventually having to move out again, then moving all my belongings AGAIN into a temporary rental house only to find out that there’s a mold problem that is wreaking havoc on my health, and eventually moving my stuff AGAIN back to where I started from in the first place.

Needless to say… I was kind of tired of moving around.  And dealing with stress and the effects it was having on me physically.

But wanna hear something crazy?

I didn’t go crazy.

I didn’t lose my mind or have a nervous breakdown or run away (although believe me, I thought about it a few times!).  I survived and not only that, I actually still managed to find joy in the midst of chaos.

So how do you do that?

Well, the most important thing is to be patient and trust God.  This was a lesson I had already learned during the other trials I had been through in the last few years, like my mom’s passing.  So I had already learned that it does no one (especially yourself) any good to get upset and worry yourself to pieces.  It doesn’t change a single thing about your circumstances.  It just makes you feel miserable in the meantime.

God is always in control and He doesn’t need my help (a.k.a. micro-managing), so I just need to trust Him and focus on the truths that His timing is always right and He will use all things for good.

Just remembering that alone makes things a lot easier to bear because it takes the pressure off of you!

It also helps you to remember what is truly important and be grateful.  If you are being patient and trusting that God is in control, it helps you to put the focus back on the things that really matter – your family, your friends, helping others and of course, your relationship with God.  It draws you closer to Him and helps you to see all of the blessings that you DO have more clearly.

For instance, even in the midst of all of the tiny house drama… I still was making great friendships with new people, acquiring new business opportunities and learning (yet again) that I am stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for.

That’s why it’s so important to focus on the good.  Putting your focus and your energy on the things that are good in your life, helps you to forget about the chaos a little and remember that you’re going to get through this time.  It not only helps you to survive… but to actually LIVE and be joyful!

It’s easy to find joy when everything is going right in your life and the blessings are abundant.  But when times are tough, whether it’s because of unemployment, loss, illness or just plain loneliness… it will take a little effort on your part to be joyful.

But believe me, it’s worth the effort.  Your body, your mind and especially your soul will thank you for it!

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