Let me tell you something about HER.

You know the one. The mom behind you in school drop off. Boss babe goals, mother of three who looks like Christie Brinkley in the flesh. Did she get a new car? I mean, of course she did. A Lexus—no big deal. Annndd my check engine light just came on. Awesome. OMG what is that smell? Is that milk??? Why can’t I be more like her?

They say comparison is the thief of joy, but what exactly is joy? Because quite frankly, I feel as if the lines have become quite blurred. Is it HERS or mine? Does it look like what SHE has or what I have? Far too often, I feel as if joy looks more like her life, her job, her body, her marriage, and her health. And yet, we know nothing about HER.

Somewhere along the way, we started treating joy as an ideal state. This place of unmarked perfection. Phrases like I’ll be happy when (fill in the blank HERE) roll off our tongues.

We chase objects and titles, homes and possessions, and call it the quest for joy. Sis, that’s not chasing joy, that’s chasing comparison.

Joy isn’t found in a perfectly filtered Instagram square or in what SHE is doing—it’s a state of mind.

For years I would walk across the street once a week to the local homeless shelter and serve lunch to the men there. Always sure to engage in friendly small talk, I would ask, “How are you today?” flashing a smile.

“I’m blessed. How are you?”

BLESSED.

Sis, these men had nothing to their name other than the clothes on their backs, but they had enough joy and perspective to realize they were alive. They were living. They had a warm meal and a place to stay and keep warm. They were thankful. You want to talk about perspective.

But still, we look for it, don’t we? We chase it down and cling to it with everything we have. We accumulate things, quick beauty tips get pinned to our boards, we finance cars and homes and wonder why we are still left feeling empty. We objectify and idolize it. We hang our very worth and legacy on THINGS.

Sister, hear me.

Joy isn’t a trophy you can hang on a shelf or a car parked in your garage. You’re not going to find it in designer clothes, the latest fad diets or title you carry—it’s how you LIVE. It’s what you value and how you feel. It’s going through hard times and choosing to keep your chin up. It’s the impact you make on others. It’s giving love even when it’s hard.

That joy you’re searching so hard for? You’re just looking in all the wrong places. It’s not found in HER life. It’s right in front of you.

It’s the mess you’ve cleaned for the fiftieth time.
It’s the kids laughing in the living room.
It’s building a life together no matter how messy and chaotic.
It’s fighting for your marriage through the not so great times only to emerge on the other side stronger than ever.
It’s getting up through tired eyes knowing that today you get one more day on this earth.

Joy isn’t a destination, it’s a state of being. A conscious mindset of being grateful every single day.

Is it always easy? No. Choose it anyway. Every single day.

This post originally appeared on They Whine, So I Wine

 

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Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer is a working mom, blogger, wife, and mama to one rambunctious little boy. Surviving motherhood with a good laugh, dance parties to Trolls, lots of coffee and a glass of wine. Follow along with her blog for the not so perfect, unorganized and unfiltered working mom at www.theywhinesoiwine.com.