I'm gonna just go ahead and say that I've made a scientific breakthrough. Do I have the qualifications to make that announcement? Sure. According to me, I have every bit of authority necessary to give my own personal discovery the title of "scientific breakthrough."
So before we get to our Joy Experiment discovery, we need to preface with a discovery I made about myself a while ago. It has been very apparent to me for quite a long time now that I absolutely need to create. And "create" is a very wide blanket term here- writing, drawing, painting, music, cooking... I just need to make things. I'd even go so far as to label it as a necessity in my life. Now, would I die if I was unable to create things? No. But when I go for long periods of time without creative outlets, I feel wrong. It's hard to describe (I know, not the greatest thing to say as an author), but not creating things leads to feeling like I'm in this sort of fog. Like there's something off or missing in life.
Here's where we get back to the Joy Experiment. I've mentioned before that the reason for throwing myself headlong into a challenge to find more rest is because I felt like life was becoming a pattern of dragging myself to the next weekend or break from regular work and life. And part of what created that issue is that I was so tired each day that when I had some free time, I didn't have energy to create. Not creating, in turn, just made me feel more burnt-out, and the cycle continued.
But what I've discovered in my experiment is that rest and reorganizing my priorities makes room for inspiration. By building small routines and habits into my life, I'm less likely to feel exhausted every day. And when I don't feel exhausted, I have the brain power to create. And when I create... I experience the joy of doing my favorite thing. It's a new cycle now- one that is positive, instead of draining. I've actually been writing again (fairly regularly), and I finished a painting that has been sitting half-finished on my desk for like three months. I'm learning a new instrument. I literally reorganized my entire kitchen, which is something I've been meaning to do since I moved in... a year and a half ago.
The point here is not that I've figured everything in my life out and never feel even a little bit tired. I certainly still experience fatigue during long weeks. And there are still days when I don't have any creative energy. But there is improvement, and I can see things moving in the direction that I want them to. This is not to give myself credit, though. Psalm 37:4-5 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act." (ESV) This entire experiment is a manifestation of the fact that He's finally gotten through to me. We are not created to work ourselves to death pursuing trivial, temporary things. We have an eternal inheritance in heaven and a loving God who commands us to rest. When we realign our priorities to match with His design and seek Him first, everything else falls into place. He is the source of joy and contentment. The sooner we live that truth, the sooner we break whatever cycle of exhaustion we have in our lives.
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