My best friend is one of the happiest people I know. Everyone loves to be around her because her joy and enthusiasm for life is contagious. Many of us go to her when we feel down because she not only listens and cares, but she has a way of finding something funny in our miserable stories and her signature laugh breaks the bonds of any depression. I am so thankful to have a friend like Joann who makes life so much more enjoyable. But I know her well enough to realize that she, too, has difficult days. When you first encounter her cheer, you may think she faces no confidence conflicts, but I know that one of her great challenges is the condemnation she has gotten for being so happy.
Misery loves company–if that company is also miserable. Joyful company to someone who wants to bask in their sorrow is like salt in a wound: It may bring healing, but it hurts. Picture a patient snapping at her nurse as she tries to clean out a cut and that’s what I’ve seen happen to my beautiful friend for greeting someone cheerfully. I’ve done it to her, too.
Like March 1, 1999. I didn’t know it was my last day taking care of my sick baby, I only knew I was weary, worried and wanting my friend to cry with me. She cheerfully told me her day was too full. She’d already sacrificed many days to help me but that day I resented her happiness as she went on with her life when mine was still in turmoil. It takes extreme circumstances for me to be offended by this close friend, because I know her heart and it is good. How foolish I would have been to hold a grudge over something so small when I needed her so desperately to help me deal with something so big.
Strangers may judge a joyful heart as phony or naive. But anyone with insight knows joy accompanies more than happiness. We all need to be more thankful for the people in our lives whose predominate continence is joy. No human is without pain but those with faith that “joy comes in the morning,” who are able to find the good in the midst of the difficult are the ones we all need to be around.
If you find yourself feeling a bit down this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to choose your company well and don’t just go with your first impression. Get to know the heart of your company.
If you are feeling misjudged, or outcast or lonely remember that nothing makes a woman more beautiful than a cheerful (and confident) heart and nothing robs her beauty more than misery. Seek after the joy that gives you strength.
If your life is full of difficulty right now, realize that you are not a phony by being joyful. Would you join me in looking for the good and putting on an attitude of gratitude as if it were a beautiful garment? When we, like Joann, wear joy in the midst of unhappiness, fear or sorrow and we, too, can break the bonds of depression around us.
Isaiah 61: 1b-3
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with overcoming rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.
Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com