One of the motivations for this study was that I have been feeling an increase of joy over the past year and wanted to examine the reasons why. As I’ve considered the matter I have identified three basic reasons. Today I’ll discuss the first.

My discipleship is in the best place it has ever been. A little over two years ago I decided to really try to be my best self. All my life I was raised in a religious environment, and I definitely “wanted” good things for myself and the world…but if you had asked me what I did to actively promote that goodness I wouldn’t have had much to say. That I just wished for goodness, maybe? Suffice it to say that I was a very passive follower of Jesus.

After some dramatic life events I knew it was time to take my faith seriously and finally listen to all of the things that my conscience was trying to say. I didn’t want to try and make one little change here or there, I felt a need to let the light of Christ pervade my entire life.

So I started exercising, I brought better focus to my work, I started meeting with a therapist, I made a habit of studying the scriptures with real intent, I decided to put my phone away and really be there for my wife and son. Most recently I’ve added reaching out to my brothers and sisters and nurturing a forgiving heart to the list.

Now I have a long way to go before I’m perfect in any of these practices. Several of them have been on-again/off-again, but I am making a point to not lapse back into complacency. I try, I waver, I recommit. And in that imperfect trying I already feel so much more awakened, so much more like I am living the way I was intended to live. It just feels so right.

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