This is the week of joy in the Advent season. People often struggle with this one, and it impacts how they lead out.

There was a study done in Sweden some time back, regarding the happiness people experience in life. Is it found in completing all their goals and getting what they want? Or is it working towards something? Surprise! It’s in working towards a goal. They found that once people arrived at the place of completion or success there was actually a feeling of let down or sadness. The obstacle had been overcome, or the item had been taken, and there was nothing left for which to strive.

So, it seems that as humans we find joy in working towards something and continually striving towards the goal, but we really don’t want to get to the end!

Have you experienced this in your own life? I know I have. I saw it in my children when they used to fixate on something special on their Christmas list, just like I did as a kid. (OK, I still do.) The driver personality struggles with this as they seek to achieve and feel a lull after reaching the goal. The extreme extrovert wants to be socially active until they burn out. You can match up whichever comparison in your own life here, but you get the picture. There is something about ‘making joy complete’ as the apostle Paul says. 

The trouble is we all too often get stuck in the pursuit of happiness. Happenstance. Circumstantial experiences that give us a rush. Happiness is a good thing, but if it rests on circumstances being just right, we proclaim a recipe for disaster. Life will take us apart, and our heart will go with it. What truly feeds the soul is not perfect circumstances; it is the ability to proclaim joy no matter what hits us. Can I lose at something important to me and tell the world I have not lost myself? 

Many leaders have fallen due to this paradox. Doing something that makes them happy, that ultimately leads to their demise. I have experienced it personally. Living for the moments of glory, only to realize that there is an emptiness when they pass. The moments shape me, but they cannot destroy my pursuit and proclamation of joy.

Have a joyful week and continue proclaiming it to everyone around you; it will change the setting!

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