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5 steps to finding true joy
5 steps to finding true joy - photo by Wendy Jessen
Life is so beautiful, yet so full of misery and despair. As people, we struggle with mistakes we make and the negative consequences of others' choices. We ache and hurt as we go through trials and experience suffering. We feel helpless, and often hopeless in our actions to change our circumstances.

But, it is possible to have joy in this journey we call life, and especially possible to find joy every day.

1. Love for humankind

The ability to care about and love others regardless of race, religion, gender or life choices will bring us great joy. Religious leader, Jean Bingham, encouraged, " we follow [Jesus'] perfect example, we can receive the gift of charity, which will bring us great joy in this life..." Jesus loved and served everyone he came in contact with, regardless of who they were or what they had done. He is the epitome of charity. Caring for and loving others will bring joy into our hearts.

2. Follow the teachings of Jesus and keep the commandments

Just as we should follow the example of Jesus, we should also follow his teachings and keep the commandments. Joy cannot be achieved by living a sinful life. There is joy in making choices that will not only help you grow and increase your faith, but will also strengthen your relationship with God. Joy is found by continuing to choose good over evil.

3. Repentance is joyful

Because we are human, we won't always make the right choices. We will succumb to sin and error. But, we can repent and make necessary changes in our lives to redirect our focus on Jesus. Correcting and striving to better ourselves brings joy. "...[Joy] is one of the inherent results of repentance," said Dale Renlund. We should not forgo repentance because because we fear what others may think. We all need to repent and do it often. We can always be a little better. Repenting shows we are humble, teachable and ready to improve ourselves to increase our joy.

4. Teaching our children to follow Jesus brings joy

3 John 1:4 states, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." Any parent who has wept for a spiritually lost child knows how painful it can be. The opposite is also true. Seeing your children make good choices as children and adults brings peace and joy into our hearts. But, children need your constant guidance and teachings to help them navigate the path of righteousness. Yes, even with guidance they will make mistakes--just as we all do! Remember the joy of repentance is for them, too. It is vital to teach them to follow Jesus and about the miracles of repentance.

5. Joy comes from helping friends who are struggling with their faith

This is similar to showing charity to others, but on a different level. Most everyone will experience a crisis of faith or an otherwise dark period in their lifetime. These times are often difficult to overcome without the love and support of others. There is great joy that comes from helping others find their way again. We can love, encourage, and continue to pray for and with our loved ones. We can help others back on the right path through our love and example. Our joy is multiplied as we lead others closer to the Savior.

Life can be really tough, but we can find joy in so many things, big and small. As we strive to follow Jesus, love everyone around us, keep the commandments, help our loved ones overcome their trials and learn more about Christ, our joy will be full. True joy can be found when we focus on doing what is right and on helping and serving others.
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