Everything about my life feels perfect. I’ve never had a season like this before. And I find myself feeling guilty.

Certainly, it’s not fair for my life to be this abundantly rich. No, not when there is so much suffering around me. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep looking for the “but..”

The interesting thing is, my life is not perfect. I’ve been managing chronic back pain. I am an entire ocean away from friends and family. I am still navigating how to live with infertility. I have heavy things on my shoulders, yet the load feels anything but.

I wasn’t always this way. Infact, I used to wear suffering as a badge of honor. I’ve only recently learned how to let go of past pain. I thought having present pain or drama was the unifier of all humanity. I believed if I wasn’t operating from pain, I wasn’t actually alive. But the thing about pain is, you can be fully awake to it, without being led by it.

I want to spend the energy of my life being led by my spirit, not my wounds. Since my spirit is made for joy, joy is where I begin.

I recently stumbled upon a quote that stopped me dead in my tracks: the grass is greener wherever you water it.

Boom. Joy grows when we take time to cultivate it. It takes practice to invite joy in daily. But eventually, the soul makes space for it to stay.

Here are a few rhythms that help me operate from joy and not pain:

1 // I keep a gratitude journal. I write down everything from the blue sky, to profound spiritual moments of clarity. I pen it all down in a notebook. Sometimes I can only think of two things, other days I write down 20. When I hit 1000, I start a new notebook. It takes me a year to get there, and it’s usually right around Thanksgiving that I begin a new one. This rhythm allows me to practice receiving joy in every single thing.

2 // My mornings are sacred. This is easy for me, because I work from home. But I don’t do anything until I’ve spent time in the word and on my mat. Carving out time to center myself, no matter what time of day, is key to staying grounded.

3 // Spirit walk. On my day off, I take a walk through the more park-like setting of our town. I get out in nature. My phone is on do not disturb, and I listen to a meditation podcast or worship music. I intentionally keep my mind present. I don’t run through my mental to-do list or rehash a conversation. It’s my time to connect with Holy Spirit, through presence and nature.

Now, I see the world with fresh expectancy every morning. The simplicity of flowers blooming, and the gift of steady breath, each thing becomes a love letter written just for me. My soul collects each letter, and I keep them close to my heart.

When the world around you looks like a letter of love, joy can abound.

My well of joy runs deep and steady, regardless of present suffering. I transcend the pain, because I know in the marrow of my bones, it’s only temporary. I transcend pain, not because I have silenced it. I transcend it, because I have sat with it, listened to it, and allowed myself to grow from it.

Pain is the seed of the tree, not the leaves that grow.

transcend well,
Sarah Kay