My Version of JOY (Jesus, Oneself, You)

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“Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It’s sanity.” Katrina Mayer, author of The Mustard Seed Way

I’ve attended church most of my life, so there’s no telling how many times I’ve heard and repeated the acronym for JOY.

J    Jesus
O   Others
Y   Yourself

After lying in bed with depression, though, I had to decide whether to value my life enough to stay in it or stay on the bottom of what I’d been told about JOY and die.

When I considered the latter, I’d close my eyes and see my children’s faces. I wanted to dance at their weddings and hold my future grandchildren. However, choosing to live meant putting myself ahead of them (and everyone else) for the first time ever. I didn’t know if I could do it. Stories below tell a little about fumbling my way to a new version of JOY.

J    Jesus
O  Oneself
Y   You

A friend didn’t agree with my version of JOY when I said “no” after she asked if I’d volunteer on Wednesday evenings at church. My voice shook when I explained that raising kids, working full-time, and teaching Sunday school were all I could handle in a semester. She said, “If everyone felt like you, we wouldn’t have a youth program.” I said, “If everyone felt like me, we shouldn’t have a youth program.”

Wait. Don’t click off just yet. My version isn’t as un-Christian as it sounds.

A friend didn’t like my version of JOY when I wouldn’t continue taking her calls at seven in the morning so she could talk about her husband’s anger. Next, the calls were about her 13-year-old son who didn’t want to be left alone because he was afraid he’d hurt himself. I begged her to get help. My husband begged me to stop listening to her. After a year, I said, “If you don’t get help outside of me, I’m not listening to you talk anymore about your husband or your son.” She said, “If you can’t be the kind of friend I need, there’s no need to be friends.” I cried when I got off the phone, but I stuck with my decision.

Here’s one more story before I share what convinced me that it wasn’t selfish like I thought to bump myself up a rung so I could experience joy.

A friend didn’t agree with my version of JOY when she found out I was estranged from my parents. My friend hadn’t made the connection until my dad’s visitation that my mom was the owner of a local clothing store where she shopped. She confronted me after the funeral, “Your mom has always been good to me. Why don’t you get along with her?” In the middle of answering questions like I was on trial, I realized I didn’t owe her an explanation. I tried to sound poised instead of panicky when I ended our conversation, “A lot happened and I can’t really explain it, so I’m getting off the phone.”

I’m sorry for the times I’ve treated people in these same ways – expecting them to DO what I wanted them to do, BE who I wanted them to be, and ACT like I wanted them to act.

a face by christy copy

The transformation to JOY (the one where I wasn’t on the bottom) happened when I met Betty. She reminded me over and over, “Do what’s best for you and it will be best for everyone.”

As self-absorbed as that sounded, everything I knew about her, everything she did for others, and the way she treated me was anything but selfish. She listened to me ramble on about my issues. She suggested I get help and she went with me. She saved my life and my marriage and probably my kids’ lives when they did dumb things. Instead of screaming and threatening them, I called her and we’d laugh for an hour. I believed in her and her loving God until she pushed me to find my own and trust Him.

I couldn’t consistently follow Betty’s advice to “Do what’s best for you” because it was uncomfortable to do and others didn’t always like it (imagine that), but when I followed through, it worked. Instead of feeling depleted and hopeless, I felt uplifted and more willing to do for others than I had in years.

As far as “… and it will be best for everyone” – the analogy of putting the oxygen mask (in a plane) on yourself first before trying to help those around you is the best example of what Betty advocated. We can’t help others when we’re dying.

Is it hard to do what’s best for you? Do you even know what that looks like anymore? Do you need a new version of JOY? Let’s explore together ways to do what is best for us so we can do what’s best for everyone.

In Joy,
Kim

On the side: In the next post, we’ll talk about why self-care is best for everyone. We’ll also talk about untangling it from selfishness.

Thank you for your fun artwork and creative photography, Christy Young. Most of all, thanks for your friendship. That’s one fine looking mango!

Thanks for permission to use your artwork, Kelly Rae Roberts. This one is truly JOY filled. Click on Kelly Rae’s name above to see more.

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22 responses »

  1. Perfect. I am stronger than before I read this blog and before our lunch conversation last week. I will follow your version for JOY. Thank you for being strong enough to share so that others can use your strength.

    • Awww, Peggy. I really needed your speedy comment. These sorts of posts are hard to put out there for this Christian, people-pleasing good girl who wants everyone to think I’m okay. Of course, that attitude almost killed me, so I don’t have much of a choice these days if I want to keep enjoying our lunches.

      You keep standing strong. I sure appreciate our friendship. I love you! ❤

    • Awww, I love that you’re reading. Thanks for your comment. You don’t push back nearly as much now that you have a little pusher-backer. LoL. I love you so much! ❤ (All teary about your kind words.)

  2. Kim, you are one of the people who gives me perspective on my own life. You manage to always look and seem JOYfill (whether you are or not at that moment) and i appreciate that.
    I was looking at facebook, thinking how I have to get off it until at least 2017 but I hope to have work to “sell” on it so I can’t, and then I came across your post and my whole mood changed.
    Thanks for putting a bit of joy into my dark and cold morning!

    • Pia, every time I read your writing, I know why it’s so popular. You’re funny even when you don’t mean to be. Like in this comment, “…I have to get off it until at least 2017.” That made me laugh because I think those same things, but I don’t think about writing them down.

      I appreciate you saying I look and seem JOYfill. When I was depressed, I’d look in the mirror and there’d be dark circles under my eyes, I slumped, and my skin looked gray. I wasn’t even sure who I was, but I remember looking and feeling very dark. I even dressed in dark, frumpy clothes. I felt safer that way.

      It’s nice to now feel (and hear from you) that I’m coming out on the other side of depression. I’m better off because of it and I think my writing is also. Still a bit fragile some days, but better off, for sure.

      Let’s do that thing where you drag me, then I’ll drag you until we both have published books, okay? You go first. 🙂

      Happy to hear my blog post JOY-ed up your day! ❤

  3. From Facebook ~

    Perry Tesh and 3 others like this.

    Jeanie Johnson Words of Wisdom from S Kim Henson.

    Kim Henson Thanks so much for sharing, Jeanie Johnson. I love you!
    Like · Reply · 1 · February 11 at 10:52pm

    Jeanie Johnson Kim Henson, I love you too!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 4 hrs

  4. From Facebook ~

    Thank you, Kim Henson, for this and your friendship.

    Kim Henson Awww, thanks, Jenine Marie Howry. I’m not sure I’d have the courage to write this sort of thing if not for our friendship and friendly conversations. heart emoticon I can’t write this stuff alone. Thank you, love you, want to be you! Oh, wait, I am. wink emoticon
    Like · Reply · 11 hrs

    Jenine Marie Howry Trust me Kim Henson, you do NOT want to be me! LOLOL
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 9 hrs

    Jenine Marie Howry Although we are clones,
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 9 hrs

    Kim Henson Jenine Marie Howry, I am you. grin emoticon grin emoticon Here we are. LoL.
    Like · Reply · 1 hr

    Jenine Marie Howry hahaaaa!! Two peas in a pod
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 1 hr

    Kim Henson That’s us.
    Like · Reply · 37 mins

  5. Kim

    Jesus others and you” or Jesus you and others”. Does the order of you and others really matter? As long as you keep Jesus number one, all will fall into place. We live a sequential life so that sometimes we need to put ourselves first and at other times we must put others ahead of our self Without Jesus there is OY or YO neither of which makes any sense.

    Bob

  6. From Facebook ~

    Debbie Morris, Jackie Waters Miles, Alice Loftin Long and 7 others like this.

    Jackie Waters Miles So true. Thanks for sharing. I feel the same.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 23 hrs

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Jackie Waters Miles. I’ve missed seeing you since I haven’t been to CPW. Are you still attending? I heard they’re moving back to Magnolia’s. Yes?
    Like · Reply · 23 hrs

    Jackie Waters Miles In Fla last wk. missed meeting. Will check.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs

    Kim Henson Jackie Waters Miles, I’ll let you know if I hear anything else.
    Like · Reply · 22 hrs · Edited

  7. From Facebook ~

    Chandler N Briannae and Kelly Lawson like this.

    Kim Henson Thanks, Katrina D Owen. I think you’ve helped bring in a group of readers that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I sure appreciate it. Happy weekend!
    Like · Reply · Yesterday at 12:05pm

  8. From Facebook ~

    Natalie Rakoci I really like this a lot! This isn’t your typical love yourself first …. article. This is good stuff. Keeping that circle tight so you can keep those boundaries and truly be who and do what is best for you IS sometimes uncomfortable… the good news is that saying No becomes easier and easier… and we get healthier and we really, really truly do find JOY!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs

    Kim Henson Yes, yes, yes, Natalie Rakoci. That’s what i was trying to say. Thanks for getting it. That’s it … saying No to others sometimes means we’re saying Yes to ourselves = healing and health and humility and then we CAN give back. Love you!
    Like · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs

    Natalie Rakoci Love you!!! Your blog, your sharing of art and photos! And yes, Mr. Mango rocks too!
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · 21 hrs

    Kim Henson Natalie Rakoci, Mr. Mango was ALL Christy! He should be the video for the lunch group.
    Like · Reply · Just now

  9. From Facebook ~

    Jo Ann Sarti, Lise McCann Falcone, Holly Willwerth and 12 others like this.

    2 shares

    Summer Turner I use the cup & saucer image (which applies to preventing burnout): We need to fill our cup (nurture ourselves). We need what’s in our cup. What overflows into the saucer is what we can give to others. When we start giving from our cup, we get depleted and aren’t much good to others.
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · February 11 at 11:22pm

    S. Kim Henson Summer Turner, this is my third time here to comment because I keep getting distracted. I think i need meds. wink emoticon I love the cup and saucer analogy – it’s a special one for me. John’s mom used to collect sets and I got them when she died because John had bought most of them for her. heart emoticon I’ll think of your story when I’m running on empty and considering giving away my last drop.
    Like · Reply · 1 · February 12 at 1:16pm

    S. Kim Henson I ran across this tonight, Summer Turner. It made me think of your cup and saucer.
    S. Kim Henson’s photo.
    Like · Reply · 1 · February 13 at 12:08am

    Summer Turner Perfect! smile emoticon
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · February 13 at 12:09am

    Jenine Marie Howry I love this, it is awesome! And I love you my friend heart emoticon
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · February 12 at 12:53pm

    S. Kim Henson Thank you, Jenine Marie Howry! Left you a comment on my other page, but I’ll just say here … couldn’t have done it without you. I mean that! Love you lots! heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 1 · February 12 at 1:17pm

    Jenine Marie Howry heart emoticon
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · February 12 at 3:13pm

    Christy Young Another fantastic piece Kim.
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · February 13 at 8:28am

    S. Kim Henson Mango Man made it fantastic, Christy Young. Thank you!
    Like · Reply · 1 · February 13 at 12:34pm · Edited

    Christy Young Mango Man, lol. You are adorable!
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · February 13 at 4:15pm

    S. Kim Henson One more, Summer Turner. A friend just sent this. Fits much better than the one I shared. wink emoticon

    S. Kim Henson’s photo.
    Like · Reply · 1 · February 13 at 3:13pm

    Summer Turner Yes, and I go further by saying give from the overflow in the saucer. We need to keep our cup filled.
    Unlike · Reply · Message · 1 · February 13 at 4:35pm

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