I'm an artist.
When I took my first lesson in oil painting nearly a decade ago, my instructor told me that once I started painting I'd never look at anything the same way. And she was right.
When I look at the woods surrounding my family's home, I pay careful attention to the shadows on the trees. When I look at the colors of the sky, I am more aware of the gradation of dark to light blue. I even notice things like how light catches on dew drops in the grass.
I am aware of many little details that I overlooked before I began painting. The world has always felt like a more beautiful place since I first picked up my brush. However, none of my surroundings changed, only my perspective did.
Ann Voskamp, a popular Christian author and speaker, says, “Joy is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of perspective. You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see.”
A few years after I began to paint, I became chronically ill, homebound, and mostly bedridden. It's been a very rough six-and-a-half years of severe sickness, and it's been a struggle to stay joyful. But somehow, by God's grace, I have. Here are three keys that have allowed me to live joyfully despite my circumstances.