“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice.”
God intends for His children to be joyful!
I don’t think any of us would deny that truth. It’s the second aspect of the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22. And Romans 14:17 tells us that joy in the Holy Spirit is a foundational partof God’s will for His people.
But it also seems to me that joy is an aspect of life that has been touched by the curse of sin. Because all too often, joy is not our natural state; like warriors, we must constantly be on the lookout for the enemies of our joy, acting vigilantly to protect it, fighting off the adversaries at every turn.
What are those enemies, anyway? In my roles as wife, mom, foster mom, homeschooler, and homemaker, here are my most common joy-stealers:
Having my eyes on another’s abilities or home or family or income or priorities is a surefire way to breed discouragement.
We’ve never been more aware of what perfection looks like. All it takes is five seconds on Pinterest, five minutes in Pier 1, or five pages of that catalog that comes in my mailbox.
Is “overwhelm” a noun? If it’s not, it should be! There are countless facets to the roles God has given us, and we are only human, after all – faulty and flawed, the whole lot of us. How can we possibly do it all?
I tend to think the other four joy thieves join forces to create this lie: “What’s the point? There’s so much to do, and the result I achieve won’t compare to Mrs. Homey Holly or Mrs. Perfect Polly, so why bother?”
So how do we fight off the joy-stealers?
1.Refuse to compare. One of the lies we tend to believe is that we can’t help what we think. Nothing could be further from the truth!The Bible tells us what types of things we should think about (Philippians 4:8) – since comparison doesn’t line up with God’s standard, we need to redirect those thoughts toward what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
2.Refocus your perspective. We would do well to remember an old chorus: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” The more time we spend in the presence of the One who called us in the first place, the more joy we’ll have in that calling.
3.Realign your priorities. Once you’ve refocused your perspective, you may discover that your priorities need to be adjusted. Misplaced priorities can be the root cause of distractions and overwhelm. Consider what non-essentials are receiving too much of your time and attention, and then make the necessary changes.
4.Renew your inspiration and restock your resources. It’s so helpful to have the mentorship and wisdom of other women. I’ve gleaned so much from my interactions with my mom and from other personal relationships.
I’ve also found Christian books and studies to be helpful – no, more than helpful! I’ve found them to be essential in my efforts to hang onto my joy. A good author who is both godly and relatable can come alongside us and mentor us as we walk with Christ.
Arabah Joy is one such author, and her resource Grace Goals been a powerful tool in helping me to establish BIG goals that are based on God’s desires for me (instead of the joy-stealers of comparison or perfectionism). Grace Goals walks you step by step through a grace-saturated, gospel-centered process of creating goals and conquering them by the power of the Holy Spirit.