“Peace is joy at rest. Joy is peace on its feet.” - Anne Lamott
I’ve found myself over the course of the last several years praying more and more for joy. I want to be a joyful mom. I want to be a joyful wife and daughter. I want to be a woman who just exudes joy and contentment in every aspect of my life, is that so hard to ask?
Heck, I’ve even caught myself googling, “How to be a more joyful person?”! After all my searching and praying there is one profound truth that I have discovered and am trying with everything I am to remember when things seem overwhelming and anything but joyful. I am the only one who can choose a different thought.
I don’t know about you, but for me, my thoughts are where the enemy attacks the hardest. It’s where he comes to steal, kill, and destroy the most.
So my thoughts that consume me about wishing I was a more joyful person can be combated with the living and active Word of God that tells me I have everything I need and the abundant riches of Heaven through Jesus. See 2 Peter 1:3-11.
Joy is not something we manufacture on our own though. It flows from a heart that is Christ-centered. Joy is an ongoing state of mind and heart for the Christ-follower. It is present when life seems to be going great and when life is filled with lots of curve-balls and questions.
Every moment I am faced with a choice – a choice to serve Christ in all that I do, even in the seemingly mundane and monotonous tasks of motherhood. I can delight in his presence and serve Him with everything that I am OR I can choose to be discouraged and focus on the things in front of me that seem overwhelming and hopeless.
We read in James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” Scripture makes the case that joy is more than just a fleeting, momentary feeling we have when things are going well, it’s an ongoing heart posture.
I’ve also learned that just because I experience real and raw emotions and disappointment doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit isn’t living in me and that I’m not capable of being joyful.
Joy is a God-centered confidence. It is a hope whose focus is outside of us, that sustains us in the midst of trials and troubling times, and then prompts us to turn toward Christ.
Practical things we can do to have a joyful mindset
-Cut the Comparison. You are running your own race. You are the only one who can walk your own path. Don’t get distracted by how others are running their race. Remember that you have your own unique race and path that God has put before you.
Philippians 3:13-14 “ Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Do not get distracted by what others are doing.
-Root yourself in Scripture daily
-Fix our eyes on Christ instead of our circumstances
“Even in the daily soul-scrubbing tasks, in trials and suffering, and in times of wandering, joy can be ours through setting our gaze on Christ Jesus. As we follow him and obey his commands, we receive the abundant blessing of having his joy take residence in our hearts.” -Gretchen Saffles