Guest Post by Gina of GinaMPoirier.com
“I just feel like I’ve lost my joy,” she told me one day over coffee and a few tears. “And as a Christian, I feel horrible about that.”
My friend was in the situation many of us find ourselves in: taking care of kids (or something else) and trying to keep our acts together while we’re exhausted, overwhelmed and downright cranky about all. And to top it all off, we feel guilty for not being more joyful.
I wish I could have told her the magic formula, something like prayer + Bible study = joy. And there have certainly been times when I have naively thought it should be that simple.
But in response I simply gave her a hug and maybe cried a little myself. Because in truth, life is hard. Joy isn’t always an automatic response just because you’re a Christian.
Yet on the other hand, the Bible does instruct us to rejoice always, in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I mean really, God? (He says yes, really.)
So how, exactly, do we have more joy, even when life is really, really tough?
I’ll try to handle this carefully, since I truly don’t think there’s a formula. But here are a few things I like to remember that help my own heart feel more joy when the circumstances bring anything but.
1. Look to Jesus
I don’t know about you, but a lot of times when I’m dealing with my not-so-joyful emotions I fall into a thought pattern that goes something like this: this is too hard, and nobody understands what I’m going through.
That’s one of the hardest things about pain and suffering: sometimes it does make you feel isolated. Proverbs 14:10 says, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” But the good news is that there is actually one person who does “get it.”
Hebrews 4:14–16 say that Jesus empathizes with our weaknesses and was tempted in every way we are. And as our friend he gets us and is there for us, and wants to show us the way through our pain (John 15:15).
So in other words, take your pain to Jesus. Pray to him; confess your weaknesses and ask for help. Study his life and his words, that it may increase your faith (Romans 10:17). Sing to him. Meditate on his promises.
Having said that, God is not a genie and doesn’t magically turn your emotions off and on whenever you ask. But I believe he’s the way I must turn when I’m hurting, if I want to heal.
2. Fill Your Mind with Truth
I’m fascinated with the human brain, and I’m even more fascinated by the fact that the Bible supports a lot of what modern psychology has discovered. In particular, we have the power to change the structure of our brains by redirecting our thoughts.
If you’re in the habit of negativity and toxic thinking, your thought patterns will continue down those well-trodden paths (you literally can get into “ruts.”) But if you are more conscious about what you’re putting your mind to, you will change the way you think.
Scripture supports this (Philippians 4:8, for starters), and Brittany has some great suggestions here: Want to Take Every Thought Captive? It’s Easier Than You Think!
I’ve found that copying Bible verses and memorizing them is a way to keep my mind focused on what is true. (Want some suggestions? Check out the printables I offer.)
Another way to fill your mind with truth is through habitual gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal is a scientifically supported, biblical way to rewire your brain for joy.
3. Reach Out for Help
When I think of some of the toughest times in my life, I don’t know how I would have gotten through without the support of the body of Christ. And few things make me smile more than thinking about those who have been there for me when I’ve needed them.
When a part of your physical body gets hurt, other parts of it provide healing by delivering the oxygen and immune support it needs. It’s the same way in the church (1 Corinthians 12:21–26). We need each other through good times and bad, to help us heal and grow through our trials and weaknesses.
I’m guilty of being extremely independent through my pain and struggles, as I think a lot of us are. We come to the church putting our best foot forward, when it should be the other way around.
I’m not saying you should go to worship service a weeping mess all the time, but I challenge you to be bold in your vulnerability. Meet with mentors and peers who can cry with you over coffee, watch your kids so you can rest, celebrate your victories and pray with you through your trials. And if you don’t have these people in your life, go find them. Pray for God to lead you to them.
4. Let the Holy Spirit Do His Work
It occurred to me recently as I was thinking about this that joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). Here’s the thing about fruit: it doesn’t appear magically. It takes time and cultivation.
Jesus is the vine, the Father is the Gardener and we are the branches that bear fruit through the work of the Holy Spirit (John 15:1–8). There have been times when I’ve been impatient and even felt guilty because the joy simply wasn’t there when I thought it should be.
But if joy is like fruit, then that means that it will take time to grow into maturity. It will be more plentiful in some seasons than others. And at times we need to be pruned in order to produce more.
We may not fully understand this process, but we don’t have to. All we have to do is stay in the vine (the steps listed above are some practical ways that help with this), and God will grow the fruit.
I don’t know what your circumstances are, but I do know what the Bible says about working through them. And I believe that given time, you’ll find the joy that God calls us all to.
Article Credit: equippinggodlywomen.com
Hello Dear Friends,
Here is an amazing offer via Creative Memories for FREE SCRAPBOOKING supplies!!!
The Creative Memories scrapbooking supplies are the best!!! This offer is unbelievable!!!
PLEASE take just a moment and read below!!!
If you are interested in becoming a Creative Memories Advisor, there is an amazing bonus for signing up right now as well!!! (See my website for this sign up offer.) This is the best time to sign up!! You can sign up as a hobbiest, as there are NO minimums!!! Many of us start out as hobbiest and then decide to make a business. Or you could start your own business…the decision is all yours!!!
On a personal note, Creative Memories home office and all the local Creative Memories advisors are the warmest most supportive friends…ever!!! I love my CM family and all the beautiful memories I am saving for my family!!! CM makes it all soooooo very easy!!! I complete beautiful pages in absolutely no time and I have a story to pass onto my children and one day my grandchildren!!
If you are interested in this great offer as a customer or a potential advisor, just contact me at: JosephinesDesigns.firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to help!!
Here is a link to my website as well: http://www.CreativeMemories.com/user/JosephinesDesigns.com
If you shop on my website and want to receive this wonderful offer..BE SURE to click on the Mystery Bag button to add to your cart!!! It’s amazing!!! Remember, there are 3 different bag with different sayings and many different colors of the albums. Both are the “luck of the draw” and you can see all the gorgeous papers included!! FUN!!!! None of us know which bag we will receive or what color album until we open our box when it’s delivered!! It’s like Christmas in July!!! Woo Hoo!!! 🙂 And you can place as many seperate orders for $150 in product to receive as many Mystery Bags as you like!!! (Until supplies run out.)
My first Mystery Bag comes in Friday and I am considering 2 more orders!!! 3 albums, 3 paper kits and 3 bags!!! Yeah!!! Love, love, LOVE my Creative memories!!! I will have one album for each of my children for Christmas!!!! Shhhhh don’t tell them!! 😉
Great big hugs and hoping this post helps you with you being able to save your family memories and saving money too!!
You can be the story teller of your family…for generations to come!!
Blessings and happy Scrapping,
PS…be sure to read all the way to the end of this post!! 🙂
My link to my website again… ; )
Hello Dear Friends,
If you would like some FREE Creative Memories scrapbooking contact me at: JosephinesDesigns.email@example.com Anyone can receive this FREE fantastic and beautiful bundle with a purchase of $150!!! The bundle is a $75 value!! WOW!!!
If you would like to become an Advisor and also receive the amazing sign on bonus, yes there is a sign on bonus too!! There are NO minimums and discounts on your scrapbooking supplies!! 🙂 YAY!!! Please contact me at: JosephinesDesigns.com
And you can go visit my website to take a peak at all the fantastic Creative Memories!!! 🙂
If we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
II Timothy 2:12 NKJV
Soldiers in the Roman army identified themselves with their generals by adding the suffix -ian at the end of the general’s name. Therefore, a Caesarian soldier would be a solider serving under Caesar. In Latin, the word ian means “the party of.” In the early church in Antioch, people began to call followers of Christ Christians, though the use of the name was likely said at first in the spirit of mockery. However, the name stuck and soon believers also began to call themselves Christians, happily adding the suffix to the end of Christ’s name to indicate that they were with Jesus. Early Christians joyfully sent a message to the world that they were followers of Christ, though the message cost many of them their lives. A believer’s life begins at the altar where we surrender our nothing for everything, and sometimes ends on another altar, where believers are forced to decide whether to sacrifice everything for nothing. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Joshua 24:15 KJV).
If you knew that openly announcing to the world that you are a Christian would cost you your job, your standing in the community, or your very life, would you call yourself a Christian?
Article Credit: Linda Kozar by way of Dayspring.com
Hello Dear Friends,
Such great encouragement this day!!
Hello Dear Friends,
I am over the moon excited with the newest collection just released by Creative Memories!!!
Growing up on the coast of South Texas, not a day goes by that I don’t think of the ocean and sea!! When I saw a sneak preview from the main office at our CropNConnect…I knew, it would be a must have in my next order!!
As I send you this peak in a video, I am holding in my hands this absolutely GORGEOUS album, papers and embellishments!! I cannot wait to make an album for my family.
I hope you enjoy this video!!
If you have any questions please email me: JosephinesDesigns.firstname.lastname@example.org
Or have yourself a peak in my 24/7 store: CreativeMemories.com/user/JosephinesDesigns.com
I will be working through my new album on my YouTube: JosephinesDesigns.com, so come on by and let’s create together!!
With no further adieu, enjoy!!!
Hello Dear Friends,
I am over the moon with this gorgeous paper kit!! I also love the stickers that match as well!!
I will be making cards and album pages using these darling pictures and stickers…it is just our thing!!! 😉 As some of you know, we have been eating a vegetarian diet for many years and are working to going vegan. This is just our thing!!! As well as My Sweet Husband LOVES gardening and working in his small orchard. He is never so proud as he is when he brings in he produce!! And we all love his gift to our family!!
Here’s a quick peek!!
If you have any questions feel free to email: JosephinesDesigns.email@example.com
And you can also visit my website 24/7: www.CreativeMemories.com/user/JosephinesDesigns.com
Mine is on it’s way!! YAY!!!! 🙂
Great big Summer Fruit and Veggie hugs,