Joy is tough. We talked about it here already, but joy isn’t necessarily happy. You can be happy and joyful, but you can also be joyful and not really that happy. Once it’s achieved though, there is no substitute. There is no substitute for feeling grief, but also God’s peace. Or righteous anger, but also God’s comfort. Counting those moments as joy is tough – but once you’re able to, you’ll begin to seek it over and over again. Sometimes that can just mean finding a tiny ounce of joy in the fact that God’s got you, even through anger and tears.
Satan implants little thieves, thieves that are uniquely picked for each of us, and nurtures them into dangerous, nasty things. Some of us are impacted by a few, and some are impacted by a lot, but either way we can all do things to combat them and protect ourselves. Let’s go over some common ones, all of which have made me weak at some point.
Comparison is the thief of joy, right? I think a lot of us have heard this phrase before. I know my mom said this to us constantly growing up. I shared my struggle with comparison in this post, but I’ve really struggled with this in my life and still do. It’s something that’s really tough to shake for me. The best way to combat this is first by affirming you you actually are vs. who you think you are or who satan says you are.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
1 Peter 2:9
A great way to really affirm God’s view of yourself is a little OCD trick I’ve done. I wrote down all of the negative things I called myself and wrote down what God said about each one. I would literally make myself read and reflect on these verses everyday until I actually believed it. The second part of that trick is to create an action plan. After reading scripture and seeking God’s view, what else can you do? I made goals to get better sleep because sleep really affects my mood (and probably yours too!). I also scheduled my time more responsibly, eliminating excess like too much Netflix or too much time with friends. And because I struggled with body image, I made fitness goals.
Affirmation from God’s perspective + an action plan = NOT TODAY, SATAN
I purposefully didn’t say “productive,” because I think there’s a big difference. To me, being productive is good thing, a great thing actually. Productive means you’re getting stuff done in an efficient and healthy way. Busyness is one step past that. It’s when you’re getting a ton of stuff done, and maybe efficiently, but not healthily. It’s great to be on top of it, crossing things off your list right and left, but when it gets to the point to where you’ve go negative energy level, it’s not productive anymore.
I definitely support drive, discipline, and even pushing yourself to the limit at times. The daily grind of having an impossible to do list, wearing yourself out, taking out your exhaustion on others isn’t what I support though. I make to-do lists every single day, but I don’t set myself up for failure and I’ve now learned to leave room for rest. When you’re maxing yourself out every single day, you’re going to pay in other ways – even if you crossed everything off your list. Remember, rest isn’t lazy, it’s obedience!
“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.”
I’m a feelings kind of girl. I have a copious amount of empathy which leads to one of my biggest flaws of being too sensitive. Basically I just care a lot – about a lot of things. So I have a really tough time with indifference. I think being indifferent slowly builds walls and slowly covers us from seeing things the way they were supposed to be seen. I look back on personal experiences and think, “If only I had cared enough to see it. If only I had stepped outside of my clouded perspective enough to really get it.”
“You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.”
As a whole, I think we’re a generation who likes to be apart of something bigger than ourselves. We like to care about things! I just think so often we care about the wrong things. I know I’ve spent a lot of my life caring about things that seem really, really important, but aren’t actually fruitful.
Choosing to care about what God cares about can be so powerful and provide so much joy. When you’re caring about righteous things, the enemy will have a much harder time to swoop in and beef it up than if you care a lot of about things that are just good.
There are definitely more things that can prevent us from experiencing true joy. If you’re struggling to find joy, pick one area that’s bringing you down and start there. If you simply ask for it, He’ll provide.
Have a great Monday, y’all!! Thanks so much for reading!
– Caitlin –