“Daddy, why is mama always laughing?” my 5 year old daughter Ivanna asked her dad some weeks ago. I didn’t hear her asking this. My husband told me about it later on.
We were standing outside our apartment, coming from an outing when I realised I had left my phone in the car. I laughed as I made my way back to the car to take it.
I laughed because this is not the first time I’ve misplaced my phone. “Where’s my phone?” is a phrase I repeat probably on a daily basis (seems the pregnancy brain never went away).
I have a ‘Dora the fish from Finding Nemo’ kind of memory. I’m always misplacing things. So I laugh at myself because I refuse to let such things bother me. I laugh because I’m learning to cultivate joy in my life.
Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. “Galatians 5:22-23
However, our joy can be stolen. The devil is behind it as Jesus said in John 10:10. He is a thief and he doesn’t want us to enjoy the life God has given us.
In our daily lives, there’s things stealing this joy that we find in the Holy Spirit. We need to identify what those are to be able to tackle them head on and reclaim the joy that we’ve been promised in God’s word.
What is really stealing your joy?
1. Comparison trap
Hello, social media! Just like me I know you love scrolling on Facebook and Instagram to see what your friends and family are up to. And you like hanging out in Facebook groups to connect with like minded women and moms.
But oh man, can social media steal your joy.
When you feel like someone seems to be doing this adulting thing better than you- their kids seems disciplined, their house always seems clean and like it belongs in a Home magazine, their marriage is just #relationship goals it can certainly steal the joy from your own life!
What you need to remember is EVERYONE is sharing the highlights of their lives. So appreciate your life and family as it is. Someone is probably admiring your highlights as well.
2. Lack of gratefulness
When you’re not thankful for what you have- this will really steal your joy.
This is usually how life goes: the man without legs wishes he could walk, the one who can walk wishes he had a car, the man with a small car wishes he had a bigger one, the one who has a big car wishes he had a private jet and the one who has a private jet wishes he didn’t have a terminal illness.
The grass is not always greener on the other side. Practice an attitude of gratitude with what you do have and you will find yourself being more joy-filled.
3. Lack of Planning
The reason someone will achieve their goals while you’re frustrated with your life, sometimes just comes down to proper planning.
What are the goals, dreams and vision that you have for your life? What action steps can you take today to start walking towards them?
If you don’t have a plan for how to get to where you want to go and who you want to be in life- this will lead to not having joy in your life. So put a plan of action together.
4. Lack of Focus
Sometimes you do have the plan, or you set out time to do a task. But then you get distracted. You start scrolling social media for hours and before you know it, it’s 2am and time for bed.
Usually when you have something important to do, distractions will always come your way. Even good things can distract you and cause you not to focus on the task you’ve set out to complete. A call from a loved one, kids barging in the room or a surprise visit from a neighbour.
The problem is if you get behind on work or a project, this can leave you stressed and steal your joy. The key thing is to explain to those around you that it’s ‘focus time’for you and you can give them your full attention after you get work done.
As I write this, my Ivanna has been in an out of the room distracting me and I keep explaining to her that it’s work time for me. She finally got the message- the 3rd time around (but better late than never, right?).
Listen, I like to work in organised chaos so I get it. My work desk is not the most organised. My wardrobe organisation could be better.
But one thing l’ll tell you is when you have clutter going on, it causes you to be distracted and lack focus. There’s no joy in that situation. So getting your house and space organized will go a long way to reclaim the joy stolen from clutter.
6. You’re unable to say “No”
As a recovering people pleaser, l know this all too well.
Someone asks you to do something for them that you hadn’t planned for and you are too embarrassed to say no, so you’d rather start focusing on their agenda and not your plan. This can cause resentment and joy being stolen from your life.
One of the best answers that can help you is just saying ”Not right now“. Because the truth is sometime you genuinely want to help but you need to get your to-do-list done first and then help.
The reality is choosing joy is something that you need to work on daily. It’s not always easy but it’s a habit that can be built over time. This great article has 21 Free and Simple Ways to Choose Joy which will show you more practical ways to cultivate joy.
My Encouragement to you
A life of joy is one that we all desire to have. And God wants this for us too. But we need to be aware that the devil wants to steal our joy and ask God to help us reclaim it. The more time that we spend with the Holy Spirit, the more joy will be cultivated in our lives.
Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us joy through the Holy Spirit. Help me to identify the things stealing my joy today. Help me to develop the right habits to cultivate joy in my life today.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen