I don’t know about you, but the idea of finding joy keeps coming up in my life. How can you find joy in the midst of a worldwide crisis…much less in the middle of your daily life?
Back in December, I heard a great message about joy. I know God used this message because it’s been 5 months & I’m still meditating on joy in hard times.
Before I dive into finding joy, a side note: I have a FREE resource at the end to help you. For now, what are those 3 steps that give you & me true joy?
Step 1: Finding Joy in God’s Presence
In Your presence there is fullness of joy.Psalm 16:11
The only place to find true joy is in the presence of the Lord. This past week, I was reminded how hard it can be to be in God’s presence or find alone time with God. Why?
I babysat my 1-year-old granddaughter for a few days. It wasn’t all day long, just when Gentry had to go to work, about 4-5 hours each day. Although I was grateful she took a good nap so I could have quiet time to focus, I used that time to work. So, how could I be in the presence of God to receive His joy?
Actually, all day long.
I had to be intentional to talk & listen to God throughout the day. As I rocked her to sleep. As I fixed lunch. As I watched her play with toys.
To find alone time with God, you need to be creative when you have kids running around all day. You might consider leaving your Bible on the kitchen counter, open to a specific verse. Whenever you’re in the kitchen, read it and listen to God for 1 minute.
Last week, I took Landry on a morning walk each day, so I could talk to God. . . and listen to Him, as well. The listening to Him made a difference.
In fact, God showed me I needed to start sharing stories of His work in my life. He reminded me that we defeat the enemy by the blood of the Land the word of testimony. I need to tell others how God is changing me.
Yep…I got all of that on a 30-minute walk because I was intentional to spend time with HIM.
How can you live in His presence and receive joy? Try one of these.
- Open Bible on kitchen counter – Read that verse all day long. Listen to Him.
- Early morning – Before your kids get up. Have lots of caffeine ready!
- Showers – Don’t laugh, but I pray a lot in the shower. It’s one of the few places no one bothers me.
- Go to the park – Let your kids play. You talk & listen to God.
- Trade babysitting with your friend once a week
- Turn on praise music while you clean– Or, do this every afternoon for 15 minutes. If your kids are busy doing their job, you have time to worship.
- Go for a walk – With or without your kids, depending on their ages
Step 2: God’s Joy Gives Strength
Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.Nehemiah 8:10
As you live in the presence of God daily, you can have His joy. It’s in joy, God gives you strength. I’ve thought about the connection between these two verses. My joy comes from God and that joy gives me strength . . . strength to get through the day when it’s falling apart.
When you don’t have any more energy to deal with your kids.
When your husband’s bad habits are driving you crazy.
When you wonder if this homeschool thing is even worth it.
When you can’t take another moment of shelter-in.
It is JOY . . . joy from God’s presence, that makes us strong. If you’ve never thought about the connection between God’s presence, joy and strength, meditate on the two verses above this week.
Step 3: Strength Leads to Endurance
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-4
Who in the world says that? Count it joy when you’re in the middle of trials?
That seems crazy from my perspective, but my perspective isn’t always right. I need to shift to God’s perspective. He tells me to “consider my trials as a place for finding joy”. As I pull all of these verses together, I see that joy is the answer when I’m in the middle of a trial or struggling with homeschool.
When I choose joy, I choose to live in God’s presence, which gives me strength. That strength gives me endurance to persevere through my trial and to maturity. What trial or suffering are you walking in today?
- Fear of coronavirus attacking your family’s health
- Fear of losing your income since the economy is shut down
- Too many arguments with your husband, especially since you’re living together 24-7
- Homeschooling while your husband at home all day long is wearing on you
- Cooking, cleaning, laundry, schooling are too much right now
- Kids are picking on each other … All. Day. Long.
- Your teen, young adult child or husband is not interested in God, even rebelling against Him
- Parents or family members criticize your decision to homeschool
No matter what trials you are walking in, joy is the answer!
Finding Joy in My Real Life
Before I close, I want to share a story from last fall. This happened before I saw the connection between God’s presence, joy, strength, endurance.
Last fall, I walked in the worst depression I’ve experienced in awhile. The week of Thanksgiving, I did not want to get out of bed. What did I do?
Every morning, I asked God for joy. I turned to God!
I even said, “God, I’m turning to you. I want to choose joy. Where’s my joy?” This continued for over a week. (I know. Not that long, but it felt like an eternity to me.)
The week after Thanksgiving, I began to “feel joy”. I had peace and freedom from my depression. It was a peace only God could give me. The next few weeks were better as I found joy at Christmas, too. I still struggled with depression throughout the holiday season, but I kept choosing joy, by turning to God.
As I look back, I know God was faithful to give me joy & strength to get up each morning. I turned to Him every day, regardless of my feelings. I was even upset with God at times. But I turned to Him every day. I chose God’s presence, which eventually, gave me joy, strength and endurance.
To help you find joy, God’s joy, I have a free printable with these verses on it. Verses you can print, memorize & meditate upon. Just enter your name & email. We’ll zip it over to you.
I recommend putting these cards around your home so you see them all day long. You might start memorizing them with your children. The first two are super-short, so even preschoolers can hide God’s word in their hearts.
How do YOU find joy in your life? Leave a comment!