Do you find yourself with a look on your face like you’ve been sucking on lemons all day? Do you hear yourself say really positive things, but in an almost Eeyore-like voice? I find myself here sometimes. How do we break out of the doldrums and embrace the joy that God provides in our lives?
Here’s the good news. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit working in your life. So, as God works in you, joy is cultivated. There are things that can hinder that growth and, like a good gardener, we must weed out these things that suffocate our joy. Here are 3 weeds we can get rid of today:
When we compare ourselves to others, we have already lost. When we think of ourselves as better than others, pride creeps in. When we think of ourselves as less than, envy creeps in. Both are natural enemies of joy. Each person in unique to God and He has an individual plan for them. When we look into someone’s life from the outside, we don’t see all of the formative events that got them to this point and we don’t see the future that God has planned for them. So, it is impossible for us to make a comparison of our life to theirs. God is amazingly creative and He is doing something in your life that doesn’t fit into a formula.
Instead of comparing, we need to collaborate. We are not designed to live life in isolation. Culture tells us that true strength comes from within. The reality is that true strength come from dependence on God and in the context of community. In Philippians 2, Paul finds joy in his influence and connection to fellow believers. When we are isolated, only our success matters. When we are connected, we get to celebrate when others win. When we are isolated, our trouble is all-consuming. When we are connected, our troubles are divided and picked up by those who care about us.
The only position that provides joy is a position that faces God. When we turn inward and face ourselves, our issues take center stage and the spotlight prevents us from seeing what is going on around us. We are designed with eternity in mind so that our temporary successes do not produce the kind of long-term joy that we crave. As we position ourselves to face God, we begin to see things from His perspective. Troubles appear temporary. Our actions take on a whole new significance as God includes us in His plan to redeem mankind.
These three things can destroy the joy that is ready to grow in your life. Start with a vibrant time with God and expand out into meaningful relationships that are constructive to your faith.
Pull some weeds today, and watch joy bloom!