Life can be difficult at times. Often times, it is difficult to not allow the things in our lives from robbing us of our joy when life hurts, so much.
I remember a season in my life, when I was giving all I had to my husband and children. I was joyfully cooking from scratch, keeping my house clean and on a great routine and homeschooling our children. I felt great having such harmony in my home and yet, I was struggling to keeping my joy in my life because I was dealing with life hurts that were almost suffocating me from the inside.
My life hurts were all my mind could dwell on and with each replay of the hurtful memory, my joy was disappearing even more.
I wasn't depressed, but rather I was feeling 'empty' and ‘hollow' when the things that had made me feel so much joy were now just responsibilities that I did on autopilot. I remember realizing that if I didn't get control of my state of mind that not only would I get to the place of depression but I could lose the most amazing things in my family because I wasn't able to keep my joy when life hurts were all I allowed myself to think about each waking moment.
Keeping Your Joy When Life Hurts
- Find Out What the Scriptures Say About Joy – I knew that my help comes from the Lord (Ps. 121:1-2) and all I needed to do was seek Him. I spent weeks looking through scripture on the word ‘joy' and it was amazing to see that two words were always associated with joy… ‘shouting' and ‘singing'. Again and again, I was singing verses that said, “Shout for joy” and others that said, “Sing for joy”. I realized that these two actions were missing in my life when I was needing them the most.
- Create an Atmosphere for Joy – Now that I realized that these two things were necessary for me to finding my joy again in being a wife and mother, I was purposeful in creating an atmosphere where I could easily ‘shout' or ‘sing' for joy in my home, where it seemed that I was daily fighting for my joy or giving it up through my own thoughts. I purchased praise CDs and played them throughout the day, when I felt my mind working against me. I would sing along with them, while I did the laundry, cleaned, washed dishes, prepared meals or just sitting because I needed to just sing for joy. (Ps. 67:4)
- Renew Your Thinking – I began to realize that I was allowing my joy to be robbed because I was dwelling on the hurts of life and with each thought, I was pushing myself further into the place that was the hardest place to keep my joy. I quickly realized that I needed to renew my thinking and build a different habit in its place, which was singing but sometimes, that wasn't enough or convenient when I was out of my home and in a place where I didn't control the atmosphere. (Romans 12:2)
- Seek the Support of Family and Friends – When you know that there is a battle for your joy, you need others to be lifting you up in prayer and seeking God's help for you. I began sharing my battle for my joy with my family and friends, as well as what I was learning in my own devotional time. I knew that they would pray for me, which they did, but it also gave the ability for others who had experienced this to share their story and for those who were in their own battle to be encouraged and find hope. (James 5:16)
- Memorize Scriptures that will Help You – In addition to scriptures for joy, I began to memorize scripture that would encourage me and let me know that I will be victorious with Christ. (Ps. 3:3) Knowing what to think on when my mind wonders became easier with the help of scriptures. (Phil. 4:8)
- Find Reasons to Laugh – When I shared my struggle with my husband, he knew the importance of laughter. (Pro. 17:22) He would look for ways to get me laughing, deep laughing and often times it was AFV or Christian comedians. To this day, if I had stressful times, he is quick to look for ways to get me to laugh. A newer movie is a perfect thing for any mother struggling with finding joy in her life – Mom's Night Out is a wholesome movie for the whole family and will be sure to bring you tears and laughter.
I'm happy to share with you that after just a few weeks of working these steps into my life that I found that my joy was coming back. I continued these steps and was at the point that I was overflowing with joy in my life and what a breathe of fresh air it was to my hurting heart.
When I find that my life is drifting away from the joy that matters so much to me, I just work harder on these steps and it always helps me!
My friend, Sharla shares a great list of 5 Steps to Finding Joy in the Chaos that you may also find encouraging as you become purposeful in keeping your joy when life hurts.