Last Friday at MOMStogether we talked about Joy! What a great way to start the year and be encouraged in the Lord.
Be joyful always. Pray continuously. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
These verses have always been encouraging to me and they were the basis of our discussion. As our speaker pointed out we are commanded to be joyful ALWAYS. But how do we do that? By praying continuously and giving thanks in all circumstances. It is an attitude of the heart.
The catch? We must have Jesus to have joy! If you have been in the Christian seen for awhile you have likely heard the acronym Jesus Others You to represent joy and this was reiterated in our discussion. To punctuate this point our speaker told us that without the J all you have is Oy, which is a Yiddish expression that means "whoa is me"! How appropriate is that? Because it is so true, without Jesus, whoa to us! We must have Jesus to have joy! The J is necessary.
How does Joy compare to happiness? In discussing with our small group we realized it depends on your understanding of the words, but for the purpose of the talk Joy is everlasting and based on Jesus. Happiness is temporary and based on circumstances. Another way to look at it is joy is the foundation and happiness is an expression of joy.
What gets in the way of joy?
Bad choices, Busyness and Bad days are a few examples. I am quite sure you can think of more.
Bad choices are fairly self explanatory. When we made bad decisions we are straying from the Lord and it will diminish our joy.
With busyness we need to evaluate our time. Pray about what you put in your schedule. If your day is filling up and there is no "J" there is a problem! Where does Jesus fit in your day? I was also encouraged by being reminded of allowing a little "Y" time. Even if it is just 15 minutes to journal, read, paint your nails or something else you enjoy, it can seriously help. I am learning this.
As for bad days, Jesus told us these would come. Many times these are not up to us. Things happen that we cannot control. When we have bad days it is ok to cry and feel emotions. It is how we respond to these days that is telling. Remember that pain is evident, misery is optional.
How do we protect and project joy in our homes?
Put on the armor of God: Ephesians 6:11-18
The armor of God calls us to stand strong in the Word and defend, not retreat. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that, which fills us when we pray, read the Word and seeks God's face.
Renew your mind: Romans 12:2
When we become a child of God we are given a new mind. Again we need to pray and read the Bible to renew our minds so that they are like Christ.
We also protect ourselves by not comparing and following God's plan for our lives. We are not somebody else. We are who God has made us; a unique individual made in His image. Therefore, our lives will not be the same as someone else.
Ask God what is not honoring Him in your home.
We each have a unique opportunity to cultivate joy in our homes! Ask God how you can do that today.
I hope that I will project and cultivate joy in my heart and in my home. How about you? What's keeping you from experiencing God's joy? How can you project joy in your life and home?