Do you ever start your day full of joy and ready to take on the world, only to find that, as the day goes on, your joy has slowly slipped away?
Several years ago, I read the book Be Joyful by Warren Wiersbe. In the first chapter, he details four things that steal our joy.
1. Circumstances. Last weekend, I had several activities planned. When my older daughter got sick on Friday night, those plans went out the window. This happens often in our daily lives; we face an unpleasant situation and allow our joy to be snuffed out by the undesirable circumstances that surround us. If we can remember to trust God and submit to His ultimate control of every situation, we can hold on to our joy.
2. People. Hopefully, few – if any- people would intentionally steal our joy, but perhaps a thoughtless comment or even a bad attitude from a family member, friend, or neighbor drains the joy from our hearts. There are times when we are forced to deal with someone who’s unpleasant or who reacts negatively to us. Often our response in the moment determines whether or not they can take away our joy. In these situations, we need the fruit of the Spirit to help us respond sweetly and patiently.
3. Things. Plain-old covetousness can be a reason for our lack of joy. Whether it’s other people’s possessions, families, position, (or even their blog!), desiring what someone else has makes us unhappy and joyless. Learning to be content, no matter our state, can cause our joy to remain.
4. Worry. This one came into play over the weekend as well. Monitoring my daughter’s high temperature throughout Friday night caused me to worry. When she didn’t bounce back from her illness as quickly as I thought she should, more worry began to push away my joy. Even though I attempt to “cast all my care upon Him,” I still seem to think worry is part of my duty. Often, if I will live in today instead of in the future, I can focus on maintaining joy.
It would be lovely to say that since I recognize these joy-stealers, I am able to stand against them and continually live in joy. I’m afraid that’s not the case. Yet as I continue to grow in Christ, I trust that through His strength and by meditating on His Word, I can recognize and battle these joy-stealers when they attempt to enter my life.
Do you sometimes struggle with one of these joy-stealers?
The original version of this post was published on 2/24/10.