How do you remain in joy when it seems every time you turn around, the world is falling apart?
Christ tells us that his joy will be in us and that our joy will be complete. So why does joy seem so fleeting?
I love this definition from Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast:
“Joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”
I would add that joy isn’t something that happens to you, but flows through you.
Life is challenging enough with concerns for our children, aging, health, caring for loved ones, and juggling day-to-day demands. The pandemic turned our world upside down.
The outbreak of the war in Ukraine and the ripple effects from that conflict can’t help but crowd out joy.
The Problem is Our Hearts Can’t Hold Any More
I found this quote to be very insightful in understanding what we are feeling.
“We are asked today to feel compassionately for everyone in the world; to digest intellectually all the information spread out in public print; and to implement in action every ethical impulse aroused by our hearts and minds. The interrelatedness of the world links us constantly with more people than our hearts can hold. Or rather–for I believe the heart is infinite–modern communication loads us with more problems than the human frame can carry.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This was written in 1955 before CNN, the BBC, Facebook, Twitter, and all other digital media outlets. No wonder our hearts are heavy and we feel lacking instead of complete!
Getting back to what Jesus said about “my joy may be in you.” He made this statement after he was betrayed. He knew what was facing him, yet he still spoke of joy.
Here are Some Tips to Remain in Joy
Remember that joy is a fruit of the Spirit – along with love, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When you focus on these qualities within you instead of focusing on all the chaos happening outside of you, you can tap into joy.
Take an action step exercising one of these fruits of the Spirit. For example, be generous in helping someone.
Practice gentleness. Stop judging yourself for anything you didn’t do right and be gentle with yourself. Putting actions behind these fruits will ignite joy within you.
As a human being, you will experience the emotions of fear, anger, sadness, and joy. Feeling these emotions is part of the process of being alive.
But if fear, anger, or sadness take control over you, you must get to the root cause. These emotions can crowd out joy. Once you understand the cause, you can move through fear, anger, and sadness to joy. A great way to do that is through journaling.
Limit your exposure to news and social media. It’s important to be informed but not inundated to the point that causes fear and anxiety.
Give yourself permission to feel joy without guilt. Joy is what Christ wants for us.
If you enjoyed this post, you will enjoy the Four Steps to Flow along with an email sent out each Monday to encourage and inspire you to live life with joy and flow.