How to have Joy {Fruits of the Spirit}

If I based my Joy solely on what I found in my facebook feed, I would be pretty hard pressed to have any Joy at all.  Not only is the news completely depressing but the way people treat one another is as well.  Everything from hating an entire religion to mass shootings to blame to bashing to spewing hate.  Facebook has it all. 

Just yesterday morning as I scrolled through I saw several posts that criticize things I do.  The elf on the shelf, how many gifts we buy, if we buy handmade or not, the kind of lights we have outside our house, the critical fodder goes on forever.   

If I based my Joy on how much those people approve of how I am doing things or what I am doing I would end up in a serious depression.  Everyone has an opinion these days and for some reason we find ourselves in a time and place where not only do they share their opinion but they are also RIGHT all of the time.

Honestly people, can manners just please make a comeback?  I pray that I can teach my children "If you can't say something nice or helpful, don't say anything at all". 

The good news however, is that we have the Good News!  We don't have to let people's junk determine our happiness or Joy or outlook on life because you know what is behind nearly every critical post?  A lack of self-confidence or jealousy or some form of hurt. 

I could easily be one of those people who criticize others.  For every post I see of someone with their charming mother I want to roll my eyes and say "Well congratulations to YOU for having the best mom ever!  Way to rub it in!".  But is that kind? Is that helpful? Does that come from a place of my hurt? No, no, yes!

Yes, posts of people with their wonderful moms hurt me but that is because of ME not them.  I'm jealous and hurt that I don't have that myself.  Think about this when you see someone being ugly and consider how to respond to them in turn.  There's probably a hurt person there somewhere.  

Joy comes from an entirely different source.  A source of purity and a place without baggage or dissapointment.  Our Joy comes from our salvation.  A salvation that is perfect in every way.  If we learn to draw from that we will never be disappointed.

There are, indeed, some practical ways to tap into that pure Joy!

Don't let others approval or disapproval determine your feelings! Do the right things at the right times, be gracious and forgiving of yourself and do not let anyone's approval form a minutia of happiness for you.  Do not be dependent on the approval or criticism of others for how you feel. This takes a lot of redirecting and work but you can do it! :)

Address your own sin! Be willing to look at yourself for areas you know you need to improve upon and change.  Do not become a slave to guilt! Address what needs to be addressed and move forward!

Change the scenery! If you find yourself in a rut...change the course.  Maybe that means a different circle of people or a new church, sometimes a lack of Joy means the need for a change!

Serve! Tending to the needs of others gets us out of the way! Serving one another in love is the shortest path to Joy you can find! In big ways or small serving others is a great way to fill your Joy tank!

Lower your expectations of others! This kind of goes along with not allowing others to determine your feelings but a little different.  Don't expect people to fill a void in you that only God can fill.  Let God fill it instead and you will never be disappointed.  People will disappoint you 100% of the time! Choose to have the perspective of people in your life being an opportunity to love, anything that happens above that....gravy! :)

Keep your eyes on Jesus!  Anything else is a distraction! Look to Jesus and only Jesus, refocusing as often as needed.  If we are finding our Joy is being stolen, it's usually because we are giving it away! Don't give it away!  Spread it out and share it but don't let others rob you of it!  

Change your perspective and you'll see Joy abounding! It takes time and dedication but I know you can do it! :)

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