Everything seems as though it’s going exactly according to plan. You’re living the life you’ve always dreamed of: married, with a few kids, and a pretty house. Everybody is healthy and happy, except for one thing: you can’t shake this grumpy, irritable attitude. Have you been there, friends? I have, and it’s not fun…for you or your family who has to deal with you!
Two years ago, our adoption was final and our life was adjusting to it’s new normal as a family of five. Looking back now, I think I was experiencing some post adoption stress. I should have been feeling relief that our long adoption journey was over, and that our family was together again, but all I could feel was a short stack of joy, and a tall stack of stress, irritability, and sadness.
I remember the day I realized something inside of me was wrong. We were in the mountains at a beautiful cabin, just the five of us. I should have been all smiles and happy and joyful, but I started barking orders for my kids to get ready for bed.
My husband looked and me and said, “What’s wrong with you?”
And I honestly couldn’t answer him.
I reached out and got the help I needed with the kids. Then, with a while to sit and reflect in prayer I realized how I’d lost my joy:
I’d taken my focus off of Jesus.
The season before, during our adoption, I depended on Jesus every single day to move mountains and make miracles happen. I lived in Africa for two months by myself.
But now that life was back to usual, I was having trouble keeping my eyes fixed on him for the “everyday.”
Can you relate? Do you ever find yourself running low on joy? The kind of joy I’m talking about is the kind that the Holy Spirit grows in us, defined as: cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness.
This kind of joy that staying connected to Jesus brings is not situational. It is a deep, abiding hope that brings cheerfulness in the everyday mundane, a calm delight in stressful situations, and a gladness of eternal good to come in the midst of dark sorrow.
Where joy is not humanly possible, is where we experience Jesus’ joy.
“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” ~Jesus, John 15:11
What are “these things” that Jesus says will fill us with His Joy?
1. Realize how greatly loved you are by Him.
“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.” Ephesians 3:19
2. Keep His commandments, which simplified are to love Him and love others.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39
3. Abide, or remain in His Love.
This is how the fruit of Joy is produced by Him. We remain in Him and His Spirit brings joy to our hearts; joy of what is to come because we belong to Him.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22
Have you taken your eyes off of Him friend? Are you lacking the JOY only abiding in Him can bring? Refocus on Him and his joy will be your joy once again, no matter what situation you are facing.
He pulled me out of my joyless slump and He will be faithful to pull you out of yours, too.
*This is the second post in a 9 week series on the fruit of the Spirit. I pray it encourages you, sweet friend!