I made my way downstairs after an interrupted night of sleep complete with tossing, turning, and far too many thoughts. Coffee and something with frosting were the only coherent mumblings running through my weary mind.
A few steps into the kitchen, which per my bedtime routine had been left tidied, revealed that my family had beat me to it. Crumbs littered the toaster, dishes were scattered around (but not in) the sink, and something sticky was spread on the countertop.
I groaned and took a hard left toward the couch. Certainly, it would be more inviting.
The blankets carefully tossed in corners just-so were now in jumbled heaps, smashed pillows joining them. It was the empty glass left on the coffee table that tipped me over the line I was riding.
A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 ESV
Joy isn’t my default. I’m about plans and order, details and the absence of chaos. So, when things get frayed and frazzled, when the lines get blurred and messy, I’m not looking for silver linings. I’m not laughing it off or making lemonade out of lemons either.
I’m the one on the couch having a little meltdown. Little is better than big, right?
Don’t they know how hard I work?
Do they understand what it takes to keep this house clean?
Why can’t everyone just pick up their own mess?
It doesn’t take long for the wayward thoughts and unraveling emotion to lay hold of our spirit and crush goodness. When that emotion meets entitlement, pride, and hints of selfishness, we’re on a downward spiral toward the opposite of what God would desire from His own.
Maybe you know what this feels like? Perhaps you’ve even felt the enemy use your tendencies and pet peeves to drive grace for yourself and others straight out of your line of sight, never mind your heart.
How do we choose joy when every opposite emotion has been triggered?
What do we do to press the reset button before everything has gone all wrong?
A Prescription for Joy when you feel Unjoyful
Remember the heart intentions.
My family didn’t wake up that morning and make a conscious decision to drive me nuts. They love and appreciate me, even if they don’t always say it. The truth is, my response had nothing to do with them and everything to do with my state of mind. If we can remember, that for the most part, our spouse, kids, family, friends, co-workers have a pure heart and good intentions, we can respond with grace, rather than fury.
Does the situation merit the reaction?
Sure, I love a tidy home, but I love the people that live in my home and the life we share more. They are not worth trading for clean counter tops…well, at least not today. If we can look at the little things in light of the big picture, it can cause a significant shift in perspective.
[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s true, joy is great medicine and sometimes we need to prescribe ourselves a dose…or four.” quote=”It’s true, joy is great medicine and sometimes we need to prescribe ourselves a dose…or four.”]
Pursue truth with intention.
When I’m weak and weary, I’m ripe for a pity party. It’s so much easier to wallow in how unappreciated I am, rather than fix my heart and mind on the truth. But emotions are great liars and so are hormones. Just saying. God’s truth is absolute and if we choose it over the whirlpool of feelings and thoughts, it will direct us back to a response that not only glorifies Him, but edifies the people we love. That’s a win-win.
If all else fails, simply obey.
This is when you preach to yourself in the kitchen about what is right and true. This is what happens when the Holy Spirit taps you on the shoulder and whispers, “Don’t even go there.” We obey the Father who loves us, even if we don’t agree with Him in the moment. Sure, we all have bad days that He covers with endless grace and abundant mercy, but don’t we really want to be women who not only hear, but receive and apply His instruction?
Joy allows us to respond to our circumstances with right perspective and even a grateful heart, rather than bitterness, frustration, and anger. No, it isn’t always easy to choose joy, but I think we can easily admit, it is the better choice.
I swept up those crumbs, filled the dishwasher and tidied the sofa. All was set right in my world in under ten minutes with far less effort and energy than that “little-ish” meltdown. I could have complained, punished, and crushed more spirits in my wake, but something beautiful happens when we choose joy. Others choose it too, and that’s a prescription I’m glad to share.
About the Author
Tiffany Parry is marveled by the endless grace and relentless love of her Savior in this life that can be so messy, too busy, and entirely imperfect. Her heart is to share God’s precious promises of grace and love with others and invite them into honest and authentic conversations about faith and life. Tiffany welcomes you to join the journey on her blog, Simply for One, or on Facebook and Instagram.