Joy is a choice, but not always an easy one! How can you choose joy when you feel unjoyful? Here's a few tips on how to choose joy!

A Prescription for Joy When You Feel Unjoyful

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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?

Joy is a choice, but not always an easy one! How can you choose joy when you feel unjoyful? Here's a few tips on how to choose joy!

 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.



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  1. Man! I caught myself journeying to my own kitchen and situations similar to yours, Tiffany. Many of us have been in the land less joyful. People really are more important. Beautiful encouragement to begin a Tuesday, Tiffany. Thanks for sharing your space, Alisa. Love you two gals!

    1. So glad I’m not the only one that goes kitchen crazy! 😉 Agreed, people are more important and kindness towards the ones we love stirs up heaps of joy. Thanks, sweet friend.

  2. “A whirlpool of feelings and thoughts”, what a great image Tiffany! As an emotional person , I realize that although my emotions are strength of mine, they can also become a debilitating weakness. Choosing joy takes effort, but like you said it is definitely the best option. I have begun to train myself to quote the fruit of the Spirit passage when I feel those emotions moving away from joy. Although, I have not perfected this, I am a work in progress, and the moments of frustration have become less volatile and destructive. I realize Satan is always on the attack, so I must stay on guard, especially when I’m tired, hungry, or alone especially. Thankfully God makes his armor available to us to keep us prepared. Thank you for reminding us to choose joy Tiffany. It is infectious not only for our own heart but for those around us as well. Have a fantastic week and may God continue to bless both you and Alisa in all your endeavors.

    1. Such a wonderful example of being intentional in our faith, Horace. When we can turn from emotion and toward truth, particularly toward those far reaching fruits, we have laid hold of such incredible power. You inspire me, Horace!!

  3. I too love order and a neat tidy home. As an empty nester, I can assure you that it will come all too soon and you will miss the chaos and mess. Not that I really had much of a mess with 3 boys in the house – I’m a rather tidy person! But, I did find myself agonizing over the crazy schedules and tidiness on some days. Now that it’s the two of us, our home is always tidy. But, I still have my memories of the precious times where the laundry basket was over flowing, there was always someone needed a ride somewhere, and the house was loud! Thank you for reminding me to choose joy today in my very quiet home!

    1. I remind myself of that often, Robin. Time is fleeting and I’d rather spend it savoring my family, not barking at them. Thank you for affirming that for me today.

  4. This post was like you were speaking directly to me. When I live with inner joy, life is just easier. Sometimes you just need a reminder like this to put you right back on track. Thank you loved it!

  5. Felt like you wrote this just for me today! I’m really working on that “just obey” part.

    1. I hear you, Sara. I know my flesh wants my way, but I’m so grateful for a God that is willing to speak into our lives through His Holy Spirit. There is a unique joy that comes simply in obeying Him.

  6. Great post! I know I often catch myself throwing my own pity parties over my messy house. I need to learn to choose joy in those moments, rather than throwing a pity party. Thank you for such a beautiful reminder! I also enjoyed the narrative in the beginning as well (I can totally relate) .

    1. Haha…yes, I think there are a few of us tidy ladies out in the world. 😉 I’m still learning too, Lara, and this life gives us plenty of chances to practice choosing joy, doesn’t it. Thanks for joining the conversation!

  7. Where were you on Sunday afternoon last when I needed this?! Great post. Speaking on Joy & Faith: Two Peas in a Pod for a retreat in Oct – will reference your good list.Thanks, Tiffany!

    1. Aww, sorry we were a few days late, but we’ll get another chance to choose joy, won’t we?! Love “two peas in a pod” and so glad you can share your wisdom and insight, Sue. I know you will bless!!

  8. Tiffany, you share some awesome wisdom today. Having a family is such a joy, but dissatisfaction sneaks in so easily! Because honestly? It is frustrating and annoying when we feel disrespected in our efforts. But I can say now, on the other side as my girls have moved out this year, I wish I’d spent less time working through these issues 🙂 So much better to catch ourselves and turn around quickly!

    1. I so agree with you, Christa! As my son starts high school this year, I find God reminding me that His presence in our home (even his mess) is something I need to savor. While I think we’ve trained him pretty well, I try to keep it all in perspective and create a space where he feels and appreciates the joy – so he’ll always want to come back to it! Bless your mama’s heart in this new season with your girls away from home.

  9. Giiiirrrrrlllll, I’m right there with you. I’m a single mom to a 10yo and 2yo and some days it’s a struggle to not hide all day long. Gotta remember that they don’t do it intentionally to drive me bonkers. lol

    1. Oy, Casey…you have your hands full! Yes, keep remembering that they love you and you are doing holy work, mama. I was raised by a single mom so prayers today that God blesses you with endurance, strength, and extra measures of grace. Don’t forget to give yourself grace too. Big hugs!

  10. This is beautiful and definitely speaks to my heart. Sometimes cleaning can feel so futile. We work so hard to re-establish order only to have it undone in moments. During those moments I try to remain in the present moment and to recognize when I need to step away and recollect myself. And yes, often times a mental pep talk is necessary.

    1. Present over perfect – that’s something that God reminds me of often, Audrey. I think remembering that and trying to practice it are half the battle. Catching ourselves and redirecting our thoughts and actions can be so powerful. Blessings to you.

  11. One of the best recipes I ever read! Currently trying to learn how to do this, and now thankful for the best tools to do it with! Remembering intentions is a BIG one for sure. My boys love their momma and that’s what matters most!

    1. We’re always learning, right?! I’m right there with you, Kristen. Boys and their moms have one of the sweetest bonds, so I agree – that is what matters most.

  12. I can really relate to this! Love your perspective… “Don’t they know how hard I work? & “Why won’t they clean up their own messes!”

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