Restoring Our Joy
A recent conversation with a friend made me pause and deflate the balloons I had eagerly pumped up for my self-pity party. Once again I found myself trapped in a swirl of emotions that had led me down the deep, dark path of self-focus and self-pity. What had happened? I had been running with perseverance the race marked out before me, satisfied with what God had called me to do, and yet, I suddenly found myself unbalanced, hindered, and entangled in a joyless state of confusion. Something was amiss. And then I realised that I had lost my joy, and boy was I mad at the enemy for sneaking in and robbing, pilfering, and taking my joy right from under my nose! But the worst part was I had allowed him to.
So, if you feel like throwing a self-pity party today because you’ve lost your joy, then put down that balloon inflater and read on…
Proverbs 4:23 says, ‘So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being for from there flows the wellspring of life.’ However, we don’t do we because we find we have to keep restoring our joy over and over again. Why is that? Well, we neglect, we don’t defend, and we never scrutinise, or pay attention to the deepest part of our souls until we start to lose our comfort and delight because we’ve forgotten to guard and take care of our hearts. The absence of your joy is possibly one of the first red flags to look out for that signals those nasty little critters called doubt, uncertainty, and hesitation have indeed invaded and burrowed into your mind until your joy becomes misplaced and adrift.
So, how do we restore our joy? How do we tap into that wellspring of life?
If we read a little further on in Proverbs 4 we find the answer to our dilemma. Proverbs 4:25-27 says, ‘Set your gaze on the path before you. With fixed purpose, looking straight ahead, ignore life’s distractions. Watch where you’re going! Stick to the path of truth, and the road will be safe and smooth before you. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment or take the detour that leads to darkness.’
Simple, right? And yet we don’t let scriptures like this invade and burrow into our souls like those nasty little critters called doubt, uncertainty and hesitation, as they find their way deep into our hearts, devouring our joy one chomp at a time. We’re still having to battle for the recovery of our joy constantly. However, there is hope because we need to work smarter, not harder. The trouble is we make things so complicated that it’s no wonder we give our joy over to the enemy on a silver platter. But the answer is simple, and if we fix our purpose, ignore life’s distractions, and take a thick, black sharpie and write Proverbs 4:25 -27 right across our wayward hearts, then there would be no way we’d have to keep restoring our joy because we’d never lose our joy in the first place regardless of what life throws at us.
So, if you feel a little flat today, a little joyless and unmotivated, here are three secrets that your enemy doesn’t know about to help restore your joy.
1. Keep looking ahead
Hebrews 12:2 says, ‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.’ Jesus knew to focus on the joy set before Him because joy would give Him the strength to endure the cross. When we’re facing trials, this is where the enemy will get you to fix your eyes on your problems rather than Jesus. We need to set our gaze on the path God has for us with a fixed purpose and keep looking straight ahead. A big joy robber is to compare, measure and analyse what everyone else is doing in their life and it is these distractions that rob us of our joy. Watch where you’re going! As Proverbs 4 reminds us, we’ll find the restoration of our joy because we keep looking ahead and ignoring all distractions.
2. Stick to the path of truth
Restoring our joy requires sticking to the path of truth. The truth road is safe and smooth; however, it is very narrow and it can become a little tricky to navigate with so much bombardment of everyone’s opinions. We need to listen out for the still, small voice of truth that doesn’t holler and shout at us but helps us to set our tone, our language and our course that keeps us on the path of truth. David writes in Psalm 51:12, ‘Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.’ When were aware of our sin we come back into God’s presence, just as David did, and ask Him to give us a willing spirit that helps sustain us along the path and then we will feel our joy restored.
3. Don’t get sidetracked.
‘Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment or take the detour that leads to darkness’ When we get sidetracked our joy becomes lost. James points out, ‘He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind’ and I don’t know about you, but when doubts flood into my heart about where God is taking me along the path, I feel like my emotions are in a tumble dryer as I’m tossed about by the wind of doubt and uncertainty. The enemy knows this detour will steal your joy and lead you to darkness because he knows when we have no joy we don’t rejoice, we don’t sing and we choose not to worship God. The prophet, Zephaniah reminds us that, ‘The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you, like a new husband.’ God is so for you and He loves to sing over you joyfully.
So, there we have it.
Restoring our joy is as simple as 1.2.3, right?! Something you should definitely be worth celebrating…
I think it’s time to throw a different kind of party!
Where have you found you need to restore your joy because the enemy has robbed you of it?
I pray today that we will fix our eyes on You, Jesus and we will remember that the joy set before You helped You to endure the difficult path of the cross. And that joy, I believe, was knowing every person who chooses to accept Your sacrifice would lead them into a relationship with You. Thank You that we are Your joy and You joyfully sing over us!