I’m on a quest to reclaim joy. I’m not talking about warm, fuzzy feelings that evaporate quickly but a deep-seated, deep-down in the soul holy contentment that stays rooted like a vine growing on the inside, no matter what you or I might face in 2018.

On the way, I may also literally reclaim myself. The Joy I used to be before life’s dark side squashed, reduced and confined the woman God always intended me to be and who I am gradually becoming by His grace.

In the sharing of my story, I hope to explore joy in its fullest, biblical sense and be able to offer you hope, encouragement and tips to unearth and reclaim the joy that is your God-given birthright too.

Together we can learn how to recover our sleeping joy, often hidden in plain sight. We can begin to reclaim our zest for life. It will start with an honest examination of the heart, a top 10 list of what steals my joy. You might recognise a few things here that bother you too…

  • Negativity
  • Comparison
  • Envy
  • Regret
  • Impatience
  • Anxiety
  • Worry
  • Discouragement
  • Resentment
  • Fear

It’s quite a list, isn’t it? And these are just the inner things, the heart attitudes that make us miserable and leave us longing for difference. Later on, I will also be exploring some external joy stealers that might resound with you too.

Thankfully, God does not leave us alone to stew in our mess and worry about how on earth we’re going to change how we feel, think or behave. Every alteration in our thought life and behaviour starts with recognising our own personal joy stealers. This is Holy Spirit and Scripture-led transforming work, in response to us asking for God’s guidance and help.

Some challenges are caused by the type of personality we have. I’m a driven, impatient, perfectionist ‘A’ type personality who happens to live in a ‘Z’ (Zzzzz…) type body that is invariably flat-out with fatigue. Not a great match! 😏 The potential for frustration is endless.

We also need to address the effects of our upbringing, environment and past, all of which have a bearing on how we act and react now, the sensitivities peculiar to us. Entrenched attitudes and behaviour develop over time and we will need to be prepared for them to take a while to change.

One area might currently be shouting out for our attention and that’s absolutely fine. It’s rarely possible (or sensible) to tackle several issues at once, so focusing on one area at a time is always best.

My top priority for change is how I invariably speak negatively about myself. It makes accepting praise or compliments very difficult because even when my mouth speaks out gratitude, my mind automatically refuses to accept or hold on to good things.

In my next post on this theme I will reveal how I’m beginning to reclaim joy in the area of negativity. Meanwhile, I am sharing some affirming thoughts below to say out loud and hug close. They remind us how we are flawed but also a wonderful work-in-progress by God’s grace. You are welcome to share, pin or print them as well if you want to.

More than you know

I am more than my physical body
I am more than you know or can see
I am more than my flaws and failings
I am more than weakness and pain
I am a beloved child of God
I am deeply cherished and loved
I am an heir by my faith in Christ
I am set free by grace, made alive