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When You’ve Lost Your Joy

When You've Lost Your Joy GMG

 

I had a fairly happy childhood and I remember when I got to high school, suddenly I started struggling to be the cheerful little girl I once was.  I smiled on the outside but on the inside I was sorting through my faith, boys, grades, and finding my path in life.  I remember purchasing the book by Warren Wiersbe titled “Be Joyful: a study in the book of Philippians” because I wanted my joy back.  I knew that my joy would only come from the Lord but life circumstances were stifling that joy.

Then I went into college, got married, began working, having babies and writing.

Life did not get easier — it got harder and more complex.

And that fight for joy –got harder and more complex.

One sad season was when my husband was gone on a business trip over 200 nights in one year.  I stood at the window weekly, with little toddlers wrapped around my legs, waving bye bye to daddy with tears streaming down my cheeks.  This was a long and lonely season.

Every time I’ve moved from city to city – from my hometown to Chicago to Columbus and back to my hometown, I’ve experienced deep sadness that sometimes turned into anxiety and an outbreak of hives.

I’ve had dark days when tears came easy or I felt like a failure and like quitting everything in life.  We have had hard moments in our marriage where I’ve woken up to the reality of why some people throw in the towel when the going gets tough.  I get it…marriage is hard.

I’ve cried over my parenting struggles trying to raise my wild child and my whole family can attest to years of me –crying in the New Year– because I get emotional on New Years Eve. Lol!…I get way too reflective and sad about all my failures, flaws, fears and frustrations.

Statistics prove that Christmas is the most depressing season of the year for many.  There is a spiritual battle raging this month – wanting to steal our joy.  There is NO other time throughout the year when Jesus gets more attention and God’s enemy does not want us to find joy in celebrating Jesus’ birth.  He wants us to buckle under the pressure of decorations, bows and cookie trays.  He wants us to mourn the hardships and losses of the past year without looking up to see the Savior who has come to save us from this lost and empty world!

“Rejoice evermore” – I Thessalonians 5:15

Rejoice!

Easier said than done right?

But this is what I’ve learned…

Rejoicing is a command and it’s a fruit of the Spirit.  Though we may not always “feel” joyful we can–

Choose joy.

Fight for joy.

John Piper writes:

It is crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him.  This is the way Paul thought in Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” ESV

The key in this verse is that all Paul’s efforts to grasp the fullness of joy in Christ are secured by Christ’s grasp of him.

This baby,  born in a manger who is Immanuel, God with us — holds us, when we have no strength to hold Him.

This season is a gift where we are reminded to pause – not to reflect on our failures and frustrations –but to rejoice that we have a God that holds us!

“The merry heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15

I pray that the world would see the merry hearts we have this season and that they would be drawn to the fountain of life from which our joy overflows.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Walk with the King,

Courtney, WomenLivingWell.org

Need more encouragement as you seek to sustain the Joy of the Lord in your life?

Courtney is the author of the newly released book titled:  Women Living Well: Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home available now in paperback, Kindle or Nook.

Download the FREE Companion Study Guide by clicking on the image below:

WLW Companion Study Guide Image

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Comments

  1. How timely. Thank you for this!

  2. Courtney, I so needed to hear what you had to say today! I feel like I have lost my joy. My life has turned upside down and have to live day by day. I thought I was content in that, but, like you said at this time of year I look back and see all my failures. Thank you for reminding me that God has a hold on me! I hope that you read this. A few days ago you asked for input on your blog. My input is keep doing what God is showing you to do. I am an older woman encouraged by a younger woman. I pray for you and thankful that you seek to walk with the King!

    • Lillian Faber says:

      Lyn just said exactly my thoughts. I too was feeling the loss of joy and a lot of confusion this season. I even wrote about this last evening to the Good Morning Girls Group that I share with. This morning the leader of that group showed up at my doorstep and brought me “Joy” and it was the first step toward reminding me that Christ has made me his own. Then I sit to do my study and the first thing I read is what Courtney has shared. God’s work never ceases to amaze me. He brings us what we need and He knows what that is.

  3. Thank you so much for being so real! I have been struggling to be joyful this season and am fighting to move forward in God’s grace. What you shared resonated in my soul.

  4. As always…superb timing and wise words…may you and yours be ever blessed! Thank you for stepping out, taking a chance and sharing your thoughts and experiences for us to commiserate with, learn from and be blessed by:)

  5. Thank you for the study guide.can’t wait to start diving into it

  6. I needed this and feel so much comfort, knowing I am not alone as I spend to much time on matters that are of no value. I must keep my eye on the teachings of Christ and the gift of love He offers me…that is where my joy lives

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I’m divorced and struggle so much this time of year with emotions. This has been a real encouragement. It has shown me where I should be focusing, instead of focusing on regrets and negative thoughts.

  8. Courtney …you have no idea how badly I needed this today..thank you 1st and foremost to the Holy Spirit and 2nd for your obedience to Him! I have been struggling with this the last 2 months because of various things…job change..pain in my body…and today realized that this is Dec. 18th and I have not engaged in Christmas! I especially loved, “This baby, born in a manger who is Immanuel, God with us –holds us, when we have no strength to hold Him”. so true for me…I plan to share this on my FB because I know there are many of us feeling this way…So thank you again..God Bless You…Today because of you..The Joy of The Lord is my strength….truly..

  9. I sat this morning and cried a prayer, that I was so sad, so frustrated at life and not being to give as freely (or at all) this Christmas.
    What a great thing for you to post today, and that it happened to pop into my news feed on FB, just as I was ready to click off and begin the day.
    I asked for joy, joy that God gives, not the world attempts.

    To remember that I cannot do everything. God has HIS plan. To know that He provides my needs and the needs of the family. That He is the only gift needed this season!

  10. Thank you! Your message today hit home as I too have been struggling to find my joy lately. We too have moved a bit and after being in our last home for only a year and a half, we were uprooted and moved again. While it’s a good thing and great opportunity for my husband & I, moving again is hard. I have so much to be joyful for and your message was a reminder for me. In Him my joy is made complete. I have to CHOOSE it not necessarily FEEL it. Thank you for being real with us about your struggles. Your vulnerability makes me feel less “alone” in mine. Have a blessed day!

  11. Great message. Glad to know I’m not the only one who has difficulty on New Years too. I don’t even like New Year’s Eve. It’s been a bit of a low time for me these Holidays. Losing two girlfriends, Mom-in-Love & last blood Aunt. So many close friends have had a year of losses, health issues etc. as well. The Advent Study is helping me to stay focused on what’s really important this Season. I’ve given myself permission to grieve the losses, but not dwell on that……..choosing to think about what an awesome Christmas they are having in heaven this year! One of my girlfriends was my prayer partner and spiritual mentor & close friend. That loss seems to have been the hardest, probably because she was almost my same age too. She loved Christmas time and all the decorations. I would have her over every year, sometimes a few days after for a Christmas Lunch & Tea. She loved coming over since I usually have up a good amount of Christmas decorations in my house. I would put all the lights on, light the candles and break out the Christmas dishes. Was always a special time. Have kept in contact with her daughter, granddaughter, grandson, since her passing. We met in the park one day and had lunch together. She likes talking about her Mom and keeping her memory alive. Just saw on facebook that they were going away to in laws for Christmas, I’m thinking of asking her over with the little daughter for an “after” Christmas Lunch/Tea when they return home. Would be healing for both of us, and I know my friend, her Mom would be smiling from heaven to see us continuing that time of “joy” during the Holidays that we used to have together.

    • Cindy – I am SO sincerely sorry for your loss of close loved ones this year. Your friend sounds like she was amazing! I know your heartache as this year I lost both of my grandmothers. :( and a close Aunt to cancer. We always have a heartfelt time of sharing with my sisters, their husbands, the kids and my parents on New Year’s Eve…this year we know buckets of tears will be coming. It’s been a very hard year for my family – we are looking forward to 2014! It’s okay to cry and mourn our loss – as long as we remember to turn our mourning to praise and thanksgiving for the good gifts we had in these loved ones while they were with us. So glad we have the hope of heaven awaiting us and a Savior who holds us when our grip is slipping.

      Lots of ((hugs)) to you,
      Courtney

  12. Thank you for sharing this! The line which spoke to me was “fight for joy”. I am such a “do-er”, I feel if I can just work a bit harder I can get everything accomplished just so, and all by myself! Clearly that could not be farther from the truth, but one thing I CAN do is fight for joy! Stop the continuous scheduling and organizing and cleaning and budgeting in an attempt to make things “feel” right- focus on His joy and He will take care of the rest.

  13. Thank you Courtney, your words are a balm to my soul. Somehow, God uses you to let us know that it’s okay. That we are normal women, that we can release the guilt, knowing that we are not alone, that life happens. And we can move on from it and grow from it and rejoice in it!!!

  14. I literally left Facebook to text my sister in law that I feel like I’ve lost my joy. Waiting for her reply I went back to Facebook and we’ll, you can guess the rest. THANK YOU Jesus for another well timed assurance. <3

  15. I feel like an echo to so many comments posted here already. This could NOT have come at a better time. Literally, within minutes prior to reading this, I just finished a very tearful phone call with my boyfriend. Who is a truck driver. And is away a lot. I’m unemployed and feeling the crushing weight of bills piling up, and the fear of January first. I’ve never liked New Year’s and now this one comes with a price tag that I don’t know how to pay. I’m severely depressed and sick. I’m not even happy anymore, let alone joyful. I can’t even recall the last time I felt joy. And I’m only 22.

    Maybe this post touched me more than I realize, or maybe the tears came easy because they’d been flowing, but this was such a great reminder, right when I needed it most. Here I am, considering a visit to the doctor to get a prescription for anti-depressants, and I stumbled onto a kind reminder that I already have the best anti-depressant in the world. Thank you so much! I still don’t feel joyful, but at least I’m feeling hope and that’s a step in the right direction. Thank you, thank you.

  16. Denise ross says:

    So well said. I’ve noticed a lot of people are down this Christmas. They either aren’t celebrating or not going to too much trouble. I think the idea of simplifying the season has been taken out of the context it should be kept in and the joy has been sucked out. Even the tv channels don’t seem to be showing many Christmas type movies. The spirit of Christmas has been lost in simplification. I’m having to work hard to jeep joy in my Christmas lead up, but I do find focusing on everything that I’m am thankful for and seeing Gods provision in circumstances that have been very challenging to say the least, brings the focus back to where it should be, our Saviours birth, and restores my joy, which I’m intentionally working to put back into the lives if everyone I come into contact with, through my Lords strength. May God bless you abundantly x

  17. Thanks from me too; finding Christmas tricky too after some huge challenges through the year – keep dissolving into tears, especially in shops when I see things once loved by dear ones who are gone – sheesh … And just before reading this post, I heard about an old friend who’s just found 2ndary cancer, aged 48. So yeah, happiness is thin on the ground – but joy … that’s a different matter. Thank you for the reminder.

  18. Great post. My only question, where are the books like yours for men. We loose our joy too. You post is great. The problem I have is finding books and materials for men. Most men’s books are not spiritually written. But worldly written. I have read some spiritual books but there are not many. Way many more for women.

  19. So timely.. thank you so much! Love the part where you spoke about crying over your parenting struggles.. I have 3 very strong willed kids and they are not even teens yet! Constantly find myself grumpy because of what happens among them but I don’t have to be grumpy… I think God is teaching me that I can still have JOY in the midst of chaos, fighting among kids, etc..because I still have Him and He has me in His hand. Thank you again for this post!

  20. Courtney, thank you for this authentic and honest post. I too struggle during this season. You are so right that the enemy wants to steal our joy during this season of joy. Thank you for reminding me of this.

  21. Courtney, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. I understand that feeling when you move. ;) I grew up moving once a year, every year. When I married a military man who lived in only two houses growing up, I thought I’d live in one place when he left the military. Nope. Life after the military can be difficult, too. Things hit their worst for us financially this year. This is the first year that we literally had nothing to give our children for Christmas. I prayed that they would understand, but how do you explain to a 9 yr old that there literally will not be anything under the Christmas tree or in the stocking? I secretly didn’t want to put any decorations out this year. As usual, God is good. I was grateful that our entire family of seven (we have a his/mine/ours family ;) was able to be together for the first time in 10 years just a few weeks before Christmas and then the oldest, a Marine, was able to be home on Christmas. He had lost a Marine ‘brother’ recently and then got word that he’d lost another on the 23rd…. While my heart broke for their families, my son, and their brothers-in-arms, I was thankful my son was home (i.e.: safe) this year. Can’t even explain the emotional roller coaster ride that is! Being a military brat/wife/mom, you get good at hiding emotions and carry on. Jesus’ birth is what it’s all about, and we celebrated that. We went to a stirring Christmas Eve service and enjoyed being a together. My husband got creative and he and our daughter wrapped “gift certificates” so there would be something to unwrap. Our oldest had brought something for his brothers and sister. We have a little log with 8 candles in it, one for Jesus, the rest for each member of the family. Christmas morning, we light Jesus’ candle and remember him as the light of the world. Everyone then lights their candle from his and prays whatever is on their heart. What a glorious morning it was! I think that this Christmas meant so much more to me than any other. Christmas truly isn’t about “packages and bows”, but about the Light who came to our darkened world. And *that* is where we find our joy.

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