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3 Ways to Courageous and Contagious Joy

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

We were created in joy and for joy. God’s intent is for us to be filled with so much delight at the reality of being His and being alive that we literally cannot keep it to ourselves. If you want a picture of what that might look like, think of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, bouncing and laughing with such ridiculous optimism, it is impossible to ignore.

Sadly, if you look at most followers of Christ, Eeyore bears a closer likeness. We saunter along with downcast gaze, letting out a somber, ‘thanks for noticing’ to passersby as we just try to get through another day in a broken world.

If any part of this resonates, I have two encouragements to share! First, I’m there with you. I’ve spent way too many days with my feet tethered to the ground, when I was made for “leaping and jumping and praising God” (Acts 3:8). Second, there’s an unbelievable invitation awaiting us. Eight years ago, God radically changed the trajectory of my life as I suddenly awakened to the gravity of His delight in us. If that’s what you desire, I encourage you right now to just stop, open your hands, and tell Him: “Father, I need you baptize me into the depths of Your Love and Your Delight!” I am praying it for you, friend!

Here are 3 ways I’ve continued to steward His joy. They’ve changed everything for me. Joy is our inheritance. Get ready to Overflow!

1. Lose Accusation for Adoration

Every day, there are 1,000 voices vying for our attention, and the loudest voice wins. This matters, because in the nearly endless noise we encounter, there are really only two sources of information: the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of God. Let that sink in. Every news story, conversation, YouTube video, podcast, online article — every piece of information your brain processes — is either coming from the heart of Jesus, your Advocate…or from the Accuser. And the loudest voice you allow to land on the runway of your mind, wins.

In an age where media airwaves and our social media pages are flooded with fear, gossip, resentment, scarcity, mistrust, offense, and anger, there is a lot of BAD NEWS wanting our ear and our emotions. In the middle of all of it, creation is SHOUTING the glory of God (Ps. 19:1). Rocks cry out. Trees in the field clap their hands. The sunrise across the horizon invites us to be breathless for a moment under the Majesty of the Grand Artist. Children play, babies coo, lovers walk hand in hand under the moonlight. God is everywhere, if we’d make space to see.

Beyond this, He has given us “great and precious promises” in His Word that find their fullness not in our performance, but in His finished work on the Cross. At a time when many Jesus followers report they’re ‘too busy’ to spend time in God’s Word or in worship, I urge you to reconsider. Do whatever it takes to let the Gospel of Jesus speak loudest. Do a plan in the Bible App. Go for a walk. Read books that open windows of heaven for you to see God more clearly. Watch The Chosen. Banish accusation. Breathe in adoration.

2. Dump Isolation for Intimacy

Isolation and Accusation are the enemy’s signature moves. He desires to get you angry and to get you alone. It’s no surprise there has been such a rapid increase in depression and mental health challenges since the time of the pandemic. We have been flooded with bad news from the left and the right…and we’ve gotten increasingly more isolated. Jobs have moved remote. We can order food and have it arrive without human interaction. Social media gives the illusion of community, but behind a screen, and usually only allowing the curated image of ourselves we want others to see.

If we go back to our first moments in the Garden, we can hear the Father say, “It is not good for man to be alone.” We were made for community. And if you’re going to choose true community, you will face heartbreak, discomfort, and disappointment. Vulnerability is hard because we are all broken vessels in the midst of becoming whole. But can I tell you something? If you refuse to give up and keep seeking depth with others, you’re gonna find your people. You will know what it is to be embraced, forgiven, understood, valued, and seen. And in that family of love, the enemy’s soundtracks of lament lose their sting.

3. Choose Intentionality with a Few Simple Rhythms

Just like regular exercise or a healthy diet, we are shaped by what we continually do. Here are 3 exercises that help mature joy within you.

Joy Journal: Spend a few minutes daily intentionally telling God 5 things you're thankful for, and use it as a space to record answered prayers. I use a daily app that reminds me every morning and I have made it a part of my daily routine. It’s amazing what ‘the word of our testimony’ can do.

Micro-Spaces for Inspiration: Jesus came to give us “life to the full,” and what ignites your soul is different from what ignites mine. What inspires you and makes you feel alive? What stirs joy and whimsy? I love playing music and going for walks in nature. Whatever it is for you, give yourself moments for it throughout your day; not as a distraction, but as a vital element for your spiritual health.

Practice Gratitude: When we’re struggling, the greatest temptation is to internalize. But gratitude grows best through practice. Write someone a “thank you note” for something meaningful they did. Buy a simple gift to brighten a friend’s day. Text an encouraging word of what you see in someone else. Bake cookies. Give a hug. Whatever it is, look for several opportunities every day to get outside of yourself to speak life to others. You’ll be amazed where it leads.

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