reclaim: admitting what steals our joy and how to recover it

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.

we can learn how to recover our sleeping joy, often hidden in plain sight #reclaimjoy #wordsofjoy #hope #encouragement Click To Tweet

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.

God does not leave us alone to stew in our mess and worry about how we’re going to change how we feel, think or behave #reclaimjoy #wordsofjoy #hope Click To Tweet

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.

every alteration in our thought life and behaviour starts with recognising our own personal joy stealers #reclaimjoy #wordsofjoy Click To Tweet

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.

we need to address the effects of our upbringing and past, which have a bearing on how we act and react now #reclaimjoy #wordsofjoy Click To Tweet

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.

we are flawed but we are also a wonderful work-in-progress by God's grace #wordsofjoy #hope #encouragement Click To Tweet

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
©joylenton

14 thoughts on “reclaim: admitting what steals our joy and how to recover it”

  1. Dear Joy,
    These are such great thoughts today! I shared them on my G+ and Pinterest boards, because I don’t want to forget this. Your poem is filled with such truth, that we need to remind ourselves about every day. May this ring in my ears throughout this day:

    “I am an heir by my faith in Christ
    I am set free by grace, made alive”

    How could I not rejoice if I remember that I am HEIR of God because of Christ? Thank you dear friend for pouring out your heart so that we also could benefit from the lessons He is teaching you. Much love and hugs! xoxo

    1. Dear Bettie, thank you so much for sharing! It’s not only an encouragement to me (and hopefully a blessing to others), it also meant I could find and follow you on Pinterest. What a bonus! I am moved by your response to the words of the poem. How not, indeed? Yet so often we forget we are heirs of God, set free and made alive in Christ. Such remembrance ought to impact our daily lives for good. Much love and hugs returned to you, my friend! xoxo

  2. Hi Joy,
    I think we share a similar habit of negative self-talk (perfectionistic!) and having a hard time accepting compliments. I always think people are being insincere and dismiss what they’re saying! But we are all beautiful works in progress (I find that easy to say of others and not include myself!) but I want to join you in reclaiming the joy in our lives and squelching what steals our joy. Looking forward to this series from the depths of your lovely heart! 🙂 xoxo

    1. Hi Valerie, you, too, my friend? It’s a bit of burden, isn’t it? Once we’re in the habit of negative self-talk it tends to become automatic. My husband is always giving me compliments, all sincerely meant, yet most of them just go straight over my head instead of sinking into my heart. I smiled at your words about finding those thoughts easier to say and consider more applicable to others. Oh yes, me too! God frequently has to draw my attention to the disparity between what I write and encourage others with, compared to what my wary heart is actually willing to accept. It’s so good to have you join me in reclaiming joy! I hope and pray as I learn and share that there will be some valuable insights along the way. Bless you for your understanding and kindness. It does my soul good! xoxo 😊💜

  3. Beautiful, Joy! I’m looking forward to reading more. I can sometimes be my worst enemy by thinking negative thoughts about myself or my talents, etc. I love the affirmations you have that we are so much more than who we often think we are. Blessings to you! Much love! xoxo

    1. Hi Gayl, it’s good to be back to writing again as I recover from flu and lovely to see you here, my friend! I think the negative traits that I describe are fairly common to many of us but no less destructive for being familiar. I hope to gain some fresh insights along the way as I journey deeper into joy this year. The best bit is being able to share them here to help bless and benefit others. It might help to have those affirmations in a printable version. Would you find that useful? Do let me know if so. Thanks. Blessings, hugs and love to you! xoxo 😊💜

      1. I think a printable version would be lovely and I’m sure others would agree. I shared them with a friend yesterday who was struggling and they helped a lot! Blessings to you, dear Joy! xoxo

        1. Hi Gayl, I have just been trying to send a printable version to you and I ran into some technical difficulties, which I hope are now fixed! I’ve sent you a couple of emails but the pdf itself should now be accessible to you in google drive, fingers crossed! Please reply to my emails if things are still not working properly. Thank you! And bless you for letting me know you would value a print vesion of the poem, plus how it has spoken to a friend of yours. Blessings and love xox <3

  4. I love that top picture, Joy. That is the picture I have of myself in my mind’s eye. The picture of who I want to be – free in Christ. Love your message today, friend! Take every thought capture in obedience to Christ Jesus!

    1. Oh, me too, June! Wouldn’t it be lovely to run freely like that? I’m delighted to hear you think of yourself in that way. Although we cannot turn back the clock to enjoy a carefree childhood, we can turn toward God and ask for His help in living like we are truly free in Christ. And for the knowledge of it all to sink down deep into our burdened souls. You cite the key to opening the door to that possibility – “Take every thought captive to Christ” – which might sound easy to do but usually requires a lot of dedication, determination and deliberation! May we keep praying for one another to learn to live like this. xo 😊🐦💜

  5. I so identify with your tendency to have negative thoughts of yourself, Joy. To try to receive compliments graciously but in our minds not accepting it. I love the free abandon the girls have in the pictures. Also your poem. And your definition of joy as “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.” I long for that, too. Thank you for encouraging me today! Love and hugs to you!

    1. Dear Trudy, I ache for you as you struggle with these issues too. It takes time and application to renew our minds but we are already aware of the need of it, which helps a lot. I chose those images because they represent the freedom I rarely had as a girl and have always been desperate for ever since. I want to see myself as already free in Christ, just as God sees us. So it can help to have a visual image to focus on while working towards that goal. I sense your longings mirror mine, sweet friend. It would be wonderful to see holy joy taking root in our hearts more and more. Maybe we could pray for, support and encourage one another as we seek to reclaim joy and lose our negativity habits? Thank you for encouraging me too! Blessings, love and hugs to you! xo 😊💜

  6. Pamela K Piquette

    Joy,

    My word for 2018 was quietly whispered…joy. Yet, I doubted and resisted that this word could be for me. It’s a “good” word and I couldn’t imagine that I deserved a “good” word. I know better. I know I am beloved, but somehow I’ve lost my ability to really believe it. I can and do encourage others to do so, be me… An (in)courage article summed it better than I could as well as your post. I’ll share the link in case it blesses you. Cindee encouraged me to “friend” you so we could journey together.

    https://www.facebook.com/ajax/sharer?appid=586254444758776&s=100&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.incourage.me%2F2018%2F01%2Fchoose-joy-joy-seems-easy-others-hard.html

    1. Hi Pamela, welcome to Words of Joy! I’m delighted to see you here and to have befriended you on Facebook. I’m so glad Cindee encouraged you to connect with me! I’m currently dipping into volume 2 in the Chronic Joy thrive series, which Cindee sent me and feel like I already know you a bit from the bio inside and your shared blog. I can truly relate to feeling undeserving of joy, which is ironic when it’s my given name. But how lovely that you and I (and Bonnie) are all deliberately choosing joy this year. Thank you for sharing Bonnie’s beautiful blog post. It spoke volumes to me. I usually read her blog but I’m behind with a lot of things after having flu, and I missed this one. May we both grow in our faith, keep seeking holy joy in the everyday, increase our ability to believe we are Beloved and know we are deserving of the joy God longs to pour into our lives. As we journey together, maybe we could share how it’s going and encourage one another via messages on Facebook or here on the blog. I’m happy to be a supportive, listening ear for you, my friend. Blessings and gentle hugs. xo <3

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