Welcome back to the second part in our series about joy! Last time we talked about what joy really is. If you missed it, you can check it out here. The nutshell is it’s deeper and more permanent than happiness, although we interchange the words a lot today. This time we will be talking about some of the things that can try to take our joy away.
The most common joy thief for me is fear. It could be getting afraid when I know my husband is going to be on a long drive and I can’t go. In between texts (always when he is parked) I’m anxious to hear from him again. Worry about money, family, friends, health, passing that next test in school, or doing good enough at work all have in common being afraid God can’t, or won’t, manage the situation.
Guilt can also steal our joy. This may be the hardest one for me. When I know I’ve done something wrong, I feel almost incapacitated. Dirty. Powerless. Worthless. Deep in my core I feel defeated, and it’s hard to find joy when I feel like that.
Sadness can, although it doesn’t have to, take our joy. We call that weird feeling of being sad and happy “sappy”, and usually it’s about something that is mostly positive. Those two don’t usually happen at the same time. But being sad and joyful can. It’s hard but possible. Sadness and happiness are temporary emotions, so they don’t exist well together. But joy is more permanent.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
Lots of things can shake our joy, or try to. What they come down to, though, is often doubt. Doubt that God can take care of us. That He can provide physically or emotionally. That if He chooses not to give us something it is because He has something better planned. That if the terrible thing does happen He can still make it okay.
What are the most common joy thieves for you?
Next time we’ll talk about how to keep the joy thieves from winning.
May the Lord bless and keep you,