I have a confession to make…..
I have not been a joyful woman lately. I’m sure that when you read my posts you think I’m a joyful, smiling mommy that is thankful in all things. But guess what? I’m not!!! Much of what I write is what God has been teaching me of late and let me tell you, I have been needing some teaching.
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Everything in my previous posts that I mentioned not to do. I DID THEM!!! I have been ungrateful, grouchy, lacking in joy, and sometimes just plain angry. I got frustrated with my 2-year-old because he knocked over the cat’s water bowl again. He is clumsy and not well balanced. Not just toddler clumsy. I mean, horrible, trip over a grain of sand, clumsy! It is a trait I passed onto him, unfortunately. And since we live in a small space, he knocks over a lot of things. To my shame, I let it get to me and my reaction was not that of beauty.
Why have I been like this? After all my talk on being joyful, you’d think I would have it figured out by now. At least, I sure wish I did.
To be honest, God has placed the importance of joy on my heart because He graciously showed me that I was horribly lacking. I’m not a depressed or horribly angry woman, mind you. Yet, joy evades me more often than not. The stresses of life bog me down and I let my emotions get the best of me. If disappointments come my way I let them ruin my day. If I woke up grumpy, I chose to be grumpy. I honestly didn’t even know how to choose differently. I knew something was wrong, and at times it still is wrong. I don’t want to be the kind of woman that is only filled with joy when the occasion is fit for it. I want to be able to rise up from underneath the pain in my heart and the lies in my mind and choose joy. Even when I don’t FEEL like it. I’m done being ruled by my emotions and my negative thoughts. I pray for change.
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A HARD PAST COUPLE WEEKS
My grumpiness stems from disappointments that have come my way these past few weeks. The sheet-rock in our house should have been up over a week ago. Unfortunately, the insulation has not been finished. The bat insulation was delayed and then we received the wrong order. The spray foam insulation was held back because of broken machinery. To say the least, things are not going as planned. (As they seem to do. 😉 )
We have been hoping to be moved into our house by Christmas but that goal has started to fade away.
“Hopefully by Springtime we can move in,” my husband said the other morning at breakfast.
He was teasing. Yet, also very serious.
By the looks of it, we might be delayed a few more months than planned. My heart hurts at the thought of it. I have been dreaming of moving into our home for a while now. I am so ready. The disappointment of a longer wait time is gnawing at my insides and I literally ache.
Do you know that feeling? That feeling of wanting something so bad you feel like your chest could burst? That’s how I feel. Then add the crushing weight of disappointment on top of that and you have one heck of an emotional bomb ready to go- KABOOMB!!!!!
My lack of joy is my own fault. I want something and I want it now. Am I looking to God and trusting in His goodness and His glorious timing? No. My focus is inward, not upward. I am not thinking about things above but on the things of earth.
When the light goes out…
Oh, how the light goes out when we focus inward! Have you ever noticed that? When we are focused inwardly upon ourselves and concerned only with our own lives, it’s as if someone snuffed out the flame that is supposed to be emanating from within us. We are to be the light of the world showing others the beauty of Jesus. But when our only concern is SELF, that light no longer shines. It has become dark; within and around you.
It saddens my heart knowing that I am guilty of such selfishness. And I know that the enemy loves my self-preoccupied thoughts. It is in that thinking that he dwells and makes his home. He sits down quite comfortably in my mind as I stew and fester on all that disappoints me.
“Yes, keep going,” he says with delight, “Keep focusing on all the annoying, aggravating things in your life…..Oh, and don’t forget to pile the self-loathing and guilt on top of that. Because everyone knows it- You are a bad mom and God is disappointed.”
I am sure that I am not the only woman that deals with this problem. It is hard to be strong amidst the screaming and crying of children. It takes all the will-power you have to not freak-out as your child barfs all over you in the hardware store. (Yes, that happened last week.) It requires strength and discipline to not be frustrated with your unthankful child as they complain about the dinner you spent time making. It requires a lot of patience and self-control as your toddler puts their hand in their poopy diaper and gets poop ALL over themselves. Oh, the joys of motherhood!
How do we get out of that mom funk that causes the light within us to be snuffed out? How do we find joy in the midst of frustration, disappointment and all the stress of life?
Well, I don’t have all the answers but I can share a few things that God has shown me in the last few weeks.
How to get the light back:
- Tell God all the junk that is being stored up in your heart. Through your discontent and frustrations. Don’t hold back. He already knows. Just let it out and cry.
- After the spilling out of emotions and the tears, Ask God What You Can Do About It. Don’t continue to wallow in it. If you want God to work you will have to admit that you might have to change something in your life….For example, last week I was pretty upset with my husband. There are times men are not as sensitive as us women and they can come across harsh or lacking in love. My husband does not have a lot of tact. He is a very good, God-fearing man but he says it like it is and it really bothers me sometimes. To make it worse, I can be a little too sensitive. In my outpouring of my frustrations to God about it, He merely reminded me of something. “You can’t change your husband. He isn’t perfect. I’m still working on him. The only thing you can do is deal with your sensitivity. If you don’t want to be perturbed about your husband’s lack of tact then grow a thicker skin. Ask me for help in dealing with it with grace.” Now does that mean my husband was right in his actions? Perhaps not, but he answers to God, not me. I am responsible for my own actions.
- Pray for Who is Frustrating You. Not just a, “I lift so-and-so up to you, God.” Not that easy. I mean really pray for them. Ask for God’s blessings over them… Perhaps your family is treating you with a lack of respect. Maybe your kids take you for granted or your husband can be impatient and angry when life gets too stressful. Pray that God does beautiful works within their hearts. You want what is best for your family even when what they are doing is wrong. With humility, ask God for his changing power in their lives.
- Give Thanks. When I realize that I am grumpy with my kids and my husband, it can stem back to me focusing on all the negatives. So, I begin to thank God for 2 or 3 things for each of my family members. And then I name 2 things that I am thankful for in general. It really helps my brain be rewired. I even do this with my 3-year-old when I realize he is getting grumpy or lacking in thanks. I tell him he has to name 3 things he is thankful for before he can continue on playing. It is amazing how a smile slowly forms on his face and he loses his grumpy countenance. (*Even start a thankful journal. It is a blessing to look back on all that you have thanked God for. :))
- Ask for Help. I am horrible at this one! For some reason, I feel like I should be able to do it all or I am just inconveniencing others when I do ask for their help. But last week, I knew I needed some assistance. My son and I were not getting along. I was grumpy and therefore causing him to be grumpy. We were knocking heads pretty good and I could feel anger rising up in me. I called my mother-in-law and asked her if she would take him for the rest of the day. I wasn’t being selfish or wanted an excuse for a mom break. I knew that if my son and I were able to part ways for awhile, we would be better for it. No matter how much we love others, it is always good to get away. Jesus did it. So why shouldn’t we?……Now, I do realize that some of you don’t have family readily available to help. But I think more often than not, there are friends and those within our church that are willing to help us. We just have to be humble and brave enough to ask. I don’t just mean help with babysitting. I mean help with all sorts of things. We as a body should be willing to be there for each other. May we be willing.
- Pray for the World, the Church, or the Poor. When I realize that I’m inwardly focused, I shamefully become aware of the fact that I have only been praying for myself. So, in order to get my mind off myself, I pray for the Body or for those with bigger needs than I have. It helps get me out of my mind and gets me aligned with God’s agenda rather than my own. I need to remember that the world is not centered on me. As Christians, we should never want the world to revolve around ourselves.
There you have it. The 6 Things I do in order to bring the Light of Joy back in my mothering and my wife-ing (Is that a word?) This is what I have been doing in order to gain the joy back in my life the past couple weeks. I can honestly say it works. I hope that some of you can implement them in your own life to help you as well.
I would love to hear from you.Let me know what You do to get the joy and thankfulness back. New ideas are always a blessing.