I’m excited to share this guest post from my dear friend, Heidi McLaughlin. She has overcome much in her life and is someone who truly understands the steps needed to get your joy back. Also check out her newest book Fresh Joy: Finding Joy in the Midst of Loss, Hardship and Suffering.
It’s a tough world out there and we’ve become weary. Many conversations eventually spiral downward into disappointment, sadness and discontent. That’s where a huge “caution sign” needs to appear. Beware of landing on the place of discontent, as it seduces us into doing and wanting things that may unleash unpleasant consequences. So how do we move through all these struggles and emotions toward bright hope for tomorrow? After being widowed twice and understanding all those debilitating obstacles, here are my steps for moving through them:
1. Everything in life is temporary.
One day this never-ending Covid season will be over. Seasons come and go. Trees burn down but grow back and after a long, cold winter daffodils do burst through the ground once again. We’re not stuck. Jesus, our Shepherd is walking with us through our dark valleys with bright hope for tomorrow.
2. Fly upside down.
Stop doing things the world’s way. Stop watching the news, all it does it confuse and bring fear. Jesus did everything contrary to the world’s way. Love your enemies. To become great become a servant. To become rich give your money away. To find a joyful life die to selfishness. Instead of saying: “What will the world do for me?” Say: “What can I do for the world?” It’s amazing when we pour out; God fills us with meaning, hope, and fresh joy.
3. Speak God’s words.
God’s word is alive and active, will separate lies from truth and never come back void. Take it to a level deeper and speak God’s word aloud. Our hearts cannot hold fear and faith at the same time. By reading and speaking God’s word, we’re growing our faith so that fear and disappointment is pushed out with no place to go.
4. Thanksgiving is the super pathway to joy.
Remembering the goodness of God takes our eyes off our present circumstances and it changes our focus and perspective. We remember the beauty of God’s creation, the food in our fridge, the taste of chocolate, our soft beds, hot showers and the many good things we take for granted. It changes our thoughts and feelings. Joy follows.
5. Do something nice each day…for yourself.
Each day make a point of doing something that will bring you joy and put a smile on your face. When it gets dark, I ignite (battery operated) 13 candles, turn on Christmas tree lights and play favourite songs. We groan and roll our eyes about the schmaltzy Hallmark movies, but let’s agree, they are uplifting and make us smile. I Face Time with family, read good books and stop to have a cup of tea and cookies. Even though I won’t have family in for Christmas I’ve decorated my house because beauty brings me joy.
Pushing through the pain of disappointment and discontent is some of the hardest work you’ll ever do. But would you rather be seduced into something that will have regrettable consequences? A new addiction, fractured relationships, maxed out credit cards or an extra 50 pounds?
I guarantee that these five steps, if applied, will not only help you be an overcomer, but also make you more resilient, courageous and fill you with fresh joy. Which of the five steps will you start with today? Be like Nike. Just do it.
Heidi McLaughlin is an international speaker and author of 4 books and 3 Bible Studies. For 28 years Heidi has guided women around the globe to grow deeper in their spiritual journey. Heidi has been widowed twice and is a mom and step-mom of a blended family of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. Her cup of joy is family, friends, beautiful golf courses, and laughing once again. Learn more at www.heartconnection.ca and follow her on Facebook at fb.com/heidimclaughlinauthor/