Kathy Carlton Willis is teaching me quite a bit about joy, because I've "watched" her choosing joy in some tough circumstances. In this Attitude UPGRADE, she shares some of her secrets!
“One fall season, we had an abundance of pecans in our yard,” Kathy said. “Mom and I picked up enough to share and plenty to keep over winter for baking. Still there were some left over, so we had a huge box of pecans sitting on our front porch.
"Then we noticed that all the pecans disappeared; only the empty box remained.”
Squirrels? Pecans? What's not to love? I (Dawn) am always eager to hear how Kathy weaves a good story into biblical life application, and she doesn't disappoint here!
Kathy continues . . .
Who would dare come up on our porch and steal our pecans out from under us but not take the box?”
The answer was right before our very eyes.
Squirrels, of course!
All winter long we noticed they seemed to be eating well, but we didn’t realize we were the ones feeding them.
This is a trivial example of being robbed, but I know people who were robbed of their possessions, and they felt so violated. Sometimes the person who robbed them was someone they knew; other times, complete strangers invaded their personal space and stole their belongings.
No matter the circumstances, being robbed attacks anyone’s sense of security. Being robbed of our joy is no different.
But we have control of our joy, unlike when possessions are taken from us.
When joy is stolen, it isn’t so the other party can possess our joy. No, when they do something that causes us to quit being joyful, it’s not as if they are now wearing our joy! They’re usually as unhappy as we are when they have placed us in a negative situation.
Why is it we allow others to steal our joy? Perhaps it’s not even their motive to see us lose our peace and gladness. But when we allow circumstances to push our buttons, our joy departs.
5 Sure-Fire Joy Robbers:
1. A loss
2. Being Misunderstood
3. Being Betrayed
4. Being Rejected
5. Worry & Doubt
The key is to realize no one has access to our joy control switch besides us.
When we feel robbed of joy we must admit—at some level we allowed it to happen.
Our source of joy is not in circumstances or other people, but in the peace of God, which passes all human understanding (Philippians 4:7).
It’s impossible to always be happy.
Bad things happen.
People trash our parade route!
Happiness is based on happenstance or circumstances.
But it’s possible to rejoice with joy that wells up from a God-space deep within us. And when it’s flowing, it naturally bubbles over onto others.
“So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy” (John 16:22 NLT).
Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had” (Lamentations 5:21 NLT).
In order to experience the abundance of joy, it’s important to deal with any burdens weighing you down.
Here are three specific steps you can take to prevent those joy-robbers.
1. Don’t be anxious. Instead, vent your worries and frustrations to the Lord. (Philippians 4:6)
3. Don’t let someone else engage you in a guilt trip. You don’t need the frequent flyer miles that go along with that sort of journey! (Romans 8:1)
The next time you feel robbed, evaluate your own attitudes. Are you fully relying on God or are you allowing circumstances to dictate your moods and emotions?
Which of these specific steps can help you prevent with your joy-robbers today?
Kathy Carlton Willis shines for God, reflecting His light as a speaker at writer's conferences and women's retreats, and as an author - contributing to three books and writing hundreds of columns and articles online and in print publications. She wrote Grin with Grace with AMG Publishers and has several books releasing over the next few years. She and her husband/pastor, Russ, live in Texas.
Squrrel Graphic adapted, image courtesy of rhamm at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.