It’s all very good to know that as Christians we can have joy at all times, including the hard moments, but sometimes that’s a little easier said than done. Life is hard and it gets ya down. How can we climb out of that valley and find joy again? Here are six totally practical ways you can add more joy back into your life.
1. Do something you love
What normally brings you joy? Do that. Sometimes when you’re in a hard time, you get so wrapped up in all the things surrounding that situation, that you forget to take a little time for yourself to do what you love. Call it “self love” or whatever you want. But when you’re sad, do something that will make you happy. And I know that sometimes even the usual happy things don’t seem to be bringing us any joy. Do them anyway. Better to spend your time doing something that you know you like (even if it doesn’t feel like it right now), than to spend your time doing something you know you don’t enjoy.
2. Get outside
I know that if I’ve been cooped up in the house all day, I sometimes just need a little fresh air and change of scenery to reset myself. So, get outside, give your brain a break and some fresh air, appreciate the beauty around you. Go for a walk – you know, exercise and endorphins and stuff.
3. Read God’s Promises
Crack that Bible open. There are so many stories of people going through hard times, but they somehow found joy in the midst of it all, and there were better days ahead. The story doesn’t end in the bad times. And we can read so many promises about God’s love and the joy that He has for us. Check some of these out:
The Book of Job (loss of family, loss of wealth, friends being jerks)
The Book of Ruth (loss of spouse, moving to a new place)
The Book of Habakkuk (entire country corrupt and living under threat of attack – check out all that hope in chapter 3)
The Book of Psalms (talk about a book with the full range of human emotion – so much sorrow and joy)
If you need more reading ideas, grab this joy Bible plan – 31 verses about joy.
4. Remember God’s Promises
In the Bible we can read a lot of verses and a lot of stories about God keeping His promises. He gave Abraham and Sarah a son, He kept Noah and His family safe, He made David a king, He saved His people again and again, He sent a Saviour. These people went through difficult times while they were waiting for the fulfillment of their promises, but they trusted God. When they were having a hard time believing, they would remember what God said, even “reminding God” of what He had promised, and restate their belief that He would do what He said. So, remind yourself and remind God of what He has promised:
God, you have promised to love me and save me.
God, you have promised you would provide for me.
God, you have promised that I am not alone.
God, you have promised that I am forgiven and whole.
Seasons of waiting or seeming silence from God can sap our joy, but they certainly don’t have to. Remind yourself of what God has said in the past – see the fulfillment in your present, and look forward to the fulfillment in the future. Have confidence that God will do what He has said.
5. Count Your Blessings
In the hardest of times, there is still so much to be thankful for. Focusing on the bad easily makes it seem like you have a very hard life and there is no hope and there is absolutely no good around you. We need to take our gaze off all the bad things and think on all the good that there is to be found. Write a list, draw a picture, say it out loud, pray silently, but thank God for all the blessings that He has given you. You are breathing. You have access to technology to read this post. You have a Saviour. You have food and a place to sleep. You are loved by God. Sometimes it can be hard to start thinking of the blessings in your life, but there is always good to be found.
6. Praise God
Personally, I think this is the most powerful way to add more joy to your life. When we are focused on the bad in our life, our problems fill our gaze and seem so, so big. Take that gaze and turn it to God instead, and see how much bigger than your problem He is. No matter what is going on in our lives, God is worthy of praise. He is good, loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, merciful, gracious, glorious, holy. When we focus on who God is and praise Him for that, whatever is happening seems much less important.
Joy isn’t related to our circumstances, it’s related to our relationship with God, so we can’t just sit around and wait for joy to come to us. Sometimes it takes a little bit of work.
What are you going to do to add joy to your life this week?