Is Discouragement Stealing Your Joy?
If Joy is the feeling you experience when someone is happy to see you, that means you have to be in a relationship to feel joy. Whatever is hurting your relationships may be stealing your joy. Is Discouragement stealing your joy?
Discouragement is a Thief. How to stop the rip-off!
Today, let’s explore the joy stealers in your relationship with Jesus. Watch the video here https://youtu.be/fs24O6MPnKk
Joy is the feeling we get when someone is happy to see us. It’s the short, intense feeling that when genuine, is followed up with the feeling of peace. Jesus is our peace and joy. It’s the benefit of being in a relationship with him. If you’re not experiencing joy and peace it may be because something is keeping you from Him.
Let’s explore if discouragement is stealing your joy. I’ve learned the signs on my own Kingdom Journey and from many clients over years of ministry and coaching other followers of Jesus.
Discouragement is a Joy Thief!
The first Joy Steeler I’d like to start with is Discouragement. Discouragement means to be deprived of courage. Disheartened. Hope that has been removed or taken away. Often times experiencing a failure or repeated failures brings discouragement. Discouragement will blind you to the promise of your future. It can cloud the clarity of Hearing God’s voice in your life. Let me explain.
You’ve heard the scripture of Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it’s a tree of life. Do you believe it means that when your dream, hope, or desire takes a long time to be fulfilled, it will make your heart sick? Most people do. But I hold a different view. I believe your heart gets sick when you stop hoping for the thing or desire. As long as you hold onto hope for healing, or a breakthrough, or a spouse, or getting pregnant, or your business idea to succeed, or your finances to be restored, or whatever it is …you’ll remain hopeful. It’s when you STOP hoping or believing that your heart becomes sick.
Holding onto courage and hope can be a fight. Often it’s for a season, sometimes multiple seasons, but regardless, it’s about holding on until God moves. It’s not so much about how much it weighs, but how long you’re willing to carry it.
Hope Replaces Discouragement
I know this personally because once, I gave up hope for a situation to change. I literally became depressed and it lasted 3 days. My natural personality is to remain hope-filled, full of hope. I had never really experienced true depression before. How did I turn it around? I spent time with the Lord, got his idea, or so I thought and ran with it. Once I started moving again, the Lord course-corrected my route and everything worked out.
Sometimes you need help to carry the burden while you’re waiting for God to move on your behalf. Sometimes he’s waiting for your cooperation with his plan to resolve. You’ve heard the story about a woman stranded on the roof of her home during a flood. Someone comes by in a rowboat to rescue her but the stranded lonely woman refuses because she is waiting for God to show up. Next comes a speed boat with the same offer and again the same answer. Finally, a helicopter drops a bucket and the reluctant victim allows herself to be rescued all the while complaining that God never showed up. Who has God sent to help you?
Are You Blaming God?
Here’s the thing…Once you become discouraged about the situation or you have lost hope in it, do you start blaming God? It’s more common than you think. You may not even realize that’s what you’re doing, but it could be true.
There seems to be a certain expectation that if God loved you and me then bad things just won’t happen. I know for most of my adult life as a Christian I held onto that belief. But what happens when a tragedy hits you? Even without a big whammy or tragedy, you might hold an expectation that you will be blessed and prospered because after all that is the promise of scripture. How do you process when it doesn’t happen? What belief have you formed when you experience difficulty? Hardship? Loss? Pain? Betrayal?
For many of us, it’s easier to blame God than to look too deep inside because it’s easier to be a victim than to be responsible.
God, If You Love Me…
Have you ever thought something like this: “God, if you love me you will bring me a husband, restore my relationship, heal my body! or God why did you let my friend betray me? or you would intervene to prevent the car from hitting us, or you would not let violence, happen, or …
The fruit of this belief or reaction is avoidance, isolation. Like Adam and Eve when they ate the apple, immediately they hid from God. They wanted to avoid him. They felt shame. But when God asked what happened, you know the story, Adam blamed Eve. It’s always easier to be the victim than to admit to being responsible.
So what do you do if you find yourself agreeing with this possibility?
Time for a Do-Over!
Spend a few moments with Jesus. Imagine yourself in your favorite, peaceful place. Let yourself see Jesus with you in your mind’s eye. Tell him what you’ve been believing. Repent of it ask sin against him. He is not the author of anything bad. He is always good. Ask him to reveal where you began to blame him. Tell him you’re sorry. Ask for a do-over. He’s longing to be in an intimate relationship with you and will gladly let you start over again. Sometimes we need help to overcome discouragement. If you want someone to walk with you to overcome discouragement and disappointment, check out my coaching packages or send an email to email@example.com.
Kick Discouragement Out!
It’s good to write down and speak out loud some declarations of what the truth is.
God, you are always good.
You are my father and best friend
You think good thoughts of me
You are my provider
You are my peace
You are my healer
I hope this helps you stop letting discouragement steal your joy! Next week we’ll tackle Disappointment!
Also, let me know some of the joy stealers you’re struggling with so we can explore them in future posts.
What do you think?
Let me know how you feel about this post.
Get Your Peace of Joy
You can Get Your Peace of Joy because Peace and Joy are intricately connected. You can’t have one without the other. Today, I’ll show you how to find Peace that surpasses your understanding.
The counterpart to Joy is Peace. Jesus is our Peace. So connecting with Him is the way to both Peace and Joy! You can watch the video here.
I hope you’ve been reading since the beginning of this journey to find sustainable joy. Today you’re going to learn about the flip side of joy, which is peace, and how you can’t have one without the other. You can watch the video here
Joy and Peace are Very Different Experiences
Joy is that exhilarating but brief moment of a deep feeling that’s been triggered when you’re with someone who’s happy to be with you. JOY is an emotion that never lasts continually. I think that confuses people when the high of joy disappears and peace comes in its place. You may be tempted to believe, as I did, that somehow I was doing something wrong when joy left so quickly. Joy comes and goes as you experience it in brief encounters for brief moments. Peace follows. Peace is what remains.
What is Peace?
Peace. Simply uttering the word seems to illicit a deep breath and a slowing of my heartbeat. It’s the cry of my soul to have it. Do you feel it? Peace is the natural flow of emotion that remains when JOY is finished.
Joy is the high-energy feeling of shared excitement. Peace is the low-energy feeling of contentment. It is the feeling of being safe, calm, and connected.
Joy is the key to emotional capacity. But to understand it fully, you must realize that it is always the rhythm of joy and rest, that includes peace and contentment. Joy should always end in rest. If you’re out with friends participating in a fun activity, that joyful time should lead to a time of quiet later on. The high joy followed by the low-level quiet creates a complete experience that grows your capacity for more joy.
Can I Choose Joy?
Joy is a feeling, not a choice, that takes place in your joy-center, the right hemisphere of the brain. But, while you can’t choose to feel joy, you can choose to do things that make joy more likely. Choosing to spend some time with Jesus to initiate a 2-way free-flowing conversation with Him is the perfect setup to find Joy and Peace. The choice to do that is made in the left hemisphere, the part that’s so good at problem-solving. So when you’re not feeling very joyful, you can choose to do something that you know will produce the feeling of joy! Then to see the cycle complete itself, make sure it ends in peace which is the quiet, calm time that followed the high-energy joy. One way I experience the cycle of joy and peace is when I’m actively participating in worship and praise of the Lord during Sunday service. Singing along with the music, and watching dancers and artists create a joyful experience for me. I often say ‘worship is like a contact sport for me” because I love to clap and dance around, and really lose myself in unrestrained expressions of love to the Lord. It can be very high energy. But, sometimes, I will sit down in the middle of it to rest and connect with His Peace, His presence. It happens naturally. I’m not even aware I’m experiencing the cycle of joy.
Get Your Peace of Joy
Thinking about my favorite verse, (it’s so hard to declare a favorite isn’t it?), but I do so love Eph 2:14 which says, “He Himself is our Peace.” During worship, I allow myself to picture Jesus in the room. Sometimes He is standing with me as I look in my mind’s eye, receiving my love or even dancing around the room with me. Sometimes, he’s seated high above the stage on his Heavenly throne. But regardless of how I see him, I begin to experience His Peace. While Jesus releases peace to us, He Is Our Peace, which means when we are with him, we have peace. According to this scripture, he has broken down the middle wall of division between us, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in an ordinance so as to create in himself one new man from the two thus making peace, That he might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross thereby putting to death the enmity. Because through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Because Jesus broke down the division between man and God through his body, he became Peace. So spending time with Peace, Jesus, is a perfect way to live the cycle of joy and peace.
Quieting is the Natural Way to Peace
Peace is also the natural way of quieting ourselves. Brain scientists have observed that when babies experience high-energy joyful encounters, they will turn away and quiet themselves briefly before they reengage with the stimulation that is producing joy.
This cycle produces and grows capacity in the brains of babies. The same thing can grow in us. The more easily we experience high-energy joy followed by the quiet and rest of peace, we are growing our own capacity for emotional resilience.
Practice the Presence of Peace
Here’s a little exercise you can deliberately do to experience peace with Jesus.
- Sit in a quiet, undistracted place. Ask Jesus for a peaceful memory.
- Let yourself relive that memory.
- Make note of the details of the scene. Enjoy reliving the peace you experienced then.
- Ask Jesus what does he wants you to know right now that would give you peace?
- Then ask Jesus, how would you like to increase my peace right now?
- Make note of what difference it will make to you when you do what he suggested? What effect does it have on your mind and body?
- This process integrates the experience with learning because your left brain can realize that actually stopping to ask God how to get peace does make a difference. Then you realize that you can choose to do that again anytime you want!
I hope this brief journey to find joy followed by peace was helpful to you. Let me know what you experienced.
You might be surprised to find out that I am not a brain scientist! Much of what I’ve learned about Joy and Peace is from Marcus Warner’s book, Building Bounce: how to grow emotional resilience from Deeper Walk International and Jim Wilder of Life Model Work: Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You. I use much of their discoveries in all of my coaching and heart-healing sessions. Click on the links to purchase.
You Can Get Your Peace of Joy
Don’t forget, I can lead you in a private Heart Healing Encounter Session. You can book one by clicking here
I hope you have begun to experience a moment or two of the cycle of joy and peace and can now put into practice the choice of returning to it whenever you want.
Until next week, may the Lord lead you to find the cycle of Joy and Peace that will lead you to the source of Sustainable Joy, Jesus!
How do you find face-to-face Joy? In today’s post, I will show you how.
Face-to-face Joy, or what I call Facetime Joy is found in your connection with Jesus. You can watch the video here.
Are you passionate like I was to find the way into the Lord’s presence? But, even if you’re only just slightly curious, that is enough to stay with me on this journey. So let’s get going.
In episodes 1 & 2 (Read Episode 1 here if you missed it) I told you that Joy is a feeling which is the response to someone who is happy to see you or be with you. I also told you that the feeling of Joy is experienced in the right hemisphere of your brain. The right side of the amazing creation of your brain is where you feel emotions, as well as seeing and visualizing. It’s where you daydream. It’s the part of your brain used as you create. It is said to hold your intuition and imagination.
You can watch the video here:
Face-to-Face Joy Through Meditation and Visualization
If you want to enter into Joy of the Lord, if you want to find the key to unlock sustainable joy, you need to use the part of your brain that God created to encounter Him. This is not found in memorizing scripture alone but is found in the meditation of that scripture, the visualization of what you read and its impact on you.
Let this set you free from limiting the God-given ability to see and hear him in order to Practice His Presence. Your imagination has been sanctified when you were made a new creation. Right now, because of your relationship with Jesus and all that he did for you, you are currently seated in Heavenly Places and therefore you are able to experience Heavenly things.
A John 4 Encounter with Jesus
Let’s practice experiencing God through scripture. Have you ever immersed yourself in a scene from scripture? For example, when Jesus interacted with the Samaritan woman at the well. Have you ever placed yourself at the well instead? Why not try it?
This is a good way to warm up your imagination. After this post, please read John 4:1-42. As you do, allow yourself to picture the scene in your own mind. Let it play out in your imagination. See Jesus, observe His face and expression. Is He happy to see you? How is He dressed? I’ve noticed that since I’ve been watching The Chosen, I see those scenes more easily in my mind. And I often see that version of Jesus. Personally, I feel that it’s OK to imagine Jesus however you want because none of us were alive then and we don’t have a credible memory to rely on. So seeing Jesus with the face of The Chosen actor, or the face of one of the magnificent Jesus paintings of Leonardo de Vinci or Akiane is perfectly legal.
It’s OK to picture Jesus any way you want.
Many of you are enjoying The Chosen show. How do you think those scenes were recreated. How about the dialogue? That’s a great example of using your sanctified imagination to encounter Jesus. The show has done a lot of the work of imagining for us. But it’s a great way to begin to practice hearing his voice.
The Conversation with Face-to-Face Joy
Back to John 4. See yourself as the Samaritan woman. Notice how you are dressed. What is the time of day? Is it hot? Dry? Are you thirsty?
How do you feel being addressed by this Jewish man? How would you respond? What are some of the feelings you have at that moment?
Now read this passage again and sit with it when you’re reading. Let a spontaneous flow of thoughts begin. Write them down in your journal. Ask simple questions of Jesus. My favorite is: “Jesus, what do you want me to know about this?”
Record your answer.
The first thing I’d like you to recognize is the feelings you are feeling because of the simplicity of the connection?
How do you feel about having this conversation with Jesus so far?
I’m guessing that JOY is beginning to percolate up inside of you as you discover how easy it is to meet with Jesus in a way that you initiated? Isn’t it amazing?
Are you willing to stay engaged with HIM at the well? If so, ask Him again, “Jesus, what do you want me to know about this?
An Important Clue
But here’s an important clue for you: If you will assume that Jesus is eager to meet with you whenever you want to meet, then he’s eager to speak too. I have found that usually, his voice is the first thought that comes to my mind. Don’t wait for an outside voice. He sounds like you. He has been sharing thoughts with you since you were a little girl. Lots of your ideas have actually been His. So don’t rule out the first easy-flowing thoughts that come when you ask HIM what he wants you to know. He wants you to know the answer!
How do you judge if you’re hearing HIS voice and not your own thoughts? When you gave your heart to Jesus, at that moment you became a new creation. You are already seated in heavenly places and His thoughts are now your thoughts. As you grow in the knowledge of God and surrender to His purpose for your life, you will recognize his voice. The measure to determine if you’re hearing God’s voice is to measure it against scripture. Is it something Jesus would say? Is it in line with His character?
Thoughts like “You’re stupid, you’re not good enough, you’re never going to hear his voice” do not line up with the word of God.
You Are Created to Hear His Voice
Do you know the scripture in John 10? Jesus says, “My sheep know my voice and I know them and they follow Me.” He has told you that you hear Him and can respond to Him.
Then, in perhaps the most beloved Psalm of all, Psalm 23, He tells you that He leads you in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. How has HE been leading you? You’ve been getting the spontaneous flow of thoughts and instructions from the Lord for years!
As I’ve told you in the previous episodes, JOY is a feeling that you feel when someone is happy to see you. What you felt when Jesus was happy to talk with you was in fact JOY! I just showed you how easy it is to get in his presence.
Will you practice this process? Read John 4, put on some favorite instrumental music (I call it soaking music), grab a journal, and have your conversation with Jesus. Don’t rush it. Give yourself time.
Facetime Meeting with Jesus
If this process was difficult for you, don’t fear – you’re not alone. Like me, you may have been taught that mediation is wrong, yet God invites us into a living and active relationship and friendship with Him. But, I can help you encounter the True, and Living Jesus to bring you Face-to-Face Joy! Book your own Heart Healing Encounter with Jesus Session with me. Then, you will meet Jesus and experience Face-to-Face Joy with the One who knows you and loves you and has so much to tell you, His friend.
Please share about your experience and If you have questions, I’ll try my best to answer.
Be sure to read my next post as I’ll tell you about the Peace that follows Joy.
Until then, may you now experience this key to unlock sustainable Joy on Your Kingdom Journey!
Joy in His Presence
Watch the video of this episode, Joy of Presence on my YouTube channel Your Kingdom Journey
Do you want sustainable joy? Sustainable Joy is relational. Joy is the feeling that comes when someone is happy to be with you. Today I’ll show you how to experience real Joy with the ONE who is truly happy to be with you, Jesus. You will discover the Joy of His Presence! Here’s the video you can watch Watch the Video Here
In my last post, I shared the intimate cry of my heart that came as I meditated on Psalm 91. I literally didn’t know how to enter the Secret Place. I didn’t know what was meant by “He, or she who dwells in the Secret Place.” I wanted to benefit from the promises found in this amazing Psalm. Eventually, I “found the way in” and when I did, guess what I discovered? JOY was there too. So, I can safely say that entering in the Presence of God is the key to finding JOY.
But is it sustainable? Is it something you can choose to initiate rather than begging the Lord to invade your space to encounter you? Yes, you can enter His Presence anytime you want.
Joy is Found in The Presence
Joy is found in The Presence. Do you know there is no Hebrew word for “Presence” as in the Presence of the Lord? The most common Hebrew term for “presence” is panim which is also translated as “face,” implying a close and personal encounter with the Lord. That means His Presence is a Face-to-Face encounter with Him.
This connection to joy makes perfect sense. Let me illustrate. When you’re happy to be with someone doesn’t it usually include seeing their eyes, their smile, and the overall expression of how they feel about you?
When you run into someone you haven’t seen for a while and you call their name to be greeted with a frown, how does that make you feel?
It’s the twinkle in someone’s eye that sparks when they see you. It’s the mutual enjoyment of each other that produces joy. That’s why your own countenance and expression are key in your successful relationship. Learning to smile, even when you don’t feel like it, will change the atmosphere around you and invite joy into the room. I’ll talk more about this in a future episode.
Joy is relational. It’s a feeling you simply can’t choose. It’s a response to being with someone who is happy to see you.
Is Jesus Happy to Be With You?
What you believe about how Jesus feels about you may in fact be limiting your ability to find joy. Do you believe Jesus is happy to be with you? I’m not actually asking if you KNOW that he is, because if you’ve ever read a bible you know that. But do you believe that he is?
What do I mean? Well, if you feel like you don’t measure up, or if you feel unworthy of HIS love and acceptance for any reason, guess what that will do? It will keep you from seeking His face. When you don’t seek His face, you won’t be able to find sustainable joy! It’s that simple.
The world’s feeling of joy is usually built around things or accomplishments. And while they will bring a degree of joyful feelings through accomplishments, like getting this video edited and published, those short-lived feelings or joy won’t sustain you and will drive you with more need for accomplishments in order to feel joy, reinforcing the cycle of ‘doing’ to earn approval.
Once you have put your faith and love in Jesus there is nothing more you can do to earn his love. His love is unconditional and constant. He is always happy to be with you.
Too Hard to Believe
For some, that’s just too hard to believe. Allow me to share a few scriptures to remind you how much he loves you and how happy he is to be with you.
Consider Ephesians 3:16-21, NLT I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Romans 8:38-39, ESV For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Or Matthew 28:20b, NIV And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
So if he’s always with you, if he’s happy to be with you because nothing will serrate you from his love, what’s keeping you from His Face?
You just may not know how to see him.
I’m going to tell you how, but first, I need to tell you about your brain.
Your Right Brain
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that God created your whole brain, not just the logical, reasoning part, right?
Your left brain is wonderfully made and capable of intellect, reason, logic, and verbal skills. It’s the part of your brain that you use to study and memorize scripture. It highlights linear thinking. It’s the part of your brain you relied on heavily to get through school. Much of your church activities use your left brain.
But your right brain is also beautifully and wonderfully made. That is where your creativity, imagination, and intuition are. It’s where you “see” and dream.
Guess what else is in the right brain? Feelings!
Yes, that’s right. If joy is a feeling when you are with someone who is happy to see you, then you are using the right brain. For some strange reason, the “church” has made a strong effort to discourage the right brain over the years. I remember being told that using my imagination is ‘soulish’ and not from God, that my soul is bad. I’m not sure how that ever crept in, but why would God declare the way he made us bad?
Especially when that’s our joy center!
If joy is a feeling that means the way to access joy is through our Right Brain. In my next post, I will teach you how to do that.
The Questions to Ask Yourself
But until then, will you please consider the question I asked earlier? What do you believe about how Jesus feels about you? What’s keeping you from seeing yourself worthy to be face-to-face with Him?
If you discover an answer you’d like to change, or if you want help with further exploration, consider booking a private session with me. You can choose from my offerings here: Book a Personal Session. Select a package to save up to 30%!
I hope you’ll return next week as we continue to unlock the Keys to Finding Sustainable Joy in Your Kingdom Journey!