Those crazy hormones back at it? Probably.
Too much 5:00 news? Sure.
Stress at work? Financial pressure? Parenting dilemmas? Yes, yes and yes.
Watching helplessly the last few months as a friend slowly loses her battle with cancer? Definitely.
If you can’t relate to any of this, if your faith is unshakable, you brush off disappointment with ease, and you’re overflowing with joy that just won’t quit, read no further (that’s sort of annoying, by the way). If, on the other hand, you’re like me and at times struggle with lack of motivation, general malaise, or an occasional bout of the blues, check the following list. These are the 5 fastest, easiest and most reliable ways we can lose our joy.
- Assume that things will never change. No matter how many times I get through a tough situation, seemingly unsolvable problem or just plain nuisance, no matter how many times I reach the rainbow after the storm, my joy evaporates when I think that this time, this situation, this problem, this difficulty is going to last forever. So, to get rid of joy, simply repeat the mantra: There’s no way out. Stay stuck. And stay joy-less. Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)
- Allow envy in. When I let myself believe that the shiny, smiley, filtered photos we see (and share) on FB/Insta/Twitter, as well as the glossy perfection that endlessly hits us on television screens and magazine covers is a true representation of people’s lives, my joy fades. Perfect kids, perfect spouses, perfect vacations, perfect teeth. No problems. Next step: compare that silly thinking to our own (naturally imperfect) lives. See ya, joy. Envy rots the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)
- Listen to the wrong voices. Another way to chase away joy is to hang around negative people. Oh, and don’t forget to become overly concerned with what they think. Let fear of other’s opinions, and a few inevitable criticisms, dictate your decisions. Try, try, try to please everyone around you and be swayed by their views. Make sure to take other people’s reactions (as well as yourself) very, very seriously. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Am I trying to please man? If I were, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galations 1:10)
- Be a slug. My joy scatters rapidly when I disregard the fact that emotional well-being is directly linked to physical health. So keep joy at bay by staying on the couch and staying out of the gym. Try this: eat whatever you want. Don’t go outside. Shun fresh air. Binge-watch on NetFlix. Disregard the fact that physical exercise, even a 20-minute walk, releases a flurry of endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that promote enthusiasm and optimism. If we want a lapse in joy, simply grab the remote and a tub of Mint Chip. Trust me on this one. I pray that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:2)
- Question your faith. This one’s a biggie. Probably the most efficient way I lose my joy is to stop believing for one second that God is big enough, strong enough and loving enough to answer when I call. Joy disappears the instant we wander down that incredibly enticing path, the one with the big sign that says, God isn’t listening. He isn’t able. Or worst of all, He doesn’t care. This is especially tempting when someone close to us is suffering. Life is just coincidence. No rhyme, no reason. No greater purpose. Say no to trusting the Lord and His higher plan… and watch joy flee. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him (Romans 15:13)
I guess going through this list has helped a bit. I mean I put down the Mint Chip long enough to get off the couch and write this article. Hope there was a little joy in it for you, too. xoxo