How Do I Make Growing in Joy Part of My Very Busy Life?

I believe God wants us to experience a lot more joy and peace than we generally do. He made us to be a people of joy and peace, and He redeems us to experience His love in a way that fills us with joy and peace (Romans 15:13). Recently, when I shared this with a friend, she asked me, “How in the world do I fit pursuit of joy and peace into my extremely busy life? I already feel overwhelmed!”

Before I give some advice on that, let me just reiterate that I don’t think that joy is something that is an optional add-on for the Christian life. It’s right at the heart of the kingdom. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). This is rooted in our creation. We are created to experience joy in God as our highest goal. The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins, “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Joy is what it’s all about.

In addition, there is a connection between joy and all our other duties and responsibilities. If we are filled with joy, we can serve more readily and more easily. We can be more efficient. A sorrowful, heavy heart keeps us from moving forward. The more joy we can feel, the more easily we can move.

So, how do we do it?

First, remember that joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and it is readily available to all who ask.

Second, ask for the gift. Begin your day with even a brief meditation on God and His goodness. Think of how He made you, takes care of you, loves you, redeems you, and is present with you to guide you, lead you, and comfort you. Then, pray for your day and ask God to fill you with His joy. Do this every day.

Third, schedule some time for thoughtful reflection, even if it’s only 10 minutes a week. When you do that, ask, What kept me from joy and peace this week? Then ask, how could I have thought differently about that situation or seen God’s goodness in a way that would have enabled me to continue to experience joy? Finally, write down what your thought is or record it in mp3 on your phone, just some way in which you can review it.

This third point is the key practice. I find that there are two ways that can really help you thoughtfully reflect on your life. The first is to write down what happened, to journal. I think this is best because it provides a record of where you’ve been. The second is to talk about it with someone you trust, i.e., verbal processing. You can do both or either. The key is to do it.

Fourth, keep doing it.

And that’s it. If you do these things week by week, I think you’ll be surprised how much progress you will make in a year and how much God will work in your life.


Note: see a fuller discussion of these issues in my article, “Why So Little Joy and Peace in Believers?”

Photo by mauro mora on Unsplash


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