For the last few months, i have been focusing on finding joy in life even when it feels mediocre. I mentioned in a previous post that I had been a feeling a lack of desire to spend time with God. To be honest I was in quite a rough place and going through some stuff that I was not dealing with well. Instead I chose to wallow in self pity which only drew me away from God. I have since learned to deal with my issues by first and foremost leaning on God and trusting that I can totally rely on him, even with problems that seem insignificant. I decided to write down some things I have done to help me have a more positive outlook on life and help me draw closer to God
1. Spending Time God
One of the easiest and simplest ways to grow closer to God is to just spend time with him. This looks different for every person and it can change with every season of life. For me, spending time with God means reading his word, memorizing and reflecting on it. This has not always been an easy thing for me to do.
Finding Joy these last few weeks/months has meant learning who God is and learning about his love for me. It has meant learning to trust in Jesus and to confide in him. There is no problem that is too small or too big for him. He holds me together when I fall apart. He is my refuge, my shelter and my protecter. He is my most trusted friend.
“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
[Psalm 94 v 19]
What I have learned and am still learning is that when I am filled with his truth, I cannot be lured away by the lies of the devil. When we choose to fill our hearts and minds with God’s word, his spirit works within us and fills us with light. One practical ways in which I am more joyful is that the days I choose to spend time with God, I think and feel more positively. Having a postive mindset can impact our day to day lives in remarkable ways. When I give my heart and life to God, I have peace. When I trust him with my problems, I have peace because he carries me and he promised to help me through.
Now it is easy enough to say “I should spend time with God more” but how do we actually do it??
2. Staying Motivated
A really simple tip for spending more time with God is TO MAKE TIME. MAKE time for him because there is nothing else more important. MAKE time because he is your life line. MAKE time because you have time. MAKE time because he is your priority, at least he should be. Establishing a routine has been a helpful way for me to do this. I read the bible in he mornings as I travel for work, a time when I am not busy or my mind is not occupied by other things.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
[Romans 8 v 28]
Another important part of finding Joy is to do the things you love. Now I am the kind of person who has lots of ideas about things to do and try, however I am not good at following through with these. I have spent the last couple of weeks making goals for myself that I would like to achieve and one thing that has really helped me to follow through with these is to start small. This has been a big help to stay motivated as my goals seem more manageable. Instead of throwing myself completely into something and getting overwhelmed, I have chosen to take my time to enjoy the process.
Now this word I don’t like. Discipline. It is something I struggle with and have for the longest time but something I always strive for. Hebrews 12 v 11 perfectly sums up why discipline is so important:
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Having discipline is such an important part of being a Christian. We need discipline to prioritise God and other things that are important in our lives. I don’t know about you but I am constantly fighting against the urge to do other things such as watching up on TV rather than picking up my bible and listening to what God has to say to me. Making the right choices takes discipline, we have to work on it. Self control is after all one of the fruits of the spirit! (Galations 5 v 23).
As someone who tends to be ruled by my emotions more often than I would like to admit, having discipline means I cannot just quit or bury my head in the sand when I feel unhappy or when life gets unpleasant. Life would be quite chaotic if that was the case. Discipline has helped me find joy because it keeps me focused on a higher goal. When I feel down or stressed, focusing on the ultimate goal keeps me motivated.
Lastly, having discipline is good for your mental health. It feels good to achieve goals that are difficult, whether it is getting up at 6am or choosing to go to the gym early on a Saturday instead of sleeping in or avoiding that 3rd piece of cake, all things which apply to me! I find that when I lack Discipline, it is very easy to disappoint myself as I lack the motivation to do things that I know will be good for me. However I find Joy choosing to do hard things, which ultimately give me self confidence and make me feel like a boss.
Nonetheless it is a continuous struggle but one that I do not have to confront it on my own. God has my back, he fills me with the strength I need to be more self-controlled. Therefore do not be discouraged if discipline is something you struggle with because you are not alone!
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
[2 Corinthians 12 v 9]