conquering the joy zappers of life

All we have to do is live in the world for a day and it becomes evident there are joy zappers. We ourselves, other people, and even things that attempt to, while intentionally or inadvertently, steal our happiness seem to lurk around every corner.

Perhaps you recognize some of these joy zappers:

Illness. Ranking toward the top of joy zappers is illness. According to the National Health Council, “About half of all adults have a chronic condition”. Chronic illness, chronic pain, and chronic disease are tough and can feel unmanageable, frightful, and depressing.

Mean people. Mean people are akin to weeds in a garden of flowers. It can be beyond difficult at times to react in a God-glorifying manner with “weedy” folks.

Complaining. Constant complaining can hinder our joy and make us forget how blessed we are.

Toxic media. Toxic media has taken on a whole new face in recent days. False news, censorship, lies, attacks, and more contribute to our already high stress levels in a world that has appeared to have derailed.

Idols. Idols, or anything we put above God in our lives, can come in many forms and can quickly steal our joy. Place the importance of material items – such as new cars to compete with the neighbors or an unlimited amount of charging on your charge card with no ability to pay the balance due – over everything else and you’ll quickly discover the stress of this common joy zapper.

Trials. Trials are never fun. Whether in the form of illness, relationship issues, money struggles, or when life just doesn’t go right, no one wants to hang out permanently in the struggles of life. I was recently speaking to my mom about one of the trials that has weighed heavily on my heart these past few weeks. “God is definitely growing you,” my mom tenderly told me. And she is right. God does grow us through trials. It is not fun to experience any type of trial, and most of us would like to learn whatever it is God is teaching us sooner rather than later.

Relationship conflict. Is there anything more stressful than relationship conflict?

Gossip. Being on the receiving end of gossip is an instant joy zapper and a painful reminder of how dangerous the tongue can be.

Unrighteous anger and bitterness. Unrighteous anger and bitterness can easily tip the scales against having a joyful life.

Comparison trap, procrastination, perfectionism, people-pleasing, worry, and fear. Comparing ourselves to others, procrastination, perfectionism, and people pleasing can all take us from happiness to dissatisfaction, discontentment, and a melancholy outlook. Likewise, worry and fear can take something meant to be pleasurable and turn it into something to dread.

Excessive busyness. Excessive busyness not only drags us down, but it’s unhealthy to be too busy. It causes stress and makes it difficult to find peace.

And there are many more that we could add to the list. Some of the items listed above are things others use to steal our joy. Others are things and demands we put on ourselves that steal our joy.

So what can we do when the joy zappers fly in and attempt to take root in our lives?

Pray diligently and often. Lord, I surrender this joy zapper in my life to you. Please show me what I am to learn from it and grow me to be more like You through it. Help me to trust You more fully through any obstacles I may be facing. While I know you might not take it completely away, I know that You will walk with me through it, and I praise You for that.

Set your mind on things above. In Matthew 14, Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink. When we keep our eyes on Him, we are held safely and will not sink.

Remember who He is. It is so easy to forget that the One who spoke this very world into existence, who created our innermost being (Psalm 139:13), and who died so we who have put our faith in Him may have eternal life someday, has also overcome the world. He is bigger than anything we find ourselves in the midst of. He can and will give us peace over the most difficult joy zapper.

Be mindful of where you spend your time. One of the biggest traps we can allow ourselves to fall into is spending time with the wrong things (or people!) When we constantly fill our minds with the news, negative social media posts, or angry music we can cause our perception of things to become skewed. Spending time with unhealthy things and people can also cause a shift in our personalities. As I have told my daughters many times, “garbage in = garbage out”. Don’t let the joy zappers of where we spend our time weigh us down.

Spend time in the Word. A better place to spend our time would be to spend it in His Word. Taking time each day, preferably in the morning before you start your day, to get to know Him through Scripture is a surefire anecdote for problems to become smaller.

Grow in the Lord. Are we further in our faithwalk this year than last year? When our growth becomes stagnate, our chances of being thwarted by a joy zapper is greater.

Spend time with godly family and friends. There are few things more energizing than spending time with a sibling in Christ. Godly family and friends can pray for us as we endure the struggles of our joy zappers, hold us accountable in our walk with the Lord and through temptations, and pray for us.

Set reasonable goals. One of the biggest joy zappers is busyness. I find myself guilty often of trying to cram too much into one hour/day/week/month. We weren’t designed to be on stress overload, as we navigate the 400,000,000 items on a to-do list. Instead, set reasonable goals and achieve them in bite-sized chunks.

Spend some time in Creation. An excellent remedy to combat joy zappers is to spend some time in Creation.

Forgive. Unforgiveness can steal our joy quicker than we might realize. And not only can it steal our joy on its own, it also leads to bitterness. Ephesians 4:31-32 has a lot to say about how God thinks we should handle bitterness. He tells us to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” And while it may be nearly impossible to forgive someone at times, we need only to remember how much we are forgiven for and what that need for forgiveness did to the Savior when He went to the Cross for us.

Nothing can steal our joy in Christ. It is more than mere happiness. It is a deep abiding knowledge that we are His and that we will spend eternity with Him, no matter what transpires in our lives. No matter what comes our way or threatens to derail us, Jesus is still on the throne.


Before you go, check out these other posts:

13 verses to comfort the weary soul

who are you behind the screen?

for such time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

the importance of living out your faith

7 ways to inspire others

5 ways to be happier

the video camera is always on, part 1

the importance of mentorship

importance of mentorship

We hear a lot these days about mentors and mentorship. By why is mentorship important?

Why is mentorship Important?

I was fortunate as a child to have my extended family living nearby.  Not only was I blessed to have parents who loved and cared for me, but my aunts, uncles, grandma, and grandpa were also hugely instrumental in my life. As a teen, a dear woman named Marge spoke into my life about the love of Jesus. I am thankful for those mentors in my life who took the time to come alongside me.

When we take the time to mentor others, we show them that we care. That we are there through the difficult times, and that we are committed to helping them become the best they can be.

Mentoring makes a difference in every life. No matter what our age, if we have someone invested in our lives, it makes an impact for the better.

Anyone can be a mentor, but an effective mentor is an encourager, they are available, and they set a good example.

Titus 2 7

Life can be challenging. Mentors see the end result, not the here and now. They help the one they mentor to achieve those goals that are important to him or her.

We all need a mentor.

In our church, I have mentors whom I look up to – godly women who are examples in their knowledge (and application!) of God’s Word, the way they love their husbands, and the way they truly care for others. Most of these women are much older than I am. They have life experience and are mature in their faith.

My teen daughters and I have had many great discussions about who they would turn to (besides my husband and me) if they were going through a difficult time. Brainstorm with your kids some godly adults that they could call upon if times were tough. Someone they look up to, can be honest with, who will pray for and with them, and who will provide wise counsel.

Proverbs 27 17

When we mentor someone else, we help shape their lives for the better.

Who has been an important mentor in your life?

the importance of friendship

importance of friendshipSome of us have had friends since we were toddlers. Long, abiding friendships that started while we were still in diapers and continued throughout school, through marriages, and starting our own families. But just as precious are those friendships that we found later in life where it feels as though we have known each other our entire lives because we “just clicked.”

So, why is friendship important?

Life is hard. In today’s world, we face a myriad of difficulties from illness to job loss. One of the many blessings the Lord gives us is the blessing of friends. Someone to come alongside us when times are tough. Someone to be there for us, and to pray for and with us.

But it’s not only friendship, but quality friendship that matters. Proverbs 18:24 has much to say about that very topic.

Proverbs 18 24

What exactly is an unreliable friend? Here are some qualifications of being unreliable:

undependable, deceptive, untrustworthy, capricious, false, unstable, and fickle.

Not good qualities for a friend. Proverbs 18:24 tells us that if we have friends that exhibit those traits, we are in danger of coming to ruin. However, on the flipside is a friend who is loyal, steadfast, devoted, faith, constant, abiding, and true. We should also strive to be this type of friend to our friends.

In addition, Proverbs 27:9 tells us that a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs 27 9In these days of busyness, chaos, difficult times, and so many unknowns, refreshment of the soul is more than welcome.

So, what are some qualities of a good friend?

  • They are avid prayer warriors and aren’t afraid to pray for and with you wherever and whenever necessary.
  • They are an ardent cheerleader and support you, even if your dreams are a bit crazy at times.
  • They gently tell you in the kindness and humility if necessary if there’s something amiss that you need to address.
  • They promote an evenly-matched (or close-to-evenly-matched) friendship (as we all have times when we are the more “needy” one). Meaning they are there for you and you are there for them and it’s not one-sided.
  • They are a good listener. We’ve all been around those folks that only talk about themselves or their problems. All. The. Time. Good friends talk as well as listen.
  • They have integrity. Nothing is worse than discovering a close friend has betrayed you.
  • They stand up for you in times of battle. When the bully is knocking down your door, your close friend is there to take on the enemy with you.
  • They help you strive to be your best self. In Proverbs 27:17, we are reminded that iron sharpens iron. A quality friend rejoices with you when you rejoice, and weeps with you when you weep (Romans 12:15). They spur you on and offer encouragement.Proverbs 27 17

Most of us have several friends and acquaintances, but who do we call in those times of need – those times of struggle – those times when no one else quite “gets us”? Those are the friends that God placed in our lives as gifts.

The ones we are blessed to have.