Joy is something God wants for us! Jesus said what he said and did what he did so we could have his joy. He wants our joy to be full and overflowing (see John 15:11). In fact, Joy is a result (fruit) of the Holy Spirit alive in us. Joy literally changes our thought patterns and responses to our life circumstances, which in turn change the circumstances in which we find ourselves! So, if Jesus wants to give joy and I want to have it, what is the issue?
Everyday life steals our joy... it just does. Whether it is our attitudes, others' actions, or just the crappy results of a broken world, joy is drained away. When joy decreases, many of the undesired things in our life increase.
So let's make the decision to create the environment for joy. Here are 5 ways to increase joy:
1) Practice gratitude: Thank everyone every chance you get, give people the benefit of the doubt, and think about a couple of things for which you are deeply thankful. Ask people each day what they are thankful for and share yours. This works great over a meal!
2) Slow down: Joy does not come in isolation, it comes in relationship. Take moments in each day to slow down and make the time to interact with people and with God. You can do this in the midst of a busy schedule!
3) Eliminate the drama: Create drama-free zones. Don't let others steal your joy by sucking you into their ridiculous reactions to life. Take a stand! While you can't control many environments around you, you can control your home. Make your home your castle and set the parameters!
4) Dwell on the promises: You need to deal with the circumstances all around you and you need to do that well. But as you do, dwell on what you know to be true, right, noble and... Philippians 4:8 - memorize it!
5) LAUGH as often as possible
I'm not one to make guarantees, but I guarantee this one - these 5 things will increase Joy in your life.