“God, why am I lacking joy?” I prayed.
“Because you have yet to pursue joy right where you are.” was His response.
“Oh Lord, how you humble me.”
Too often I look for joy outside of where I am. Anyone else?
I often buy the lie that my joy lies somewhere else. Especially as a stay at home mom. I look forward to when I’m out next. My next break or the next time I get to do something for myself. I think my joy lies in the future most of the time. Like it’s something I have yet to get to.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of days filled with joy and thankfulness. But my thoughts and my heart aren’t necessarily seeing that as the joy I’m “searching” for.
But why? Why do we look at our lives this way?
I can’t help but think about Paul in Philippians 4. Here, a man who has been said to be imprisoned in the most disgusting of conditions, and he reminds us to “always be joyful” Phil. 4:4. He then goes on in verse 6 and tells us “don’t worry about anything and instead just pray and you’ll have God’s peace.” I mean, if I was beaten on multiple accounts, and imprisoned in urine and feces, I don’t know if I’d be saying the same thing.
Then lastly, he says “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13
This was a man on mission for God. It didn’t matter where he was or what his circumstances were, his joy was in the Lord, right where he was at any given moment.
All I can think of when I read Paul’s words is “man, I have so far to go!” My joy and my mission can often go off track as soon as a kid spills their milk at breakfast!
After God responded to me that day, I began to think about what it would look like if I really pursued joy right in my home. What would it look like if I didn’t look outside of where God had me to look for joy?
The more I thought about it, it would look like having a lot more fun with my children. It would look like finding ways to laugh more in my home. I would give generously from a place of excitement instead of a place of grumbling. I would look forward to waking up to a house full of kids, instead of being overwhelmed by them, because I would know that my joy was right there in that day. If I’m on mission for Christ, my seasons of life are never in vain.
Every single day, I believe my feet are planted where He put them. And if that’s the case, then I know He is inviting me to join Him in His work right there. And that should be exciting!
No matter where God puts me, whether it’s on the mission field in El Salvador, in a house full of kids or even in a hospital bed, He’s never asking me to look for an escape route. His desire is that I ask Him, “what do you want me to do right here today?” And then as soon as I accept His mission, my joy, my peace, and my salvation are restored.
We must remember His promises to us. I believe the promise in Jeremiah 29:11 when He says: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But we can’t enjoy His plan if we aren’t willing to follow it.
Live it out:
If you are in a season where you feel stuck, I encourage you today to take a different perspective.
- Ask God into your situation.
- Ask God to show you why He has you there.
- Ask God what He wants from you there.
- Lastly, write down 3 ways you will infuse joy exactly where you are today.
My Tips for being a joyful mama:
Being in the mom game now for 6 years, I have found so many things that bring me joy right where I am and so I thought giving you my list could help you!
- Wake up before the kids! Alone time to pray and have your coffee and meditate on what you’re thankful for can be a game changer. I did a previous episode here on this.
- Workout! Whether it’s 20 minute stroller walk with your kids, or a 20 minute online workout, DO IT! You will feel strong and energized. And nothing changes your mood like a workout. My favorite is yoga sculpt from the Tone It Up App. You will feel like you are at the beach looking at blue waters while you do it. And the beach alone puts me in a great mood!
- Self Improvement! I love listening to self improvement books from Audible or podcasts that encourage my role as a mom! My favorite mama podcasts are Risen Motherhood and Finding Joy In Your Home.
- Reading! When I tell you I never read until I was about 31 years old, I am telling you the truth. The most I read were Facebook comments and magazines! But it’s honestly a testimony of who God is. I asked for wisdom and He gave me a burning desire for books. Now my book collection is ridiculous. I can’t even keep up with the books I buy! I love them! But here are a couple that have really helped me with my motherhood journey and helped me be a more joyful mom: 1. Satisfied – it taught me about being satisfied right where I am. It’s a beautiful book. I wish I could buy one for every mama I know. And it’s so pretty it makes a gorgeous coffee table book. 2. The Best Yes– “Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands.” I was a people pleaser and saying no was always so hard for me. But this book helped me so much and helped me leave room to love my family better and from a place of rest and joy.
- Devotionals! When I need to refocus, or just have a little time in the morning before the kids wake up to meditate on God’s Word, these help me immensely! Here are two of my favorite: The Pocket Devotional for Women and Moments with God for Moms.
- Eat Well and Drink Water- What we put in our bodies matters. When we are loaded with caffeine and sugar, we can go from full of anxiety to down in a lazy slump. It’s so important to feel good inside.
- Protect your gates- this goes for who you let in your life to what you watch, read and devote time to consuming. Whatever we put in our bodies and minds will set up shop and live there. We must consume what is good. I don’t need the media living rent free in my mind and body. (2020 taught me a lot about this.)
I hope these 7 tips help ignite a change in your journey to a more joyful motherhood and a more joyful life!