“You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)
Find your purpose and calling and live in it.
There is nothing more fulfilling than living out your calling in this world. I happen to believe that one of the highest callings a woman can have is that of being a wife and mom tasked with raising the next generation of believers. But, along with that holy calling, God has gifted women (and men) with different skills and abilities that are to be used to further God’s purposes on this earth. In addition, he has put specific desires within our hearts to put our particular gifts to use. Most women know where their strengths lie. That is a great starting place. Several years ago, our church, in a small group format, read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. If you are not sure what I mean by your “purpose and calling”, this is a great resource for you to help determine and refine your purpose
Make it a priority to spend time in God’s Word daily and in prayerful communion with Him.
My very best days occur when I take the time to read God’s Word and spend time in meditation and prayer first thing in the morning. An early morning time may not work for you, but, finding time to commune with God is essential for a joy-filled life. Just like the relationship we have with a good friend, which can flounder or fizzle out if it is neglected; nourishing that friendship, energizes and uplifts us. Our Christian faith is based on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Take time to make it a solid one. Talk to Him, thank Him, and…hear from Him.
Establish routines and habits in your home that will lead to peace and order.
It is very hard to have a joy-filled life amidst chaos and confusion. I am an orderly and organized person by nature and no longer have little ones at home, so this comes pretty easy for me. I realize it’s not so easy for everyone. Here’s a hint for parents of teenagers (of which I have one still at home), close their door! I am extremely happy and content when my home is freshly cleaned and in order. I mean it really lifts my spirits. Make little changes that will lead to a more peaceful atmosphere…you’ll not only feel better yourself, you’ll see a difference in your family. Order brings peace.
Learn to say “no” and to refrain from over-commitment.
I said goodbye to hectic hurriedness long ago and it made my life exponentially better! Again, when you are a mom to little ones, there will be a certain amount of hurriedness as you search for shoes and socks, pack 4 or 5 (or more) lunches, and scurry out the door for taxi duty, but take the time to prioritize what’s important. I mean in the big picture. Do you have to serve as team mom, classroom parent, and PTA president simultaneously? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking…”No one else can do it as well as I can”, or “I don’t want to let them down”. Sometimes there are other people for whom it will be a blessing to serve in a particular capacity…they just haven’t spoken up. Let the quiet ones have a turn! And always, always keep in mind that the needs of your husband and children (if you are a mom) should be your first priority. One more point: If you are looking to over-involvement to meet your need for acceptance or validation…then you are barking up the wrong tree.
Make time to serve others.
Nothing brings joy like serving someone in need. It takes our eyes off of ourselves and our own problems and puts our focus on another of God’s precious children. We were made to give love and to care about others. There are so many big and small ways in which we can do this. If we will pray for eyes to see the needs around us, God will open them. As Christians, we are his hands and feet in the world. Think about your gifts…how are you perfectly suited to meet someone’s needs in your church family, neighborhood, or community? Try it and see what joy it brings to be a blessing to another human being.
I hope you will consider implementing these 5 tips for living a more joy-filled life. I would add that a joy-filled life does not mean an always happy one. There will be times in life filled with tears and heartache, no doubt… but, with Jesus Christ as the center of our lives, we can have a deep and abiding joy even through the trials, difficulties and tragedies that will most certainly come!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:12-13 (NIV)