On Monday I shared some things we can do that will help us become thankful so that we can praise God in the midst of the storms of our lives. Here are some more things that have helped me over the years and I pray they help you as well.
1. Remember that joy and happiness are two different things
Keep things in proper perspective. Happiness, as defined by Merriam Webster as good fortune or prosperity, a state of well-being and contentment, joy or a pleasurable or satisfying experience.
Joy is listed as the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires, delight, the expression or exhibition of such emotion, gaiety, a state of happiness or felicity, bliss, a source or cause of delight.
So happiness is dependent upon external circumstances, whereas joy exists in spite of whatever is going on around us and is a result of what’s happening on the inside. You can still have joy even though you are not happy because you can have a hope because you are in God’s will and will be rewarded in heaven even if you aren’t here on earth. You can be joyous in your strength or your endurance or your obedience even if you are unhappy about your health or your finances or your relationships.
2.Do things that bring you joy
Look at pretty pictures of God’s world and remember how everything is delicately balanced for us and given for us to use. It’s hard to look at he beauty of God’s world and not feel some amount of joy.
Listen to uplifting music and sing along or sing harmony. I am a wanna be musician. I used to write songs and I was a voice major in college before I switched to Speech Communication. I can’t help but feel better when I hear beautiful music and sing along. It usually makes me feel better to sing along to praise and worship music sometimes the same song over and over again. Here’s one of my favorites:
Call a friend. Sometimes you need a real, living person you can talk things over with. Just talking through our feelings can help us feel a bit better because we have expressed them and someone cared enough to listen. Many times we aren’t looking for a solution because we already know what our options are, but sometimes we may be surprised as our friend’s ability to help us find one! Even if nothing gets resolved, you will probably find yourself feeling better just because you were able to share your feelings with a good and trusted friend.
3.Read encouraging devotionals
Not devotionals on being thankful, but ones that encourage you. BibleGateway has a devotionals you can subscribe to that I have found helpful: Encouragement for Today, Devotions for Women and Devotions for Moms. I don’t recommend the one called Standing Strong in the Storm because it’s mostly about people who have endured religious persecution. While that might be important to read and inspiring at other times, I find that they are not something we can relate to when we are in the middle of stress. Unless your struggle is religious persecution on a grand scale, I find I can’t relate to them and they make me feel bad for even being upset about financial or health or relationship issues which doesn’t help me feel any better about my situation.
4. Help someone else
I know it sounds a bit backwards, but it can often feel good to be the solution for someone else’s problem. Sometimes we are almost paralyzed by our fear or stuck in our sadness that we feel a complete lack of control over our lives. It can feel empowering or at least uplifting to be the solution to something, no matter how small the issue is. As they used to say back when I was a little girl, “try it; you’ll like it.”
You may not be able to become happy about your circumstances, but you can do things that bring you some joy. This joy will help us see the blessings God has put in our lives and this will, eventually, allow us to thank God and even praise him in the storm.
Now that we have a few things we can do that will help us become more joyous, next week I will share about what happens to us when we are thankful. What happens to our feelings and what happens to our communication.
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