Are you missing the benefits of joy in family life and ministry because of these three mistakes?
Mistake #1 – Thinking joy is something it’s not. I made this mistake too. I thought it was some kind of “floaty” elevated experience only seldom experienced by mere mortals such as myself. I learned from Dr. Jim Wilder that it does not have to be a huge ecstatic experience. Instead, joy is…
…produced when someone is glad to see me.  And I would add, and “you are/were glad to be with them!”
Joy can have many levels of intensity. It can be the feeling you had as a child when your mother made chocolate pudding and let you lick the spoon. Everything within you and about you enjoyed licking the bits of pudding from the pan and the spoon. Your delight and appreciation brought a smile to her face as her eyes danced with delight at your delight.
Joy can be the wave of appreciation that washes over you when you call a trustee to come help fix a problem with the heating system…on his day off and he comes cheerfully.
Joy can be the feeling you have when you hear your favorite singer, favorite instrumental piece, or the voice of a loved one. It can be the quiet contentment of snuggles with your spouse or another family member.
It can also be the fun of a family get together with stories flying, a conference well executed or your favorite kind of adrenaline rush that leaves your body vibrating and blood pulsing.
Joy is like that—it has a rhythm of rising and falling from intensity to quietly resting calm. It is all joy and our bodies are built for that rhythm. Our brains need both the intensity and the rest from intensity in the same way that our muscles need vigorous exercise and then rest.
Another hallmark of joy is the smiles, the face lighting up and the eyes sparkling. Joy lights you up.
Mistake #2 — Substitute pseudo-joy for the real thing. If some of the 19 relational brain skills dropped out of your family, you never had the opportunity to learn them. You may have learned that BEEPS [i]provide a brain chemistry mix that is similar to joy. Your body craves joy; it runs on joy but if pseudo-joy is all you know, then that is where you turn. Do you self-medicate to calm your cravings? Instead of following the addictive directive, use your craving as a trigger to remind you to do something different. For example:
- Crave coffee? On your way to the coffee pot, practice appreciating the person who makes it.
- Crave sweets? Let the desire for sweetness remind you to text or phone your spouse.
- Crave unconditional love?
Practice appreciating your spouse, a family member or difficult person for something he/she does well, and watch the difference it makes.
Mistake #3 — Blame God for not coming through for you. Feel like He doesn’t have your back? Or that He is ignoring you? Instead of being angry with God, ask to see your situation through His eyes. This is called “having an Immanuel moment.”
You can be so thoroughly absorbed with circumstances that you cannot see what God is accomplishing through them. Allowing circumstances to chew on you or drive you is a way to become intensely restless, develop tension problems or ulcers. When you give your best and nothing changes, you are tempted to discouragement, feel that you must be defective in some way, to self medicate or to quit.
Anger at God that seethes below the surface spoils relationships, with leaders and volunteers, but is especially corrosive to relationships at home. Seeing from God’s perspective changes attitudes; feelings come into alignment with His will and emotions settle.
Low joy in life can take you on a downward spiral of depression, addiction, low self-esteem and discouragement.
Benefits of Joy — Joy keeps relationships bigger than the problems. It can rebuild relationships at work and home; bring freedom from addictions and cravings. It renews relationship with God.
Joy is powerful medicine!
Order a copy of Share Immanuel and learn more about how to have an Immanuel Lifestyle, click here.
Learn the 19 Thrive skills. Attend the Thrive Training Register here:
July 14th to July 18, 2014
THRIVE training in East Peoria, IL.
Relational brain skills give you the edge.
Fewer ideas and MORE solutions.
Hands-on training in the 19 skills.
Joy changes everything.
Attend Connexus classes or bring a Connexus class to your church. For more information on Connexus go here.
 Wilder, E. James PhD., Khouri, Edward M., Coursey, Chris M., Sutton, Shelia D., Joy Starts Here, Shepherd’s House, Peroia, Il, 2013. ISBN 978-1-935629-10-8.
 Wilder, E. James, PhD, Living From The Heart Jesus Gave You, Revised, Shepherd’s House, 2,000, p. 11.
If you have comments or questions be sure to pop them into the comment box. We are happy to reply!
May your joy be full,
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Twitter – @coursey_chris
Carol Brown, Author of The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity and Highly Sensitive www.fromgodsheart.com