Have you wondered if taking the time to learn how to grow joy would benefit you as a pastor? Here are five ways it does!
It Clarifies Communications, Improves Your Marriage, Repairs Ruptured Relationships, Restores Energy, and You Become a Model.
1. Growing joy clarifies communication. When you learn how to share joyful times with friends, staff members and family, a bond develops between you; your brains learn to synch with each other. It is like growing a relational synapse over which messages can travel—much like a telephone line.
Sharing joy moments exercises your “empathy muscles” so that you “know” each other better and are less likely to impute motivations that are not there or make erroneous assumptions about intentions. Joy also creates an ease between people that makes it easier and less costly to ask clarifying questions. There is no longer the fear of rejection, name calling or judgment for not understanding in the first go round.
How would you grow joy that improves communication? An easy and fun way is to tell glory stories—stories that clearly demonstrate God’s fingerprint in your day. This is also an excellent exercise for the family at dinner time! It changes the dinner time atmosphere. You can find directions for telling 4+ stories on the Thrive website see below.
2. Growing joy improves your marriage. Joy is a very good feeling; in fact your brain is designed to run on joy so you intuitively seek it. It is much healthier for your brain to run on true joy then to substitute BEEPS or pseudo-joy. Pseudo-joy is like putting regular into the gas tank of a car designed to run on high octane. The real thing is always better than the substitute, right?
Experiencing true joy moments together strengthens the marriage bond and makes it more fulfilling. This is the testimony of Jen and Chris Coursey as they tested various strategies for growing joy in the midst of the hectic life of raising two active boys and developing a ministry. You can get the manual they developed below. These exercises work! Learning and using these joy building exercises will also make your marriage even more attractive to your people. They will want what you have.
3. Growing joy can repair ruptured relationships.
Really? How would you do that? Very carefully. You could begin by some simple acts of appreciation…a “thank you,” “that was very thoughtful.” Or, “I appreciate ___________.” Or, it could be biting your tongue to prevent a smart retort that adds nothing positive to the mix. Then as communication is slowly restored, expand the topics you talk about, keeping the Lord central in it all.
Growing joy in ruptured relationships is like growing moss on the north side of the house. Keep it sheltered from “hot topics.” Start slowly and don’t stir things up by periodically checking on the root system by asking “How am I doing?” It starts to slowly form along the edges and then it takes over. It is a beautiful thing to see joy take over a ruptured relationship. Now, moss on the north side of the house is something else, but to grow it requires shelter from the heat!
4. Growing joy develops strength, energy and resiliency. If you have been exhausted physically, spiritually and mentally, growing joy will fill your tank again. That scripture “the joy of the Lord is my strength” is not just a nice metaphor. It is reality!
5. Bonus Reason: You become a joy starter, a model as others want what you have. You can spark little joy outbreaks which can become a flame within your congregation! If you would like to see one or more of these effects of growing joy in your life personally…
1. Download the directions for telling 4+ Stories (Glory Stories) click here.
2.And the joy building exercises for married couples click here
3. The Joy Starts Here small group study book to help create the joy outbreak in your church, click here.
And then get back to us and let us know what is working for you!
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