In the Joy Starters blog we have talked about the dangers of low joy and presented the relational brain skills as the antidote for low joy. There are times when there is not much you can do about the fact that you are experiencing low joy. On our July 1 Round Table Talk, Ed Khouri, one of the authors of the Joy Starts Here book commented that he was quite familiar with that particular flavor of low joy. He has had three major surgeries in the last 18 months and two of them related to the spine. Anything relating to the spine says P.A.I.N!
Surgery can sap all your body’s resources as it diverts everything to repair the wound. Adrenal fatigue and auto immune diseases are also conditions that make the task of growing joy overwhelming. Even being in the presence of high joy can be overwhelming.
What I am saying here is that there are times when you are in low joy and it is not because of a conscious choice to live a bad life style or willful sin, but a result of living in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people. Or, we could say, hard things happen (surgery) so our lives will improve and we will return to higher joy…it just takes time. But we seem to be impatient people, we don’t want to wait.
American society as a whole tends not to have tender responses to weakness. We have been trained to take a dim view of weakness; so, we don’t like being weak. We don’t like or want to be around ourselves when we are weak even if it is no fault of our own. (Ask me how I know!) Consequently we are hard on ourselves; we do not have a tender response to our own weakness which depresses joy further. We blame ourselves and right behind blame is shame. These are “sticky” emotions and difficult to throw off.
If you are feeling blamed and shamed; if you find yourself in such a low joy state that just the thought of expending the effort to grow joy is painful…what can you do?
Look for something, anything to be grateful for and then express appreciation.
- Thank the nurse who adjusts your bed or gives you ice.
- Thank the candy striper who brings flowers.
- Appreciate the friend or spouse who sat by you all those hours in ER and recovery, who would not go home until they knew you would be okay.
- Thank the person who brings your meals, puts supper in the crock pot or does your laundry.
- Appreciate the little things someone does without being asked…
You get the idea…find something to appreciate. It only takes one or two brain cells! : ) Our brains tend to amplify what we focus on…so use the thimble full of strength that you have to practice the brain skill of gratitude.
For those of you who are stronger, please read this to a friend who doesn’t have the strength to even read. Make a tender response to weakness!
May your joy be full,
Chris & Carol
Chris Coursey, MA Theology — Author, Speaker and Thrive Trainer, www.thrivetoday.org
Twitter – @coursey_chris
P.S. The Thrive Training begins July 14 in Peoria, IL. Please join us in prayer to cover this event. For last minute preparations to come together. For travel mercies for everyone. For protection for families, businesses and all the etc. of life. That the enemy be held in check and not allowed to take collateral damages out of friends and families. May the Lord’s kingdom come and His will be done in each and every life.