When Joy is Hiding

(Read in :03)“Resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”~Helen Keller

Do you ever lose things?  Sunglasses, a debit card or your entire billfold?  How about car keys or worse yet, your driver’s license? I can tell you so many stories! Most of the time things weren’t actually lost, thank goodness, they were just temporarily misplaced.  Every once in a while, though, things simply vanish without a trace.

I have this jack rabbit brain, you see, and my mind isn’t always in the same room as me. Sometimes I think it’s on another planet! It isn’t too upsetting when we’re in our thirties but once we blow past fifty, we’re just sure our mind is mush and we’re losing our marbles!

Do you know what’s just as easy to lose? It’s easy to lose our joy. Sometimes it happens when life has beaten a person up or worn her down over a long stretch of time. That’s understandable. It is most puzzling when something minor sends you off the cliff into despair. It happens! Probably most baffling of all is that it happens to joyful Christians, too.  No one is immune to the occasional fall.

When a dedicated believer who knows the joy of walking in faith loses that joy, it’s deeply distressing. And a grumpy Christian makes a rotten witness! How does it happen and when it strikes, what do you do? It’s really hard because it hurts two ways. The sense of gloom and hopelessness is bad enough but when you KNOW better and KNOW you’ve strayed from the right path it is doubly painful. In that state of mind, we feel stuck and powerless.

I actually Googled this, folks: “What to do when you have lost your joy.”  I found 10,900,000 results, honest! It looks like a few others have been wrestling with it, too.

Getting back your joy

Restoring our joy requires some thoughtful reflection and understanding. Accept the fact we’re human and imperfect. We fall prey to human errors. Some of the most harmful ones are over-commitment and a too-full schedule. I would add an unforgiving heart and worst of all, constantly comparing ourselves and our circumstances to others. All these things cause us to drift away from the only true source of lasting joy.

When I find myself “too busy” to spend time in prayer, reflection and studying God’s word, it isn’t long before my feelings of gratitude and contentment begin to ebb. We must remember the words of John 15:5.  To thrive and be joyful we must abide in God’s presence. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”.

You know how happy you feel when you find your debit card in a coat pocket or retrieve your car keys from a fast food wrapper in the trash can?  They weren’t lost after all, only misplaced. Hallelujah! I think it’s the same way with joy. It is never really lost but sometimes we forget where we left it and it’s always just a few moments of prayer and reflection away!

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