Joy Busters

I was tempted this morning not to finish out this short series on joy and contentment. It’s not been the best week with a sore body and a wrecked car. On top of that several things have broken, my kids have been at each others’ throats because we’ve been stuck at home and I’ve struggled to get anything done.

I got up this morning thinking today would be easy. My kids are spending the next four days at GrandCamp, their annual summer camp with Grandmommy and Granddaddy. My days are open. The only other creature I have to look out for is the dog.

Ah, yes, the dog. Our beautiful German short-haired pointer who never has accidents in the house. The first thing I got to do this morning was clean up a lovely present he left for me in his crate. I really don’t think he was any happier about it than I was, but I have to tell you my attitude of joy and contentment has already been sorely tried this morning.

After cleaning up his mess, I sat down here at the computer to write only to discover that my Internet isn’t working. My whole day today revolves around catching up on my freelance projects, which requires an Internet connection. Joy and contentment were not the first words that came to mind.

I don’t know about you, but it seems the more I focus on having an attitude of joy and contentment, the harder it becomes. Satan loves to throw things in my path that make me work for that attitude.

And, you know what? I can’t have an attitude of joy and contentment on my own. I’m simply not strong enough, nor focused enough. Joy and contentment come from God and only through His strength can we achieve a consistent attitude of joy and contentment.

Philippians 4:13 tells us “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” That includes finding our joy and contentment in Him.

There’s always going to be something trying to tear our focus off of God. When we lose our focus on Him, we lose our source of strength. When we rely on our own strength to find contentment and joy, we fail. When we rely on God’s strength to find contentment and joy, we are filled up with His strength and we can remain focused on Him, the source of joy and contentment.

Illustrate this for your kids by hanging a picture on the wall. Tell them to walk from one end of the room to the picture while looking at the picture. Repeat the exercise, only have them look at something else in the room while walking toward the picture. Lastly, blindfold them and have them walk to the picture.

Explain that when we keep our eyes on the picture, we can walk in a straight line to it. When we lose sight of the picture, either by looking at something else or not being able to see it, it’s much harder to walk toward the picture.

God is the picture. When we take our eyes off of Him, we wander away from the source of our strength. We want to keep our eyes on Him so He can give us the strength for whatever comes our way.

Don’t let whatever frustrations that come your way today rob you of joy and contentment. Keep your eyes on God and let Him fill you with the strength and joy that only come from Him. In that, you will find contentment.