One of my favorite Christmas carols is “Joy to the World.”
I love just about everything about it: the tune, the words, and the message.
With Christmas right around the corner, most of us are beginning to hear songs like this one ringing through the air of shopping malls, grocery stores, vehicles, and maybe even our own homes.
We sing about joy and celebrations and about all the reasons we have to be overflowing with happiness…but we don’t always feel joyful.
At times, even though we say “Merry Christmas,” some of us (if we’re really being honest), don’t feel merry at all.
So what can we do when we lose our joy?
What can we do when the dishes, laundry, and never-ending chores threaten to steal our happiness…when the constant bickering between children leaves us longing for bedtime…when motherhood (that we always thought we’d love) isn’t everything we imagined it to be?
The first thing we can do is to realize there might be days (or months or even years) when we have to fight for joy. When we’re going through a difficult situation, joy might not come easy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t obtain it.
Here are a few habits of joyful moms that can help us find joy when we’ve lost it.
7 Habits of Joyful Moms:
1. They practice gratitude.
Joyful mothers make a conscious effort to find things for which they’re thankful. They train their minds to look for blessings and choose to focus their attention on these things instead of on the things that hurt.
Ann Voskamp, in her book 1000 Gifts, said this: “We don’t have to change what we see. Only the way we see.”
We don’t have to have a perfect life to be thankful, and we don’t have to be free from pain to give thanks.
What we do have to do is choose to focus on the good instead of the bad.
2.They choose to be joyful.
Joyful moms choose joy.
I used to think joy wasn’t something we could control. Either we had it or we didn’t. There was nothing we could do about it.
Now, I know otherwise.
We do have a choice.
We can’t always control the things that happen to us, but we can control how we react. We can control whether we choose joy or bitterness, thanksgiving or anger, happiness or discontentment.
3. They don’t compare.
Joyful moms don’t compare their lives to the lives of other moms.
Instead of focusing their attention on someone else and on what someone else has, they choose to focus their attention on their own family and on what they have.
I love this quote by Steven Furtick: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Comparison is a thief of joy because it convinces us others have it so much better when, in reality, we have no idea what their lives actually look like.
4. They take care of themselves.
They eat relatively healthy meals, take care of their bodies by staying active, rest, get away occasionally to be refreshed, and invest in things that bring them joy.
Of course, as moms, there are times when we do (and should) sacrifice for our families, but that doesn’t mean we should always sacrifice and never take care of ourselves.
5. They take care of their marriages.
As much as we’d like to believe the quality of other relationships doesn’t affect our parenting, for most of us at least, that’s just not reality.
When my husband and I are at odds with one another, my attitude reflects the conflict—even if my husband isn’t home.
It’s my most intimate earthly relationship, so it makes sense that when it’s not strong, my joy will suffer.
On the flip side, though, when it is strong, I’m a much more joyful woman.
6. They keep God #1.
Joyful moms realize that true joy only comes from God. Joy is, after all, a fruit of the Spirit.
We might be able to have happiness without a relationship with God, but true joy—joy that can’t be shaken even when the world falls apart around us—is only found in God.
7. They say “no” so they can say “yes.”
Joyful moms keep their priorities straight. They say “no” to the good, so they can say “yes” to the best.
Maybe that means they say “no” to another activity…so they can say “yes” to time at home to cuddle and read books.
Maybe that means they say “no” to the temptation to check Facebook…so they can say “yes” to their child who longs to have their full attention.
And maybe—probably—it means they say “no” to the temptation to be half present with their family …so they can say “yes” to joy.
What other habits of joyful moms would you add to this list?
Have you ever looked at your beloved children and wondered, what in the world am I doing? Why did God trust me—of all people—to raise them?
Motherhood is the most difficult job many of us will ever take. Searching for Sanity offers moms an opportunity to take a breath, dig into the Word, and learn from parents of the past. In short devotions designed for busy moms, this book uses the parents of the Bible—both the good and the bad—to inspire today’s mothers.
You can pick up a copy today at Amazon.
Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from the Parents of the Bible. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, avid reader, and chocolate lover. You can find Lindsey online at any of the following locations:
*photo courtesy: unsplash