By Hanha Hobson
I have seen the Pinterest quote, "Today, I choose joy," all the time, and I love the quote, but I see it EVERYWHERE. I've always been one to challenge the status quo, so I'm not going to lie. It bothers me. Yes, I want to choose joy, but this isn't some passive task as though I'm running through a sunflower field. No! Sometimes, choosing joy is hard and honestly, I may not want to. Haven't you heard that I'm the reigning host of the pity party?
But then I realized, that's okay. I'm different because I'm not choosing joy, I'm fighting for it. And maybe you can relate?
I heard this sermon awhile back, and I love how God will give us layaway messages for future seasons. God must have known that I would need it for the season that I’m currently facing. But the pastor said that an indication you're close to victory is the level of attack you receive prior to it. He said, stronger the attack, closer AND greater the promise.
So if you feel like you are being spiritually attacked - you lost your job, you don't know what you're supposed to be doing with your life, you have been arguing with your spouse, or you are overwhelmed with how busy your life is - be encouraged! Why would the enemy attack anything that doesn't have meaning? That's counter intuitive for him. If anything, it’s an indication that what you’re doing is important. It’s significant. It matters. YOU matter. The job coming must be better, the career you choose must be important, your marriage must be special, and your purpose must have power.
You need to understand that the enemy will do anything to stop you from achieving the purpose that God has for you. And cue my favorite quote for anytime you feel like you're going through a season where your joy is being compromised.
"If the devil can't stop your destiny, he will settle for stealing your joy on the journey."
So now that you know this, let's talk about some practical ways that you can fight for joy especially when you don't want to.
1.Get your Sass Back
We must have a sense of urgency. Think about when you were in school and you would have fire drills. Most of the time, it was a casual experience because you knew that there wasn't a real fire. Many of us look at our spiritual lives in the same way.
We don't take it seriously. We think it's a game. Many of us are walking around honestly oblivious - myself included! But this is where it ends. I feel like the enemy is the ONLY person where we can have an attitude. Let him know that you are FED. UP. Let him know that he can't mess with you, that he can't have your purpose, your marriage, and your friends.
If you find yourself struggling with joy, repeat after me, I WILL NOT HAVE IT. The joy of the Lord is my strength! (Nehemiah 8:10) If you notice or hear that voice that doesn't align with God's word, tell the devil he is a liar! (John 8:44).
We need to be mindful of our natural defaults to life situations. Take some time to reflect on yours. Do you normally get sad and want to cry? Do you get lazy and unproductive, retreating to eating and laying in bed all day? Do you normally get angry and want to tell someone off?
Identify your responses, and then identity the triggers that cause you to respond that way. Having this self-awareness is HUGE. The enemy will do anything to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) and he knows exactly where you are vulnerable, even when you may not. But once you are self-aware, your spiritual senses can be heightened. You will be able to detect when you are being attacked, and then you can use your offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit, aka God's Word, to fight for your joy.
2. Get Dressed
Sometimes we want to mope around. Trust me, I know firsthand how to do this! Like I said, reigning queen and host of the pity party. Like I just described above, my natural response is to cry about everything. But it's time that I abdicate my throne. Someone else can host the pity party, okay?!
Get up, get dressed, and boss up! Put on your favorite outfit. If you need to put on those false lashes and that bold lip and head to work or school knowing good and well that you never wear makeup, do it anyways. You might even take a bomb selfie that will help with your IG feed.. LOL just kidding, but there is power in what I like to call, "feelin' yourself." I'm not saying that this outward appearance is the end all, be all because it's not. Our hearts are what matters, but it's so true what they say. When you look good, you feel good!
Allow yourself to feel good. Be proactive about making small changes that will help you feel better on the inside. You would be amazed at how a good outfit or a nice pair of heels will make you feel like you can conquer anything. But spoiler alert? You already have the victory, so it's okay for you to look the part!
3. Stop Complaining
Your mouth can most definitely be your undoing. Do not let it be the snare to your very life! (Proverbs 18:7).
I was sitting in the car with my mom after church one Sunday, and I said that being an adult is so hard LOL. Immediately, my mom said that if I kept saying that, then that is what my life would be. Now you know that I was slightly bitter because I didn’t want to hear what she had to say, but she is so right!
We need to be careful of these same moments - moments when we want to sit in our own sorrow or frustration. Complaining is the straightest and clearest path for you to walk right out of the will of God. Do not give the enemy a foothold. Be intentional with your words, and choose to speak life over yourself instead.
If you struggle with doing this, then I encourage you to sign up for #TheConfessionsProject. Start your week off right with a free weekly confession and devotion every Monday! You will be given a list of confessions that you can speak over your life along with a short devotional that will help keep you encouraged. But of course, I give these tips with the most important one being to seek God in everything. He is your refuge and shield. He will take care of you, and thanks be to God that He will always be on our side fighting for us.