In our performance driven world, even as Christian women who love the Lord, often we put aside our joy until we feel we’ve earned the right to have it. Amanda is tired every day. Tired of potty training. Tired of taking little Ethan back and forth to the toilet, especially for false alarms. “It seems like that’s all I do all day long,” says Amanda, “but when I get him potty trained, then I’ll relax and enjoy life again.” Amanda is too focused on her issue to realize it now, but she’s too stressed to be happy.
Debbie is dealing with an entirely different issue. Struggling to balance her career, family and the responsibilities of taking care of her aging mother, her only pleasurable indulgence is her nightly ritual of hot fudge and ice cream. “After everyone’s in bed, it’s the only time I have to completely unwind,” says Debbie. “That’s when I remind myself, it won’t always be like this. Someday, I’ll get my life back.” Debbie feels guilty for being happy for too long. As soon as the ice cream melts, it’s time to get back to reality.
Courtney is goal driven. Propelled by her vision to build her business, she won’t allow herself an opportunity to rest until she reaches her goal. Her determination to build her future leaves no room for distractions. To her, rejuvenation is a time waster. She’s driven by a vision void of joy. “When I reach my goal, then I’ll celebrate big time. But now…it’s time to build.”
So how would you answer this question? When I finally _____________, then I’ll be happy.
It’s a cruel deception. Achieving your goal is not the thing that should bring happiness. It’s the journey and opportunity itself. Let me encourage you. Don’t put off your joy! Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of the Lord is our strength. How can we accomplish anything without strength? The enemy has twisted the truth. So many of us believe that we don’t deserve to be happy until we reach our goal, but here’s the truth: Joy is not the prize for reaching your goal, it’s the power to get there!
So quit saying when I finally whip my marriage, my kids or my body in shape, then I’ll be joyful. Embrace the strength of God and walk in joy today!
Prayer: Dear Lord, I realize how much I’ve deprived myself of the joy I need to live my life. Please forgive me for all the times I’ve tried to do things in my own strength. Help me to receive all your joy and power so I can walk each day in your strength. In Christ’s name. Amen
Want to win a free copy of Chicken Soup’s latest release, Messages from Heaven? Simply post a comment below. You can answer the question about what tends to be your “when-then” or simply make any other comment. I’ll pick the winner Monday, March 26, 2012. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner.