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Journey to Joy

I am on a journey. My destination is joy. If I can keep my focus on Christ, then I can overcome the obstacles that block me, distract me, discourage me. Honestly though, I often lose my focus.

Perhaps you have this same problem. I call it my “oooh shiny” problem. I want to keep my eyes on Jesus. I want Him to lead the way. I want my hearts desire to be Him. But unfortunately the “shiny” things in life draw my attention. The computer, my smart phone, my family, doing for others, house work. Things that can and should be used for good, but I allow them to steal my joy.

I’m guilty of spending too much time on the computer and with my phone. I don’t know why, besides boredom. Distraction from the things that need to be done. Like dishes and laundry. It’s easier to escape in the land of social media than it is to deal with what needs to be done.

It starts off innocently enough. “Oh I’ll just see what’s going on while the kids eat/play/sleep etc.” Then I see an article that I want to read. Oh, and look at these cute pictures of my friends kids. Oh, and I need to read up on this subject. Look, this store is having a great sale, and Christmas is coming… The next thing you know an hour (or more) has gone by. I’ve not started our lessons yet, or cleaned up the kitchen from the last meal, or done the laundry shuffle. Now I’m not joyful, I’m crabby. I’m mad at myself for getting sucked in yet again, and now my day is slipping by. My time with my kids is passing, and I will not get that back. Now I feel rushed and frazzled, and it ripples off me and affects my entire family.

Sometimes my distractions are “good” things. Like serving my family. As a stay at home mom I know that it is my job to take care of the home, my husband, my kids. But I HATE doing most of the work this job entails. My mother, she loves washing dishes — by hand. It brings her peace an joy. I did not inherit this. We have a dishwasher, and I still hate doing dishes. Laundry — It will be the end of me. I wash, forget. Rewash, forget. Wash again, add vinegar to help with the smell, finally remember to put it in the dryer. They stay there until we run out of clean undergarments or towels… I do not find joy in my “job”. Sometimes the kids are wild and crazy. Disobedient. Rude. I feel like I am not doing a good job. Am I to blame for this behavior? No. My children are responsible for their actions.

However, my attitude in this area affects my family. When I am grouchy and mumble and complain about these things I am not only setting a bad example for my kids, I am not showing them sacrificial love. When I serve my family in our home, especially by doing things that I truly HATE doing, I am giving of myself, and loving on them. I am learning ways to find joy in serving my family in our home. I am allowing my kids to help me with dishes and laundry. It won’t hurt them to do some simple chores, they need to learn these skills, and honestly — I need the help. It allows us time to talk, laugh, sing together. They enjoy it! My daughter actually asks to help with these things. My husband and I will fold laundry together while we watch a show after the kids go to bed. This allows us some down time together to talk and just enjoy each others company. They all help me. This enables me to do my job with a joyful heart. They do not look down on me, or speak harshly to me for my short comings. They encourage me. They lift me up. They help carry the load. This brings me joy, and when mommy is joyful, the home runs more smoothly.

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I obviously have weaknesses, shortcomings, even addictions. I struggle with laziness. I even have health issues to deal with. But it does not have to steal my joy. I am learning to embrace my calling. Overcome my strongholds. Call out my sin for what it is. When I recognize these things and pray and ask God and my family to help me – then Joy is easier to find. It’s easy to choose joy when I have the support of my family. However it is a journey. It is a choice. I have to make the decision to turn away from the “shiny” distractions. I have to choose to serve my family with love even when I don’t like what I have to do. I have to humble myself, admit I have a problem and ask for help. I have to lay down my pride – I can’t do it all, and guess what? I don’t have to. It is a daily struggle. I am not joy filled every day. When I let my downfalls take control my whole family suffers. Then I get mad at myself. Then I have to drop to my knees. Pray for help. For forgiveness. Make a choice. Will I choose to wallow, be grouchy, mopey, etc? Or will I choose joy?

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