Ever wondered how to find more joy? You’re not alone. In fact, some of the most searched questions online are about finding joy. Understanding how to access joy, especially joy in hard times, is an important part of creating a Christ-centered mindset. Sometimes we can get stuck in negative thinking and to find more joy we need to learn how to get out of our own way.
My friend Nicole Jacobsmeyer recently wrote a book on how to find more joy despite difficult circumstances, and so I invited her on the podcast today to chat about what it looks like to take back your joy when life feels anything but joyful.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
- [07:05] Nicole’s story of how hard times stole her joy and made her doubt God’s goodness
- [09:44] How Nicole learned to refocus her hard times as opportunities for more joy
- [15:01] How to find joy in the inbetween places when life is hard
- [19:11] What does discovering joy really mean as a Christian?
- [21:12] How we get in the way of our joy by holding on to unforgiveness
- [24:20] How to release the things that are keeping you from experiencing joy
- [27:27] What Nicole says to herself when she’s struggling to find joy
- NEXT STEPS: Rediscover Godly Joy in the JoyFull 30-Day Bible Study
[7:05] Nicole’s story of how hard times stole her joy and made her doubt God’s goodness
After a traumatic experience in her college years, Nicole struggled and began to doubt the validity of the Bible. She acknowledges that, as Christians, we are told things such as “ God your protector, and he's your provider, and He's faithful,” yet when we look at our experiences, it sometimes feels as if it’s the complete opposite of what we have been told.
Even through her pain and doubt, Nicole was eventually humbled through her understanding that she was lacking a solid foundation with the Bible. Even though she had grown up in a Christian home all her life, when she faced these challenges, she had to pause and take a look at the true meaning of joy.
[9:44] How Nicole learned to refocus her hard times as opportunities for more joy
We all have an idea and expectation of what our life should look like but at the end of the day, Nicole shares that her most painful moments are what made her better understand God’s love and His joy.
During trying times, knowing His character and having a biblical foundation are the two most important things we can lean on as believers, she says. The pain that Nicole has experienced has produced so much joy in her life because she was able to lean into and discover a deeper understanding of God’s promises.
Nicole doesn’t believe that God works passively, sitting idle in a corner. She believes there's time to rest and pause and be still and let God just wash over you with His healing, grace and love, but there are also times where walking through the pain is an act of faith.
[15:01] How to find joy in the in between places when life is hard
As a person who typically likes to ‘power through’ tough situations and get them over as quickly as possible, Nicole is always trying to shift her perspective. She believes that when we change our perspective and shift focus to our relationship with Christ, looking to Him as our promiser and our promise, that we are then better able to learn, grow, and receive joy even in tough situations.
[19:11] What does discovering joy really mean as a Christian?
When we hear the word ‘joy,’ we think of dancing on clouds, running and picking flowers, and perfect days with our kids and husbands. Nicole believes that as women, we amplify the feelings of our high moments instead of being rooted and realizing that joy is that assurance that God is with us regardless of what we go through. Having that unshakable truth is our foundation and our joy.
Nicole finds that when she is focused on the happy feelings which are fleeting and very circumstantial, that’s not wisdom. She believes that joy is a mindset, and mindset is a practice that we can learn to adopt instead of waiting for joy to happen.
[21:12] How we get in the way of our joy by holding on to unforgiveness
We all know how difficult forgiveness can be at times. Nicole’s perspective on forgiveness began to change when a man approached her at work and said, “If you do not forgive, you're not only harming the other person, you're drinking the poison yourself.” At first his statement struck her as dramatic, but after reflecting on it, she realized how true it really was.
It is easy to hold a grudge, but we must remember that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When you can actually live in this undefended, humble state with Christ, Nicole says, then you realize forgiveness is a necessity for remaining joyful throughout the rest of your life. You realize that finding more joy starts with letting go of unforgiveness and releasing yourself from shame.
[24:20] How to release the things that are keeping you from experiencing joy
When it comes to experiencing joy, it’s important to be content with what you have, Nicole says. Nicole believes that God has dealt us all a hand of cards, and while most of us may want to trade those cards, we should stop worrying about the cards other people have and understand that this is what God has given us. We can find contentment and joy in what we have, and this is a discipline we must practice in our mindset.
It’s easy to lose joy when we’re caught in the comparison trap. Finding joy starts by seeing what is and not what isn’t. It starts with recognizing all that God has already helped us overcome and the things that He has already done.
Nicole adds that we need to go back to the basics of our faith and realize that a large portion of our joy starts with humility, trust, obedience, and surrender. These are things that we talk about frequently, but we need to start practicing and living what we know to be true.
[27:27] What Nicole says to herself when she’s struggling to find joy
If Nicole was able to go back and talk to her younger self during previous times of joylessness, she would tell herself to be patient and stay in the word. The enemy likes to tell us that these challenging times are going to last forever, she says, but we need to remember God’s goodness and hold out hope that everything will be okay.
NEXT STEPS: Rediscover Godly Joy in the JoyFull 30-Day Bible Study
If you’re struggling to find joy during this time in your life, know that you’re not alone. Since this is a common battle, I’ve created a 30 day bible study to help you reconnect with God’s hope and comfort. All you need is 10 minutes a day and a commitment to God and yourself to see it through.
If you’re looking for a bit more guidance, you can check out the free mindset workshop, Break Free from Feeling Never Enough. Embrace the joy that God has promised and live in the comfort of knowing that God will see you through it all.
Connect with Nicole:
Other Podcast Episodes on Finding More Joy:
- Ep. 42: Finding Christmas Joy (When Life Isn't Joyful)
- Ep. 90: Finding Joy + Peace When You Feel Stuck
- Episode 120: The Truth About Finding Contentment in God During Trials with Nicole Jacobsmeyer
- Episode 148: Find More Joy in Your Life This Year with This Powerful Mindset Switch
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