Are Weeds Choking Out Your Joy?

by | #TellHisStory, Christian Living, Encouragement, Faith, Life | 28 comments

My husband is on vacation this week. Instead of chilling on a sandy beach and listening to the waves crash against the shore, we have chosen to do a staycation. We’re finishing up projects around the house that have taken a back seat due to the busyness in our daily working lives. We talked through what we wanted to do and started making plans. Well, me more so than him. I’m a planner, a list maker. My husband likes to make it up as he goes along.

After sleeping in until 9 a.m., which never happens, even on the weekends, I made breakfast and then planned out my day. One of the tasks on my to-do list was weeding.

I love vibrant flowers and beautiful gardens, but I really dislike weeding. With the amount of rain we’ve had, the weeds had taken over our flower beds. So, today I spent several hours hunched over, pulling weeds. Instead of whining or grumbling, I chose to focus on the task and be thankful for the ability to do the job. I spent quality time outside in the beautiful weather. And, the final result was worth the effort, especially when my husband mentioned what a great job I had done. I wasn’t doing it for praise, but his words of affirmation buoyed my spirit.

Weeds in our lives

As I was pulling the stray bunches of clover, wayward grasses, and finger-piercing thistles (not the pretty ones), my thoughts drifted toward some of the weeds in my own life.

Last week was a difficult one for me. Not because of anything tragic or horrific happening in my life. But I wasn’t feeling well due to an RA flare-up—my first one in such a long time that it really got me down. Compound that with a pinched nerve in my neck that was causing my right arm to go numb. Then I was still experiencing random periods of grief over the loss of our family dog.

As I sat in my doctor’s office on Friday, I started crying when I told her how lousy I felt. And I said, “I don’t even know why I’m crying.” She was so compassionate and sympathetic. And I did feel better after leaving her office. Today, I feel just fine, mentally and physically.

When I’m not feeling well physically, it skews my thought process. I focus on the pain that steals my joy instead of focusing on the One who can replenish my joy.

When I’m not feeling well physically, it skews my thought process. I focus on the pain that steals my joy instead of focusing on the One who can replenish my joy. #TellHisStory #Faith #Joy Click To Tweet

Finding blooms among the weeds.

Beauty blooms all around us, especially in the warmer months with plenty of sunshine and rain. Part of maintaining that beauty is pulling out the weeds that threaten to destroy the flowers.

The same happens with our lives.

When we’re vulnerable, it gives Satan a foothold into our thoughts. Then those pesky weeds sprout and threaten to choke out the Truth of God’s Word.

Our Heavenly Father is the ultimate Gardener. By opening our hearts up to Him, He can reach in and pull out those weed-like behaviors that intervene in our relationship with Him. Thankfully, God knows exactly what is necessary to nourish our spirits to help us to bloom and grow.

Our Heavenly Father is the ultimate Gardener. By opening our hearts up to Him, He can reach in and pull out those weed-like behaviors that intervene in our relationship with Him. #TellHisStory #Joy #Christianliving Click To Tweet

Reclaim your joy.

If you’re feeling like you’re being choked out in a weed bed rather than blooming in God’s garden of grace, here are three simple tips to reclaim your J.O.Y.

Focus on Jesus: No matter what season you’re walking through, Jesus wants to be with you always. Simply call on His name and claim the promises found in His Word.

Focus on Others: When we refocus our attention on serving and helping others, then we aren’t dwelling on our own struggles. In turn, ask others to pray for you. It’s a blessing for them to be trusted to take your petitions and lay them at the feet of the Father.

Focus on Yourself: When you’re going through a difficult time or walking through a challenging season in your life, it’s vital to keep your eyes focused on the Lord. It’s important to focus on helping and caring for others. Yet, it’s also necessary to focus on yourself. Are you eating right? Getting necessary exercise? Sleeping well? Visiting the doctor, if need be? Taking time for sacred rest?

By focusing on J.O.Y., I was able to reclaim victory in Jesus and weed the devil out of my spiritual garden. Sure, I still have pain and problems. Who doesn’t in this world, right? But it’s a matter of where I’m prioritizing my thoughts—on myself or on the One who can help me get through anything.

I love this beautiful verse from Psalm 16:11. God is our refuge and strength. We have eternal life through His salvation. Be filled with His presence. Take His hand. Trust Him to lead you where you need to go.

Your Turn: Are weeds choking out your joy? What are you doing to rebloom and grow?

Are weeds choking out your joy? What are you doing to rebloom and grow? #TellHisStory #Faith #Encouragement #Joy Click To Tweet

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28 Comments

  1. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, I am sorry that you were not feeling well and for the loss of a beloved pet. Focus is critical when trying to maintain one’s joy. I noted it also needs to be in the proper order – as we focus upward, then outward, we will be filled inwardly. Thank you for reminding me to be intentional in where I focus!

    • Michele Morin

      Lisa, I am so sorry for your loss and for the sadness that is choking out joy. I hear you in this fight against the weeds.

      • Lisa Jordan

        Michele, thank you. Focusing on my joy and the blessings around me have helped me to have a much stronger mental state this week.

    • Lisa Jordan

      Joanne, thank you for your kind words. I’m feeling much better this week. You’re so right about focusing upward, outward, then inward.

  2. Linda Stoll

    Praying that you’ll be cuddled by His peacefulness today, Lisa …

    • Lisa Jordan

      Thank you, Linda. I’m feeling much better this week. I’m so thankful for His peacefulness. Today and every day.

      • Tea With Jennifer

        Amen! Our heavenly Father is the greatest gardener!
        Bless you,
        Jennifer

        • Lisa Jordan

          Thank you, Jennifer. You’re absolutely right!

  3. Barbara Harper

    It’s too easy to neglect that weeding, especially when the issues seem small. Then all of a sudden, they take over. Thanks for the reminder to be diligent and regular about weeding my spiritual garden.

    • Lisa Jordan

      You’re right, Barbara–when those issues seem small, it’s easy to ignore them. By tackling them as we see them, then we’re not overwhelmed by the things weighing us down.

  4. Debbie Wilson

    Lisa, losing a pet is a huge loss. We lost our girl last year and still feel the loss even though we’ve added a joy boy to our family. And I have some weeding calling my name too!

    • Lisa Jordan

      Debbie, I’m sorry for your loss. It is difficult. I’m thankful you’ve added a new fur member to your family.

  5. Jan

    This is very practical advice for anyone and everyone whenever we feel the weeds taking over.
    Thk You!

    • Lisa Jordan

      Jan, thank you. I’m glad you found it useful.

  6. Donna

    Lisa, I’m sorry to hear you were struggling with pain, yet thankful at the same time, because it produced such wisdom for us today. I love the acrostic for JOY and have used it many times teaching Sunday School, but such good, simple advice here to keep us on track when life’s hard derails us. Praying you will soon be feeling better!

    • Lisa Jordan

      Donna, thank you. I’m doing much better. I use the acrostic for JOY during my Sunday school teaching as well. Life will derail us, but God’s JOY keeps us stable.

  7. Jerralea Winn Miller

    Your acrostic for JOY made me think of the little song we sang in Sunday School: Jesus and Others and You, what a wonderful way to spell JOY.

    Your analogy of weeds was so descriptive. Thoughts of worries can blossom like weeds and choke out the joy. May we spend everyday pruning our spiritual garden by giving those worries to Him.

    • Lisa Jordan

      Jerralea, I’m so thankful God doesn’t run out of patience for us. He’s a patience Gardener whose constant cultivating will draw us closer to Him.

  8. Lisa notes

    I have days occasionally when nothing in particular is terrible, but everything seems a little too hard. But a little rest, some prayer, some people, and thankfully I’m usually restored. I’m grateful for that; I know it’s not always that easy for many who suffer with truly hard issues.

    Pulling weeds is my least favorite task in the summer (my flower beds are proof) but what a wonderful way to see results quickly. I wonder if I’d want to see the weeds that God pulls out of me or if I’d rather be oblivious to their sight…

    • Lisa Jordan

      You know, Lisa, that is a great question to ponder. Maybe by seeing the weeds God removes from our lives, we would be less apt to allow them to regrow. But also, maybe He pulls weeds we’re unaware of for our protection too.

  9. Lesley

    I like your tips for joy. It is easy for those weeds to take root and choke out God’s truth. We have to be intentional about refocusing our minds on him.

    • Lisa Jordan

      Lesley, I believe intentional is the key word here. We always need to be aware of the enemy’s constant prowling, ready to pounce when we’re feeling vulnerable.

  10. Lauren Renee Sparks

    I need to learn to focus more on Joy too. And your photos are beautiful!

    • Lisa Jordan

      Thank you, Lauren. I appreciate the kind words. I hope you’re able to focus on JOY this week.

  11. Lois Flowers

    Aw, Lisa … there are so many things that can mess with our emotional and mental well-being, aren’t there? Hormones, stress, chronic pain or illness, grief … I’m so glad your doctor was compassionate and that you are feeling better now. And I appreciate the spiritual application as well. Personally, weeding is one of those things that actually restores my joy in and of itself, but I’m glad you were able to gain some benefits from it too, even though it’s not your favorite thing to do. 🙂

    • Lisa Jordan

      Thank you, Lois. My sister finds great pleasure in weeding and working in her gardens. Weeding is therapeutic as long as we are doing it for the right reasons.

  12. Jennifer Smith

    Of course, focusing on Jesus is the true source of help….but it really does help me to focus on others. I can tell when I’m headed “south” when my focus shifts completely to me – and others become a drain or a burden. I’m not much of a gardener but, oh my, there are so many lessons to be learned while we do so!!

  13. Karen Friday

    Lisa, I celebrate the fact that blooms are found among the weeds. And love your 3 areas of focus to get our joy back.