Last week, my husband expressed his displeasure over the skyrocketing gas prices. A friend shared her anxiety about running out of baby formula. Then I skimmed news headlines that left a heaviness in my chest that I struggled to shake. By focusing on what was happening in the world, I was allowing anxiety to reside within me. When life feels so discouraging all the time, how do we share our joy with others?
What does it mean to share our joy?
Before we can share our joy, we need to understand what joy is. In the Christian realm, joy is the state of your heart. It’s often confused with happiness, which is an emotion, but you can be sad and still have joy.
Joy is a discipline that comes from deepening our walk with the Lord and developing an abiding relationship with Him. When we spend quality time in His word and align our hearts with His will, then our character evolves to become more like Him.
I have a friend who is so full of God’s love that she bubbles like a fountain. She’s quick to laugh, quick to hug, and quick to tell others how much Jesus loves her. She’s gone through struggles in her life, including losing a parent when she was only a teen. But having a deeply-rooted faith helps her to hold onto her joy even when she’s walking through difficulties in her life. I long to be more like her.
Why should we share our joy?
We like in a dark, broken world. People need hope. They need to know this is not all there is. By sharing our joy and shining God’s light, then we are showing others how they can find that hope and be filled with the Holy Spirit.By sharing our joy and shining God’s light, then we are showing others how they can find that hope and be filled with the Holy Spirit. #TellHisStory #Sharingjoy #Christianliving Click To Tweet
How can we share our joy?
There are numerous ways we can share our joy, but I’m going to share three ways that have worked for me.
Pray for others.
Never underestimate the power of prayer. Prayer isn’t our final defense—it’s our first defense. Because of the gift of the cross, we can go to God directly. Prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father who longs to hear from His children. The beauty of prayer is nothing is too small or too big for Him. When we share how God has worked in our lives and answered our praises, we are opening the door for others to have conversations with the Lord and allowing Him to change them from the inside out. Lifting others up in prayer offers opportunities for God to work in their lives. Their joy is manifested and deepened when they see how God responds to their requests. In return, we receive the blessing from watching their joy bloom and grow.
“You are never more like Jesus than when you pray for others. Pray for this hurting world.”
One of the best ways to share your joy story is to get to someone who needs to hear it. Maybe you’ve gone through a difficult time in your life and you know someone else is going through something similar. If you walk up to that person and tell her things will be okay, she won’t be in the right frame of mind to hear it. But if you take the time to get to know her and allow her to see how you’ve moved out of your valley experience and now you’re on the mountain top, then she may be more willing to listen since she knows you’ve been there.
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:14 NIV
Share your grace story.
Last Thursday, I made a mistake at work. In my head, it was a huge mistake that made me sick to my stomach. However, when I shared my mistake with my co-worker (because it affected her), she laughed about it. To her, the mistake was no big deal even though it meant she had to re-do what she’d done previously. My mistake caused her more work. However, she extended grace to cover my error. When we share our joy stories of how God has taken our deepest, darkest sins and used them to get ahold of our hearts, then we are able to share the power of God’s redeeming grace. God uses our shame stories and redeems them into grace stories.
My deepest, darkest shame brought me to the feet of Jesus. In February 1996, on a very ordinary winter Wednesday evening, I sat in my small church with my two little boys ages 2 and 5, listening to our pastor preach a series on family values. As we knelt to pray, I had this incredible heaviness in my chest that I couldn’t get rid of. The pain squeezed my lungs and threatened to choke me. I started to cry as the shame of my sins poured out and soaked the padded seat. How could I teach and model family values if I wasn’t living them? I was making choices that hurt those whom I loved most of all. After service, I talked with my pastor and gave my heart to Jesus.
My shame story became my greatest grace story. God used that family-destroying pain to draw me closer to Him, bestowing a new title of princess—I was the daughter of the King wearing a shiny new grace crown that continues to fit better and better the more I wear it.
Grace is a gift meant to be given and received. We can’t earn it, but it comes with an action. When it’s extended to us, we need to make a choice—to accept it or reject it. Sadly, too many choose to reject it but once isn’t their only opportunity. Because we serve a God of second chances…and third…and fourth…He uses our shame stories to become His grace stories. We simply need to be willing to act and take the gift of grace He’s offering. Then we can start living a life of sharing our joy with others.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
He uses our shame stories to become His grace stories. Then we can start living a life of sharing our joy with others. #TellHisStory #Livingwithjoy #Gracestories Click To Tweet
What about you? How do you share your joy?