Apparently 10-15 minutes of laughter have been proven to give two hours of pain relief! It also boosts immunity and lowers stress.
The Bible says that: The joy of the Lord is our strength… (Neh 8:10)
At this particular time in the world, having joy is even more important. It is one of our protectors, one of the most important keys to continuing to live in the way we are designed to live.
In a season where many of the things that bring us joy in life have been taken away or restricted, it is an ideal time to learn to reach into new places to access our joy. We can keep our ‘joy fire’ burning, in the midst of chaos, pain and many changes.
But how do we do this?
What if we already feel joyful? …There is always more!
What if we have no joy? …We can intentionally go get some!
Wherever we are at, there is always more joy for us to have. More joy in our lives will bring more life. It will spur us on to live in the authority that God has given us to bring His kingdom forward here on earth. It will help us stay aligned to our purpose. It will help us be a blessing to a world where hope has diminished. It helps us be salt and light. (Matt 5:13-16)
We can fill up with joy and become stronger and more resilient. We can fill up on joy to help us see everything through heaven’s eyes, through the hope that we have been given. We are after all not in the dark as to how things will turn out, who will be victorious and how Jesus can, has and will redeem the world.
It’s been my life’s journey to hold onto my joy and find it in seasons that have been very difficult. I have found that if I lose it, life is somewhat dull, I just don’t like it. So I’ve become fairly good at ensuring I keep it and when life steals it away, I find it again.
Here are some coaching tips, all of which I have used personally to self-coach myself into experiencing more joy
COACHING TIP 1 – Ask for it
Ok so, you may say well that’s not coaching. But here is the clever bit. Our words have power and so do our beliefs. So, by asking The Lord, every day for joy, you are not only bringing it to His attention you are bringing it to your own attention too. Ask then expect. Expect that God will give it to you.
In one particular season where I lost my brother to cancer, then suffered a horrible burn out, I started asking God for joy every day. It was probably about 2 weeks, and then one day I suddenly noticed myself smiling, giggling and feeling happy about the day and various things. I knew this joy was a gift from God. Someone asked me, ‘what have you been up to?’ They noticed something had shifted in me. I told them that I had been asking God for joy. They confirmed, ‘you have definitely got it!’. My encouragement to you, is to ask God, then expect it to show up, unexpectedly, if you know what I mean!
COACHING TIP 2 – Gratitude
Oh my goodness this one works quickest and every time! Yes, we know we need to be thankful, but ‘practicing gratitude’ is more than just thinking, ‘I must be thankful’. It’s a deliberate, consistent, repetitive, discipline.
For example, writing down things that you are grateful for. (As many things as you can think of!) Here is the key, if you don’t feel grateful, write down things you know you should be grateful for, and thank God for those things.
The feelings soon follow, and you start to flow into naming each and every blessing. No matter what your circumstance there is always something you can be thankful for – your health, your home, your family, a friend, something happening smoothly, the food on your plate, the clothes on your back, the area God has you in, the people He has bought into your life, the strength He has given you to do whatever you have so far, the relationship you have with Him so far, the TV program you just watched and enjoyed, etc etc….
My coaching challenge to you is to find 50 things to be grateful for each day for a week. I guarantee that by Day 3, you will already feel a surge of joy well up in you more than you have felt before. (Here’s a tip on how to get to 50 things quickly: Name specific things you have in your house that you love and feel grateful that God has provided, Check out my Gratitude Cheat Kit also!)
COACHING TIP 3 – Respect your exact position
The Bible tells us we can find joy in all circumstances. We have great examples in the Bible of people who do this. But sometimes we get fed-up, (I know I do)! We get fed up with where we are at. Sometimes we feel we should be further along, or we wish our circumstances were different. Many times it’s hard.
Coach yourself, to process with God, what He is up to, right now. He is always working in us and our lives. So even if things feel stagnant, or too busy or whatever, you can be sure that God is at work, in you transforming you and in your circumstances.
So, ask Him:
What are you doing in me at the moment Lord?
This is a powerful question. It will unlock so much revelation for you, When you are open to God showing you what He is up to, you will be encouraged and you will be filled with joy.
You can also ‘post process’ the recent past season, ask Him:
Show me what you were doing in that season Lord?
How were you preparing me?
What have you got for me in the future?
This way you are getting a glimpse into what God has been doing and what He has for you in your future.
This always brings me joy. It helps me find meaning in each and every season. It encourages me to know that God has always got more in mind for the future and that no season is ever wasted.
Doing this, we are coaching ourselves to be fully present in our exact position now; respecting it, leaning into God’s agenda and receiving joyful anticipation for what is to come.
All of the above takes work. But it is worth it. You are worth it!
We all need to re-align ourselves to heaven’s perspective and to the true reality of our lives, not the reality which dulls our joy.
The true reality is always good, because we have a good God who is for us not against us. Every single thing will be redeemed by Him.