Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

Three Secrets for Hanging on to Joy


Three Secrets for hanging on to JoyJoy might be the most important ingredient for an abundant life in Christ, yet it’s the one we lose most easily. I should know. I lost mine at the mini-mart last Thursday.

I’d hoped to make a lightning-quick convenience store run to pick up a few items I needed before leaving town. As I zoomed my cart up to the check out, the woman in front of me was just paying for her order. Perfect. 

However, the lady then asked for cigarettes. She got out a bank card to pay for them, but the machine wouldn’t take it. The checker proceeded to just wait. Five minutes turned into fifteen as he kept trying her card. Only one register was working, so other customers lined up behind me.

I’d love to say that I stayed calm and smiling. Instead, I started fuming. Why doesn’t he wait on the rest of us before trying her card again? Why don’t they open another register?

Ten minutes later, I huffed out of the mini-mart. I’d left my joy behind somewhere between the candy and the batteries at the check-out line.

I bet you’ve experienced similar hassles. Life is full of trials and troubles that threaten to ruin our days if we let them. The kids fight. You burn dinner.

Paul knew all about trouble, and he wrote us this bit of advice from a Roman jail. It’s every bit as fresh today as when he wrote it 2000 years ago:


More powerful than dynamite, this one little verse contains three secrets to hanging on to joy:

1. Rejoice in the Lord

Even in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, you have reasons to rejoice if you look to the Lord to find them. If you’ve put your faith in Christ, today you’re deeply loved, completely accepted, and fully forgiven by God. ** What if we started counting God’s kindnesses instead of complaining when things go wrong?

2. Let your gentleness be evident to all.

Nothing steals our joy like encounters with problematic people. You know them. They’re the ones like me in line at mini-mart: tired and grumpy. It’s counter-intuitive, but gentleness can be the strongest weapon we have for diffusing blow-ups with difficult people during our day. When the heat is on, a gentle word and a firm refusal to take offense can cool us down and calm the atmosphere. What if we made an extra effort to be gentle the next time the kids start fighting?

3. Remember the Lord is near.

What comfort it brings to remember that God is near to us whether we’re waiting at the auto repair shop or at the funeral home.  In His presence is fullness of joy. You can rest secure knowing that no matter what comes across your path, God is just a prayer a way. He’s got you covered, and He’ll respond quicker than you can call.

No matter what snafus you stumble upon today, look to the Lord if you need reasons to rejoice. Breathe deep and let your gentleness shine. Remember God is with you.

Now it’s your turn. Do you find it harder to hang on to joy in December?

Linking up with Holly Barrett, Meredith Bernard, Holley Gerth, and Jennifer Dukes Lee today. Check out these communities for more encouragement.

**This idea is from Search for Significance by Robert McGee.


Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

38 thoughts on “Three Secrets for Hanging on to Joy

  1. It is so easy to lose our joy especially at this time of the year. I should print out your three ideas and carry them in my purse as reminder when I too am standing in a checkout line that looks like the quickest one until you are next!!! Visiting you from Holly’s place today. Blessings! Mary

  2. Great ideas for keeping the joy! I think I’ll need these next week as we’re all taking a week off together and I know we’ll have moments where the joy will vanish with the tantrums and whines of kids off their schedules. Thanks for this today!

    • Oh I hear you, Kathryn. We’ll be off of homeschool, and when everyone’s off schedule, there are all kinds of opportunities for disagreements. (I think our expectations for a great holiday make it harder!)

  3. “Breathe deep and let your gentleness shine.” Often gentleness takes deep breaths, doesn’t it? I love this whole post. Need to read it over and over. Breathe deep and remember the Lord is near. (“Be still and know that I am God.”) I tend to forget so often Paul wrote these words from prison–PRISON! How many times do I let my circumstances become my prison by my attitude? But no matter what’s going on, rejoice…be gentle…trust God…pray. Such a good, thought-provoking message, Betsy!

  4. Why is it that we can so easily loose our joy during the “most wonderful time of the year”? When I get all caddywonkered during December, I have to give myself a little talking too. Thanks for some concrete steps to hang on to joy!

  5. I can SO relate to your opening anecdote, Betsy! Just yesterday I was at a small store where a woman slowly and ponderously bought a certain item. She had completed her credit card transaction … it was almost my turn … but then she said “Oh, give me another of those” and proceeded to conduct a second, identical transaction to the one she’d just completed. I may have looked placid on the outside but inside I was ready to blow a gasket. So I totally understand what you mean and I appreciate your gentle tips on how to get through this season without fretting and complaining (both of which I’m very good at).

  6. I laughed out loud at the line ‘I’d left my joy behind somewhere between the candy and the batteries at the check-out line.’ I have been in that position – actually I have been the one sweating to get the card to work in the machine as a cashier! Your reminder of what Paul said is desperately needed to get through each day. The enemy wants nothing more than to steal our joy and faith in God. I think your thoughts on this are spot on! I remember being seen by a nurse who was overly critical and I felt so discouraged after seeing her. The next time I saw her the verse came into my mind that the battle is not against flesh and blood. That calmed me down and I made it my goal to continue to make conversation. Through this experience, she opened up to me about her concerns in her life and now when I see her, we laugh and joke! Making a decision to be kind is awesome! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this at the Cheerlading linkup! Blessings, Ruth 🙂

  7. What great tips, Betsy! Especially that one about gentleness. Whew! I needed to hear that this morning. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Testimony Tuesday.

  8. Betsy- I, too, left my joy in the mini-mart … many times. 🙂 I love these reminders of the way to joy… Emmanuel makes it possible to have joy amidst the brokenness. Beautiful post!

  9. Oh man, Betsy, I was having a “moment” what was probably only a couple “moments” after you posted this on my site. I just went off on my son for not buckling quick enough. Ugh. We can find hope by rejoicing, by knowing God is near and by letting our gentleness be evident. I need his help! Thank you for your encouragement on this. I so appreciate it.

  10. Betsy,
    I loved this…especially the part about infusing gentleness into a situation. I’m going to make a concerted effort to default to gentle instead of to grumpy. Thanks for the encouragement! !

  11. Oh I can remember too many times in similar situations when I’ve allowed the situation to steel my joy. Good reminders and wisdom you’ve shared here, Betsy, and rather timely I’d say too. Blessings.

  12. Ummm…I think I should have read this BEFORE I went to Walgreens tonight and waited 45 minutes for my order that should have been waiting on me. (That whole “ready in 1 hour” thing is not real.) Thankfully, I didn’t lose my cool and spent my wait typing out a blog post on my phone. Thanks for this lovely post. It’s a keeper. #raralinkup

  13. Lord, help Betsy and myself find Joy. Help us not to get caught up in to-do lists, but to be centered on you. Let us extend peace and grace. Amen. Visiting you again from Holly Gerth LInk up. 😉 Much love Betsy!!!

  14. Oh yes, Betsy, this is for me today. My joy tank has been dry this week…and I’ve been a pretty horrible wife and mother because of it. Snappy. Irritated. Stressed. Not the best way to prepare for Christ’s coming, eh? I appreciate these pointers. To be gentle is such a good one…and I’m going to try very hard today to remember this one. And to remember that the Lord is near…always near. Thank you, friend!

    • Dear Meredith, I can understand, believe me!!! I bet you haven’t been as horrible of a wife and mother as you think. Yes, I wrote this post to myself. I’m going to focus on breathing deep and letting gentleness shine as Christmas approaches. So challenging!

  15. Yes! I lost my joy most often in the winter time! I get grumpy about circumstances outside of my control (like having to visit family members that I don’t particularly enjoy being around). I’ll be clinging to the verse the rest of the month as I tackle, um, enjoy family! Especially the rejoicing and being gentle parts.

    • I hope your visits go better than you expect, Anita. I find it harder in winter too. I think it’s the WEATHER! I get excited by rain/snow, but after a while it gets old and grey days leave me feeling that way too. 🙂 Rejoice!

  16. Hi! Excellent passage to remember to exercise kindness, rather than my grumbling. Better for my soul! Thanks, sandraj

  17. I hear ya! It is so hard to hang on to joy, but if Paul could do it from prison, so can we.

  18. I’m so glad I stopped by from the #raralinkup. Thank you for the reminder that we can have joy no matter what the circumstances if we only look to God and his blessings. I’ve had times very similar to yours in the checkout line. How much better to focus on Christ and remember He is with us and can enable us to be gentle and keep our joy.

  19. Thank you for a personally timely post, Betsy! I do okay with the gentleness part. My “superpower” is handling unreasonable, hateful people in a calm manner. But hanging on to the joy afterward is so difficult! Mean people suck the joy right out of me and make me feel depressed! I don’t get grumpy, but I get sad. It takes me hours sometimes to recover from an incident with a confrontational person. I’m going to concentrate more on secrets #1 and #3 and hold them with me tomorrow. I appreciate this advice so much!

    • May God give you grace, Deborah to keep handling the the difficult people with gentleness, and to let things go afterwards. I know what you mean by how confrontation can leave us feeling zapped for hours. Blessings to you as you hold on to the truths in this verse.

  20. Love your words and your joyful heart for Him. I’ve been purposing to hold onto the joy this Christmas, mostly because I felt it slipping through my fingers. The pressures start to weigh and this year, I just needed to breath in grace. Christmas doesn’t reign, Christ does. And I’m sticking to it! Blessings to you.

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