Yesterday we looked at the first Fruit of the Spirit, and today we will discuss the second fruit...joy. In today's society, being filled with joy can be a very difficult thing to do. After all, we are surrounded by bad news from the media all the time...famine, violence, illnesses, divorce..the list goes on. However, God has called us to, "rejoice always," (1 Thes. 5:16) and give thanks in all circumstances. As I was pondering on this concept of joy and how it applies to our marriage, I began to brainstorm about some things that can steal our joy in marriage, and wanted to elaborate on a few; insecurity, financial issues, and a negative attitude.
Let's begin with the first one...insecurity. This is a personal struggle for me, and one that I seem to be in constant battle with. It's not that Jeff has ever given me a reason to feel insecure, it just stems from my own personal issues. I especially had a hard time with this in the beginning of our marriage. With God's help, I have gotten more of a hold on it, but it still creeps up frequently. Let me just tell you, I have found this issue to be the biggest thief of joy, and it most certainly is not what God intended for us. A few years ago I completed the Women Making a Difference in Marriage study, by Lana Packer, and wanted to share a paragraph from her book... "Many women live with fear of their husbands' having an affair, of divorce, or of widowhood. Certainly, any of these fears are possible occurrences, since all of us are sinful and mortal. The fact that something can happen does not mean that it will happen. When we focus on our fears, we are telling ourselves that an outside possibility is a reality. We have allowed a maybe to dominate our present. The result is that we have robbed ourselves of the joy of today." Do not be like me and allow fear and insecurity to rob you of your joy. I have found on days that I am really struggling, it helps to say scripture out loud to myself as a reminder of who I am in Christ, and pray that the Lord would take the fearful thoughts away, and fill me with His truth.
The next thief of joy I want to discuss is financial issues. Many times men and women have very different financial goals, and finding a happy balance may seem nearly impossible. However, let me encourage you that it is very possible. The key is communication. This means sitting down and talking to one another about your individual goals and then working together to accomplish them. A few weeks ago I came across this article from Dave Ramsey, and thought it was perfect in terms of discussing finances in marriage. Please check it out here.
Lastly, I wanted to talk about having a negative and critical attitude in marriage. No one likes to be around someone who is negative all the time, and having a critical spirit can deflate your husband faster than a nail in a tire. If this is an area you are struggling with, confess it to the Lord and ask Him to help you have a more positive attitude. I would also challenge you to kindly greet your husband daily. Trust me, he does not want to wake up to, or come home to a moody wife. As the women of our home, we set the tone for our household. Are we going to choose to have a home filled with animosity, or of complete joy?
Today, along with everyday, I choose joy. I hope you will too!
Dear Precious Savior, today I pray that you fill me with a spirit of joy. Please help me to focus on the positive more than the negative, and find complete joy in you always. Lord, I desire to be a joyful wife, and pray that you fill our marriage with joy overflowing. Thank you Jesus, that is because of you, and what you have done for us, that we have the hope and a future of joy with you in eternity. I love you more than life itself. Amen.