Maybe, like me, you have so many reasons to be joyful, but it seems that someone or something seems to run off with this spiritual treasure. What can we do to stop 'em from stealing our joy?
- Quit doing business with them. In our local news lately have been reports of home invasions that strike fear in the hearts of neighbors. The fact that the criminals were doing business with the victim makes everyone feel a little bit more at ease. We can feel safer emotionally by choosing not to do business with people who attack us verbally or physically or who only make emotional withdrawals, never deposits.
- Claim your right to the joy. Some theft victims are reluctant to press charges because they feel guilty for having so much. We are never to feel guilt for having joy, even if others are depressed. We may not be able to share our joy, but we can share its Source.
- Stop stealing from yourself. I've had my share of things stolen, but I've robbed myself of more than any thief has. I haven't taken care of my belongings and they've been misplaced or destroyed. In the same way, we can steal our own joy by not taking care of ourselves. Joy is harder to come by when we don't have optimal sleep, nutrition, or exercise.
- Use a security system. Most of the times I've been robbed have been when I've left a car door unlocked or left my valuables in plain sight. We don't have to hide from others to keep our joy, but we do need a security system. God's Word is not only an inexhaustible source of joy, but it's a weapon we can use to ward off the lies the con men use to get access to our treasure. The Bible is the best security system there is, but even it won't be effective if we keep letting the thieves in the door through the media we take in.
Have you found any other ways of keeping your joy, short of gun ownership? 😉
You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. (Hebrews 10:34)
Most of us realize that continually giving handouts to the financially insecure will not help them long-term. This is not to say that we should not help an otherwise financially secure individual who has had a setback. We should. But the truth is, the more we give to the truly financially insecure, the more insecure they will become. Rather than believing that they can provide for themselves (or that God can provide for them), they will come to expect you to save them. Not only will the helpee feel more insecure, but her resentment toward you as her benefactor will grow, too.
While I have understood this principle in the realm of finances, I have failed to recognize its validity in the social realm. If an individual is chronically insecure (and isn’t just having a temporary setback), there is no amount of emotional handouts that will satisfy. Compliments, encouragement, and even vulnerability on our parts will not create social security for those who have not discovered the means for claiming security for themselves. Further, as your insecure other continues to be dissatisfied with all you do to lift her up, she will often decide to tear you down.
If you’re writing social insecurity checks your spirit can’t cash, consider:
- Asking your insecure other questions to provoke insight. If she is a believer, you might ask her what keeps her from experiencing God’s perfect love and approval. If she is not, share with her how God has given you a deep and lasting security.
- Relinquishing guilt for your insecure other‘s suffering. No one feels insecure because of someone else’s happiness. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Chronically insecure people choose to feel insecure.
- Focusing your attention on those who are willing to take responsibility for their own self-image. There are women whose identity is solid, but could use a little encouragement. They don’t get it from us when we’re busy trying to help the chronically insecure.
- Praying for your chronically insecure person. Only God can fill the hole that you keep trying to fill up. Trust Him to create the circumstances most likely to create change. You may have suggested therapy, books, and Bible studies to your insecure person to no avail. If you’re working harder to help than the insecure person, it’s time to transfer the case to Jesus. He’s the best therapist I know!
LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. (Psalm 16:5)