How to Cultivate the HABIT of JOY

We make THOUSANDS of small decisions daily, my friend. 

Yes. Joy can become a habit as much as being unhappy can become a constant mindset. This is really encouraging about creating joy in your marriage and as a mom. What we decide to do changes everything.
  • Should I get out of bed?
  • Should I work? 
  • Should I cook breakfast?
  • Should I shower?
  • Should I drive safely?
  • Should I respond to this text?
  • How should I respond to my husband?
  • When should I respond to my whining child? 

Opportunities to decide come relentlessly. We make so many in a day that we develop habits to overcome the overwhelm of the constant thinking required for all of these decisions. We don't think through EVERY single decision. At some point, we made a decision in the past, and it went well, so we settled into following those ruts so that we no longer have the stress of having to make that decision every single time. Our habits help us cope with the magnitude of the everyday. 

Basically, we set our lives on auto-pilot, and we do this despite the fact that our habits (pre-decided decisions) change our lives.

Our habits don't just CHANGE our lives; they ARE our lives.

The point I'm getting to is this: the thing about decisions (and habits), despite having SO many to make, is that they are each precious. As Mamas and wives, we cultivate a litany of habits within each day-to-day moment that affect our children's and husband's hearts and determine the joy-factor in our home. Our habits (and each preceding decision) cultivate the atmosphere of our home. 

Our daily decisions look like this- 

  • Will I be in a good mood today?
  • Will I be filled with worry?
  • Will I speak life?
  • Will I serve my family with a grateful spirit
  • Will I grow weary of doing good?
  • Will I pray about everything?
  • Will I spend time in God's Word?
  • Will I give my husband the affection he craves?
  • Will I cultivate the "aroma of Christ" in my home?
  • Will I discipline Biblically?
  • Will I lay down my own needs for others?
  • Will I take time to rest so that I can be filled for serving?
  • Will I treat the child in front of me as more important than the people in my phone? 
  • Will I react in this moment with anger and frustration or with patience for the teaching opportunity at hand?

The list goes on and on, Mama. And the thing about it is- how we choose to answer each of these questions every time they arise is how we begin CHOOSING to bring Jesus (and thusly JOY) into every situation.

"Choose JOY" became a popular tagline a few years ago (and a tattoo!). I think sometimes we can hear or read something so much that it begins to lose it's power. What I'm saying here is the same sentiment- we have the opportunity to CHOOSE joy in every situation.

But I want to rework it to say: We have the opportunity to DECIDE that we WANT joy, need joy, and already have full access TO joy, in each and every moment in our day. We have the opportunity to make the decision for joy so often that we ultimately have the ability to cultivate a HABIT of joy- in ALL circumstances. 

This opportunity to choose JOY exists because we can always, always choose JESUS, and it's the radical, HABITUAL choosing of Christ- in every situation- that changes everything. 

HE is always available to us- we can ALWAYS pray, always praise, always lay our burden at the foot of the cross- and he will ALWAYS redeem, always restore, always redirect. Joy of Christ beams right through worn-out places. So even when we are worn to a thin fray, He is available to fill every hole and thusly... SO. IS. JOY. To live is Christ, my friends. 

So what does it look like to DECIDE to be joy-filled? To such an extent that joy becomes an unshakeable habit? 

It looks like...

  • Deciding to put time with Jesus Christ and God's Word first in your heart (even if you can't make it first in the day... because babies). 
  • Deciding to WORSHIP God with all of your being daily, NO MATTER the hurt or pain.
  • Deciding to TRUST God- without needing to understand why- fully and deeply.
  • Deciding to lay the phone down. 
  • Deciding to do the work of disciplining your children rather than being lazy.
  • Deciding to walk in freedom instead of under the cloud of Mommy guilt
  • Deciding to look for moments to be mentally present with your loved ones throughout the day (no one is constantly "present", ya'll). 
  • Deciding to order your days in a way that give you space to breath and your children freedom to thrive.
  • Deciding to send that sexy text message to your husband (then follow-through on it no matter how tired you are that night).
  • Deciding to choose food that nourishes your body and mind, rather than jacks you up until you quickly run out of steam again.
  • Deciding to take 3 deep breaths before you correct your child (or 47 deep breaths... however many it takes). 
  • Deciding to give yourself permission to be OK right now with who you are.
  • Deciding, in advance, to have a good day, regardless of what frustrations it may hold. 
  • Deciding to let go of control and fully lean into the only one who ever controlled it all anyway. 
  • Deciding to bring grace into every relationship- deciding to forgive, forget, move or, or let go. 

Ultimately- it's deciding to turn every seemingly innocuous choice in your day into one that cultivates the habits of lavish love, radical discipleship, and overwhelming joy into your home. 

No one changes overnight. No one becomes the mom or wife they dream of being with the flip of a switch. That woman who you admire who seems to be able to either parent super well or stay ultra organized or keep her home running like clockwork? That's not magic. That is sound decision-making. What you're seeing is the culmination of intentionally thinking before acting and DECIDING to do the thing she may have been ignoring or overlooking- the fruit of well-sown habits.

You're seeing the outcome of her actively WORKING in her faith, making daily choices that honor God and cultivate a Godly atmosphere in her home. (check out my favorite book about this here)

Our decisions are the work of our faith, friends. Our decisions are how we fundamentally LIVE our faith- inside of our home in the ministry of our four walls and ultimately out into the world. 

Today, every day, let's decide to follow Jesus.

I want to give you a PRACTICAL tool to begin cultivating the habit of joy in your heart- one step at a time. Keep an eye on your inbox for "12 Habits of Joy"- coming soon! Subscribe so you don't miss out!