Have you ever heard the expression “JOY–Jesus first, Yourself last, and Others in between”? When I was growing up, one of my sisters had this poster. It really got drilled into my head as a teen, but now, it’s even more applicable. Do you ever realize that when we are discontent with our spouse, or “inconvenienced” with our kids, that it all has to deal with selfishness on our part. When we think of Christ first, and putting others ahead of ourselves, we really don’t even think about what we are not getting, and what is not fair for us. When we have minor problems with our marriage, we need to take a look in a mirror and see if our actions and thoughts are selfish. If your spouse is not meeting your need, there is nothing wrong with communicating that in a loving way, but to think angry thoughts about how they are not meeting your needs is just selfish. It doesn’t do anyone any good, it doesn’t make you a happier person. All it does is drive a wedge between you both. Put yourself if their shoes. Most of the time (especially with men) they don’t even know that there is an issue, or that you are starting to get resentful. Instead of hinting around, expecting your spouse to get clued in, try communicating your needs and desires with your spouse. Make it 100% clear to them, and then pray. Let God do the changing in their hearts if there is really a need that you have, but do not belittle them and look at all their faults. Give that to God and continue to do your part in meeting their needs. You will find that when you do that, regardless if your needs are being met, you will be a happier person. You will have peace and joy. The same thing applies to your children, or your co-workers. Keep God first in your life. If you claim to be a Christian, people should see it in your actions and your temperament. They should not even have to ask (or guess) if you are saved, it should be very obvious in the way you live your life. Learn to be a giving person. Don’t let negative thoughts consume your mind. Change your thinking to the good things you see in someone. Don’t let bitterness control you. Give all your hurt and worry to God and try to dwell on things that are good. Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (long enduring trouble/patience) gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness (humble/submissive), temperance (self-restraint, self-control): against such there is no law.
and my favorite, vs. 25:
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Not looking inward, but focusing on others can bring a true peace and joy to your life. Instead of thinking what others are not doing for you, think of what you can do for others. You will truly feel joy and fulfillment. Model Christ and you will find joy, even in the midst of your trials.