I love to laugh and I love to make others laugh.
One night while I was waiting for my husband to get home from bible study, I wanted to find a few dad jokes that I could share with him when he got home. I happened to find a handful of them that I enjoyed. My favorite one I found that night was , “a frog in the toilet” joke. You start off by telling the person that there is a frog in the toilet to persuade them to go into the bathroom. When they open the door to see the “frog that is in the toilet” this is actually what they will see…
You better believe this was the joke I wanted to do when my husband got home. So, when my husband got home I said to him, “Thank goodness you are home, there is a frog in the toilet”. He quickly responded with, “no there isn’t”. Now, for those of you who don’t know me or some of my pregnancy dream stories, I have had some pretty crazy, lucid dreams that made my husband search the bed/bedroom for things that were in my dreams. I once had a dream that a HUGE snake came out of our dresser and onto our bed. I began yelling for Luke to get it… yeah, those kinds of dreams (not fun in the moment, but very funny later). So, naturally my husband assumed I was having another “crazy dream” and he was kind enough to check it out for me knowing it wasn’t true (I think to assure me). When he got to the bathroom and opened the door and saw the “frog”, boy oh boy, did we have a good laugh. The kind of laugh that hurts your stomach. It was well worth the small amount of toilet paper wasted.
Sometimes I feel bad for the dreams and jokes my husband has to deal with, but why am I sharing this story with you all? Well, two reasons: 1) In hopes that it would make you chuckle even a small amount and 2) to encourage us all to be cultivating joy in our homes. What does it mean to cultivate joy? From where does joy flow? And why is it important as Christians, wives, and/or mothers that we cultivate joy?
If you’ve read any of the previous blogs I’ve written, you probably get the hint that I am a person of lists and definitions. So, let’s take each one of those questions and break it down.
What does it mean to cultivate joy?
According to Oxford Dictionary, to cultivate joy is to acquire or develop feelings of great pleasure and happiness. Another way of saying it is to gain possession of, or to grow in GREAT feelings of pleasure and happiness.
From where does joy flow?
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
1 Peter 1:6-9
Our joy or great feelings of pleasure/happiness flows out of our gratitude and humility for the salvation of our souls and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! We were dead in our sins, but God being rich in mercy made us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4-6). How can we not be joyful! We have been saved from God’s wrath for eternity! Oh, what great joy there is in the cross and what is to come!
Why is it important as Christians, wives, and mothers that we cultivate joy?
Throughout Scripture, we see that rejoicing brings forth praise, glory, and honor to our Heavenly Father. In the Westminster Catechism, the first question and answer is:
“What is the chief end of man?
To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Our “mission” on earth is to glorify our Heavenly Father and enJOY Him forever. We can’t glorify God- let alone enjoy Him- if we don’t find enjoyment in our salvation and the resurrection of Christ. As Christians, we are commanded to rejoice, and most importantly, to rejoice in the Lord. It isn’t an option, it is something that we must do out of our gratitude for God’s lovingkindness and mercy on us.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
Not only does cultivating joy bring God glory and honor, but it is also a sign of humility and gratitude for the amazing gift God has given us, salvation.
How do we cultivate joy?
I don’t think there is a formula or a particular way to cultivate joy. Everyone has a different personality, sense of humor, etc., but here are a few ideas of how you can cultivate joy:
- Rejoice in your salvation and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is nothing more joyful than knowing you have undeservingly been saved from God’s wrath and can enjoy Him forever!
- Laugh. Laughter is not only a sign of happiness, but it is helpful for your health and well-being. Look up why laughter is important and how it affects the human body and mind. Find ways to laugh throughout your days.
- Seek to make your spouse, children, friends, etc. laugh/experience joy by sharing jokes, tickling your kiddos, singing, playing games, or just being goofy. If you have young kids, have a dance party! Don’t let your insecurities or pride hinder you from bringing others joy.
- When you wake up (or throughout your day), if you find that you aren’t joyful, pray and ask God to give you joy. Especially when you’re in a trial or tribulation, it can be hard to be joyful, but we must ask God to give us joy.
- Serve others and the church. There is great joy when we die to ourselves and serve those around us. If you aren’t serving in your church, start. Find a place to serve- there is ALWAYS a need. Go out of your way to write an encouragement letter, show up to someone’s house with flowers, or give someone a call. Seek to live a life of joyfulness by being a servant.
- Last, but not least… have fun and praise God while doing it!
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
“This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
To God be the glory forever and ever, Amen!!