I’ve been reading through Bob Goff’s Live In Grace, Walk in Love Devotional, and one of the days from last month has really stuck with me. Bob was talking about the power of habits and connected the physical process of building habits with the spiritual process of building habits that help us create a lifestyle of loving others. He said…
“When joy is a habit, love is a reflex.”
And then he posed the question: How do we make joy a habit in our everyday lives so our reflex is always love for the people around us?
Confession: I’m not very good at making joy a habit. I tend to over-analyze and have a critical attitude of everything, from myself to my ministry to other people. So I have to be very intentional about making joy a habit in my life.
One way I’ve done that is by keeping a gratitude journal, which I talk more about here. I’ve also asked my husband and closest friends to gently remind me to choose joy when they see my critical side taking over. I even have sticky notes on my desk or computer with little reminders or Bible verses that help motivate me to re-focus my thoughts.
Bob’s reminder that a habit of joy naturally leads to a reflex of love to those around us is another motivation for choosing joy. If I can love (and therefore lead) people better when practicing a habit of joy, why wouldn’t I make that a top priority in my life? I can more often respond in grace rather than annoyance when a volunteer backs out last minute. I can more often respond in love rather than frustration when a child acts out. I can more often respond with peace rather than defensiveness when a parent raises a concern or complaint for the ministry. And that will help me be a better leader for the people I serve.
So what about you? How do you make joy a habit in your everyday life so your reflex is always love for the people around you?
Great post! I have been trying to watch for and increase this in my life, too. I have begun watching for moments of God’s grace poured out on me – sunshine coming in through the window, my kids all reading at the same time, a colorful plate of healthy food – to snap a picture of and journal it that way. This misses the inanimate moments of grace, but sometimes I snap something that will take me back to that. If I was blessed by the gift of camaraderie in a meeting, I might snap a pic of the wood on the conference room table, or screenshot the Zoom logo, etc.