Friend, what is threatening to steal your joy today? Do you struggle with finding your place? What about when you feel left out, passed over, or uninvited? Our minds can really do a number on us. So many things threaten to steal our joy, so let’s talk about this issue today.
I can relate to feelings of not belonging and feelings of being left out. But you know what?
Truth be told, I’ve done that to others too. Yup, (gulp) guilty as charged.
I remember it well—my first-grade birthday party. I invited my entire class with a personal invitation, or so I thought. Somehow I forgot to invite someone. Donna.
She was the sweetest girl–quiet and polite. I simply forgot to invite her, and I didn’t even realize it until the Monday morning after. Back at school and still feeling awesome coming off of a birthday weekend of fun and friends, I walked into the classroom, and there sat Donna. My heart sank. I was sure she had heard about the party. I don’t remember if I even said anything to her. I hope I did. I hope I said sorry I didn’t invite you, Donna—I didn’t mean to leave you out.
We have all been left out, forgotten, or just plain passed over at some time in our lives. It doesn’t feel all warm and fuzzy, does it? For some reason, we choose to hang on to those kinds of memories while some of the best ones get buried in the recesses of our minds.
Why do we do that?
It seems in our humanness, negativity shouts louder than positivity; bad memories overshadow so many good ones. But we need to change that mess and renew our minds with God’s truth.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
When we renew our minds, we can ask the Lord to remind us of all of our wonderful blessings—memories that have gone missing for so long. They are in there somewhere.
Every experience has been recorded in our complex and intricate minds …
“It is incredibly important to realize that, even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control our reactions to our circumstances—we are not just victims of our biology or our pasts. I have researched and experienced the evidence of the mind-brain connection, and recognize the need to help people realize that we all have incredibly powerful minds, minds that can cope and prosper as we learn to operate in God’s magnificent love.” – Dr. Caroline Leaf, cognitive neuroscientist
There is so much we are still learning about the capacity and possibilities that await us when we power on our brains. Our minds are always processing the stimuli we’re exposed to, but we need to keep our thoughts in check.
When we find ourselves dwelling on thoughts of being uninvited, excluded, and left out, we can take heart that we belong to something bigger–bigger than my first-grade birthday party and bigger than ourselves.
Aren’t you glad?
We belong to God, and we are included in His grand plan. Jesus provided a personalized invitation like no other. He invites us to personally connect with Him, and it’s time to tell others they’re invited, too.
How do we do this?
I drove passed Indian River Fruit and Gifts last week. A landmark in our community for as long as I can remember, it now sits run-down and abandoned. Over the years, when I’d drive by, my eyes feasted on displays of edible goodness piled high in baskets and bins out front. Vibrant colors of fresher than store-bought fruits, nuts, specialized gifts, and souvenirs. Abundant offerings from an abundant harvest. Now all that remains is an empty shell–the vibrant colors gone. It’s a reminder of what we can become if we hold back our abundant offerings and gifts.
Our God-given gifts, talents, and abilities have been entrusted to us by God. When we allow insecurity to keep us from using them, it will choke our calling, and our gift offerings will remain hidden–abandoned. The problem with that is our gifts are not transferable. Our gifts are irrevocable, and abandoned gifts will not bless anyone, least of all God.
So how do we communicate to others they belong in God’s grand plan? We find that place where we belong, and we help others see how they belong. We use our gifts to impact the world.
By our own strength, yes, it can be intimidating. But when we feel the most inept and ill-equipped to accomplish what God calls us to do, that is the best place to be. It’s in that place of how in the world am I going to be able to do that? When God steps in and makes us able. He equips us and flips the impossible, and makes it possible.
What is your offering to the world, friend? The world needs your gifts. Let’s not forget to invite someone in so they can live out their fierce calling too.
When we discover what it means to belong, we are called to share it. Step out confidently in Christ and be the woman God created you to be. Feeling left out, uninvited, and that we don’t belong can threaten to steal our joy. Can you relate?
Surrender the Joy Stealers is here!
We battle daily with circumstances that threaten to steal our joy, but guess what? I have exciting news for you …
My new Bible study, Surrender the Joy Stealers: Rediscover the Jesus Joy in You, just released, and it’s now available on Amazon!
Here’s the Surrender the Joy Stealers Lay of the Land:
Surrender the Joy Stealers is a strategic six-week Bible study rooted in John 15, which helps women rediscover the overflowing, ever-present Jesus joy within, that fills them, empowers them, and ripens the fruit God produces in their lives. Using personal stories and Biblical application, women will learn how to identify their joy stealers, surrender them to God, reawaken the joy within them, and share that joy with others.
Week One: Reveal
Week Two: Respond
Week Three: Receive
Week Four: Renew
Week Five: Rest
Week Six: Reach
I also added a leader’s guide and bonus gift! Grab a copy, invite friends to grab a copy, and get together to study together!
If you’re interested in joining the launch team to help get the word out, reach out to me at dorisswift.com on my contact page.
It’s time to realize the truth. We belong to God, and that’s the best place to be.
Blessings of Joy, Peace, and Love,