How All My Stuff Distracted Me From a Full, Joyful Life (and What I Did to Break Free)

Jesus came so that we might have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10) Paul wrote that joy has nothing to do with ‘stuff.’ (Philippians 4:11) His own circumstances were often dire …shipwrecks, jail, abuse, and torment. To sustain a joyful countenance amidst that kind of suffering requires Holy Spirit power.

Modern-day lives are overwhelmed with images. Our days are posted, compared and sized up as we scroll through our social media channels. We all have vices that keep us from living in the full and abundant freedom and sustained joy that Christ died to give us. The journey to break free of the strangling grip of our stuff starts by clinging to God’s Truth, and leaning on Christ alone.

I recently realized the connection between having too much stuff and feelings of overwhelm, frustration and a lack of joy. Here’s what I’ve done to cut back on the stuff and put my focus back on what matters most.

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A Prayer for God’s Help in Times of Trouble

“May your God, who you serve continually, rescue you!” – Daniel 6:16

The Story of Daniel: The Power of Prayer and Faith in Times of Great Trouble

If anyone needed help in time of trouble, it was Daniel. This verse finds him sentenced to a pit of lions for praying to and worshiping God (Daniel 6:13-18). The administrators set to serve under the current reign of King Darius were bent on removing Daniel from his seat. Daniel had found favor with King Nebuchadnezzar and King Belshazzar prior to King Darius’ reign through his interpretation of dreams and godly wisdom.

So, they convinced the king to “issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thrifty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions den” (Daniel 6:7). The king, not realizing that the “royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed …”(6:7) did not include Daniel, agreed.

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How to Create Lasting Memories With Your Kids – 5 Simple Ideas

“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100: 5

Intentionally marking moments with our children creates a living legacy of the many Scriptures reminding us to daily refocus on God’s goodness. Let’s resolve to live each day, not mindlessly ignoring the challenging world we face, but teaching our children to thrive in it. For Christ has already overcome the world. (John 16:16) The Father’s love will never falter based upon any missteps we make or misfortune we endure. Practice putting these five elements into play with your children this week, and watch the ball of joy roll through your house, and your life.

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“Glorious Weakness,” by Alia Joy

“To believe that the experiences we have are valid, that the feelings and expressions of them are true and real and worthy of being listened to, is one of the greatest mercies we offer each other.” Alia Joy, “Glorious Weakness”

Joy’s prolific wring style is poetic and honest. It’s rare to read a book written with such unique character, and Alia Joy’s bleeds off of these pages along with her pain and triumphs throughout. She has yielded her life to her readers in attempt to bring hope through the hardest parts of life. Not to glorify the hard, or pretend that the harshness of life is easy. In fact, she does an outstanding job of meeting readers in the reality of what life is. Hard, but worthy of the pursuit, when our eyes are fixed on Christ. This is not an airy read, full of motivational quips about how we’ll get through the rough patches in our realities. It’s most inspirational because it’s the raw and real pages out of the author’s life relate so much to the everyday pain many of us go through, whether or not our exact circumstances parallel hers.

“What if we lived as though we actually believe God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness?” Joy challenges her readers. The book is broken up into four sections: “Weakness,” “Hope,” “Strength,” and “Glory,” all weaving the best parts of our compassionate Father and loving Savior into the tapestry of life on earth and all its qualms …and celebratory moments. 

I was moved as a woman and inspired as a writer. I recommend this book to anyone struggling to deal with realty beyond the social media highlight reel, and brave enough to find God’s glory there …in our weakness. 

“We are not better Christians when we call the hardest parts of our lives, ‘good.’ But we can learn to call God good in the hardest parts of our lives.” Alia Joy, “Glorious Weakness.”

(I received a copy of this book in exchanged for my honest review.)

Click here to purchase your copy of “Glorious Weakness,” by Alia Joy

A Prayer for Stay at Home Moms

Whether you embrace the “stay-at-home” status, miss adult conversations, or work while they nap, the struggle to maintain a daily balance is real. No longer are we on our own schedule, but that of little people who can’t tell time. Life is constantly interrupted by inconvenient vomiting and quarantine-worthy cases of pinkeye. 

They can hear us on a conference call three floors down and tucked into the corner of the basement, but are nowhere to be found when getting into mischief. Every time we turn around, we are letting go of one stage and barreling into the next. 

When the tears roll down over your overwhelmed cheeks and you can’t recall the last time you washed your hair, hold onto this prayer. 

Father, Praise You for parenthood, and thank You for the opportunity to stay at home with our children. Though we don’t always feel appreciated by our kids or our society, You remind us that we are worthy and we are loved. Our children and our calling to stay at home are specifically ours, for nothing You ordain is coincidental. 

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