The 21-Day Joy Cure
Mandy, our former next-door neighbor’s daughter, is the same age as my daughter. The two became friends in elementary school. Mandy grew up, moved to Atlanta, got married, gave birth to a son, and embarked on a magical life with her family. So, we were stunned to receive a phone call telling us that Mandy’s husband died suddenly of an undiagnosed heart ailment. The news was devastating.
The impact of that loss on Mandy and her teenage son never lessened with time; in fact, it seemed to intensify. Grief, trauma, and disappointments impact us all, often creating an almost total spiritual systems failure. In reality, this is the same sweeping, profound, debilitating attack David witnessed and tearfully described in the Psalms.
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your record? (Psalm 56:8)
My prayer for Mandy was a strategy for overcoming the darkness that seemed to suck her in. I proposed joy as a prescription! Yes, joy is a medicine. I recommended the 21-Day Joy Cure.
Repeating something for 21 consecutive days potentially creates a life-changing habit. Here are the first seven steps of my 21 days to pure joy.
DAY 1–Rise, shine, give God the glory! Start your day in worship, even if enemies are on your trail and your dreams seem to be falling apart.
DAY 2—Strategically pursue joy. Choose it this day; map it out. Write a personal plan for living as a joyful Christian in a broken world.
DAY 3–Rewrite all your tomorrows. Create the future you desire. Envision it. Write joy on your walls (literally or figuratively). Fill every room with gladness. Be determined to be joyful despite a blanket of options for a’ la carte despair.
DAY 4–Put the enemy’s audacious, undisputed agenda on your radar. Remember his mission to kill, steal, and destroy. Every mental, physical, or emotional attack is an effort by Satan to undermine your joy. The devil cannot wipe that smile off your face unless you let him; he doesn’t have that power until you relinquish it.
DAY 5–Take responsibility for your own joyful life. Make every moment count. Praise God for every small blessing and little breakthrough. Count it all joy!
DAY 6–Get out of the ditch! Schedule something each day that you enjoy. Music. A walk in the park. Connect with what inspires you.
DAY 7–Eliminate joy stealers. If that’s people, extract yourself. If it’s a gloomy, depressing thought invading your mind, dismiss it.
“… the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Please read my column here next month for more of the Joy Cure and news about a free excerpt from the book “21 Days to Pure Joy.”
Regina M. Prude is an author and inspirational speaker. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook (www.facebook.com/reginaprude).Twitter (http://twitter.com/rprude.) Write: PO Box 58795, Nashville, TN 37205.