Podcast Episode 79 – How to Feel More Joy

Jul 2, 2023 | Podcast

I’m Diana Swillinger, and you’re listening to the Renew Your Mind podcast. Episode 79, How to Feel More Joy. 

DIANA: Hey. Hey, everybody. Welcome to another episode. I have a special episode for you today. This is a recording of a free class that I did online recently on how to feel joy in any situation. It was helpful to the people who showed up and joined, and I got such great feedback on it that I thought, you know what? I’m, um, just going to share it with all you. So here it is. Enjoy. 

Hey. Hey, everybody. Welcome to how to Feel Joy in Any Situation, the free class for this month, and I’m so glad you all are here. I’m Diana Swillinger. I am an advanced certified life coach for Christian women who’ve tried to do the right thing all their lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I think we’ve all been there. I, uh, describe it that way because that was my life until I started learning practical ways to renew my mind. And so even in light of today’s topic, I’m going to talk to you a little bit about, uh, just thoughts about joy in general. But we’re going to get practical. I am all about being practical. Here we go. How to have joy in any circumstance. The reason I picked this topic is because this was my struggle for so long. I’m like, why do I not have joy? I’ve been a Christian since I was four. I’ve been trying to do everything right. I go to church. I was a worship leader, trying to be a good wife, a good mom, do all the right things. But what God promised when we follow him, peace, hope, joy. I was not feeling it. I was not feeling it at all. So I found out I was the problem. 

Here’s what we’re going to go over today. As we talk about joy in any situation. We’re going to talk first about what is joy next, the barriers that are getting in the way and why we’re not feeling joy. And then finally, we will find ways to feel joy on purpose. All right. What we mistakenly think about joy. Before we talk about what it is, let’s talk about what we’re thinking about that’s kind of getting in our way. We think joy happens to us. There’s stuff going on, things people do, even blessings from God, anything that’s coming from outside of us, offered to us, brings us joy. But that’s not how it works. It’s not like somebody mows our lawn and then they give us a platter with joy on it and we pick it up and we eat it. And it’s happened to us based on what they did. And now we have joy. It doesn’t work that way. We, uh, also mistakenly think joy happens because of good circumstances. If everything goes well, then we feel joy. If we don’t have as many struggles and we can solve all the problems fast enough, then we’ll have joy. And lastly, and there’s more mistakes, uh, about what we think about joy. But these were the main three that came to my mind is that we mistakenly think that maybe joy in all circumstances isn’t really possible. 

Maybe that’s for other people, somehow they miraculously experience it and we marvel at them and we’re like but that’s for them, there’s something that doesn’t make it possible. For me that is not true. So if that’s not what joy is, what is joy? Joy is in, uh, the dictionary which I love looking words up as the emotion evoked by well being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. So if you think about that, if that’s true and God is our source of joy and it’s a never ending supply of joy, and if it’s true, that our experience of joy and our experience of lack of joy are evoked by those things well being, success, good fortune or the prospect of possessing what one desires. That means joy is hinging on our personal beliefs and our definition about what well being means, what good fortune means. Our joy is hinging upon the prospect and the experience of what we desire. So equally, if we’re able to hinge our joy onto those things, things we desire, our definitions of well being, success and good fortune, choosing what we desire is going to determine our joy. If m we desire precarious things that are out of our control, maybe we won’t feel joy. 

We might hinge our joy on desires for our kids to be happy. And so if our desire is for our kids to be happy and they’re not, we don’t get our desire met and we don’t have joy. Whether we have difficulties or not will then make our joy dependent on that. Whether we get the promotion or not, whether we get the house we want or not, whether everyone gets along on vacation or not, whatever it is. If we define well being and success, good fortune and have our desires all centered on those things out of our control, then our joy will be out of control. Another definition I want to give you, uh, of what joy is. Webster says it’s evoked by well being, success, good fortune and the prospect of our desires possessing our desires. Rick Warren, who’s a pastor out of California, his idea of what joy is is the settled assurance that God is in control of the details of my life and the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation. 

So if our desire is to praise God in every situation, and we define well being and success as knowing everything is going to be all right, and if our well being means we’re entrusting God, that’s how we know our being is well, because it’s in the hands of God, then that’s where joy is. All right? Now that’s a little bit about what joy is. Next we’re going to talk about why we don’t feel joy. What’s blocking us from feeling joy? Because everything I’ve told you so far, you’ve probably like, I’ve heard that before. I know I heard that before, too, and I still didn’t feel joy, okay? That’s because I had barriers blocking my way, and I didn’t know how to proactively create joy in my life. So barriers, why we don’t feel joy. Barrier number one, we don’t think we deserve it. I’m not going to solve this problem in this webinar. I’m telling you, it’s a barrier. I’m going to say a few things about it, but if you think you don’t deserve joy, it’s because you don’t think you’re enough. You don’t think you’re good enough. You’re not worthy. I have done podcast episodes on this. I didn’t write down the names of them, but I have a couple on them. Because one of the most common thought errors that people who work with me admittedly have is that they don’t think they’re enough. They don’t think they’re good enough. They don’t think they’re worthy. Hands down, three to one, it’s the main three to one, meaning this is 30. Uh, 3% of the time, people think they’re not enough. And that’s their main problem with their problem with the feeling terrible in life. The other 67% of the time, it’s something else, any random thing. So, uh, this is our main thing. We think we aren’t good enough to deserve joy. But I’m telling you, if you think you don’t deserve joy, that is completely unrelated to the existence of abundant, never ending joy that is available to you. Your belief that you don’t deserve it has nothing to do with how much joy is available to you. It’s still there. 

It’s like standing outside a store. In the joy store. You go in, the shelves are stocked with joy. They never run out. They’re always restocking. They never, ever run out. Uh, it’s free. You go in, you bag up whatever you want, and you get to leave with it. And you’re standing outside saying, I don’t deserve it. Anybody can go in. Everybody is allowed. And you’re choosing not to go have that joy because you think you don’t deserve it. That is a thought error. Everybody gets to have joy. It’s always there. It’s always available. It’s a never ending source, just like God’s love and grace. The barrier to you thinking you deserve it is a thought in your brain. It’s beliefs you have in your head. It’s letters in here that are forming words in here and creating sentences in here. And then you decide to believe them. That’s it. You choose to believe that you’re not worthy. You choose to believe you’re not enough. And if you are locked in that belief and if you don’t want to do the work to move off of that lie that you’re not worthy, you’re going to sabotage the joy that you want in your life every time. This is why I say, go listen to those podcasts if you have work to do here. Because you need to be willing to move off that belief and, uh, believe that you are worthy of joy if you want it right? Otherwise you’re not going to go in the store and get any, you’re going to stand outside like, I don’t deserve it. 

You have to be willing to move off that belief. Joy is for you. That’s the truth. If you think joy is not for you and you don’t deserve it, that’s a lie. Lie, lie, lie, lie. You don’t have to believe it. You are fully valuable. Any belief you have otherwise does not change your intrinsic value. All it does is rob you of, uh, peace and joy. So be willing to question the lie that you don’t deserve joy and start moving to the truth that God has joy for anyone who wants it. He does not discriminate. He is all inclusive. He gives joy to those who want it. Barrier number two to experiencing joy, I already kind of talked about, but it’s linking joy to circumstances. Like I said before, we think if circumstances go well and things are comfortable and preferred to our liking and it’s easy enough and not challenging, then we’re going to be able to feel joy. I’m saying that those times when things were easy and circumstances went well and you were comfortable and you did feel joy, it’s because you gave yourself permission to feel joy. You allowed yourself to feel the joy that was already there. Okay? Joy is confidence in God. Joy is desiring what he guarantees. Joy in all circumstance is possible because, um, we choose to think about and desire what is consistent, m, and unshakable about God. Joy is possible by renewing our mind and managing what we choose to set our thoughts on. If you are continually focused on what is unstable and out of control, that is too precarious for you to feel joy. That’s an unstable place to set your thoughts. It brings feelings of doubt, insecurity, worry, exhaustion, overwhelm. But when you focus on what is stable now, you have a sure footing and it becomes safe to take that joy. 

God is stable. God is with me. God is with you. And honestly, when that becomes enough, when that’s enough, that’s the source of joy. That’s enough in the circumstances around can’t change. It because that is so stable. All right, barrier number three to joy is thinking that joy cannot coexist with other emotions that are painful. It’s thinking that you can’t feel joy unless you have an absence of painful emotions. We think joy can’t be experienced during discomfort. Like, I can’t feel sad and no joy. I can’t feel angry and have joy. I can’t feel nervous and no joy. But that is not true at all. It’s not. I didn’t stack up a whole bunch of verses because I’m the life coach who trusts you. Read your Bible a lot and you know what it says. And so I want to bring you the practical, but there’s one verse through this whole thing that kept popping up in my brain. And it’s from James. James. One, two through four from the new, uh, Living translation. Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. So we think we can’t have a painful emotion and have joy. Except James is telling us, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. How on earth is that possible? How is that possible? And he goes on to say that this is when our faith is tested and we grow, but it’s joy. We get to rejoice in trials. The best example I could think of this is grief. Have you ever had one of those grieving moments? I mean, uh, especially when if you get together and if you haven’t experienced this, if you lose someone you love and the family and the friends gather and then people start telling stories. We love to tell those fun and happy stories and everybody starts smiling. 

Sometimes we start laughing because it was a hilarious situation when we’re remembering that person and we’re crying simultaneously. I m can have joy and grief. That’s the one that we’re familiar with. But I’m telling you, the other emotions, it’s possible too. You can feel disappointed and joy at the same time. You can feel angry and joy at the same time. I could have one of my kids be upset with me and I could feel that pain of, uh, disconnection and sadness that I’ve disappointed them or something and feel joy that we were able to have a discussion about it at the same time. It’s possible. All right. How to feel joy on purpose. Okay, those are the three barriers. Uh, I’m sure there’s more, but again, I’m bringing you, um we’re not going to talk for 5 hours about this. I’m bringing you some of the top ones. Now, I am going to give you basically the formula that I used to allow myself to feel joy in my own life and to create that experience for myself. Because again, remember, joy is always there. The store is open. God’s got a never ending supply. I was the one that needed to go in that store and get it. So the first thing is to choose joy. Joy is not something that happens to you. Joy is a choice. It’s a choice in what you choose to think about, which we’re going to talk about in a minute. It’s a choice in what you choose to believe. It’s a choice in where you put your trust. 

You can choose joy. I know. I’ve heard it before, too, and I was like, I’m, um, trying. It’s not working. I hope some of these things I’m about to say will help you. If you’re looking for the how, this is it. Pay attention. Write some things down. Give yourself permission to feel joy. So a lot of what I’m going to give you here in the how, the practical is things to think on purpose. You first have to give yourself permission to feel joy. That could even be your sentence. I give myself permission to feel joy. Think that in your brain or say it to yourself in the mirror. Other thoughts, um, that will help you give yourself permission to feel joy. Even in a difficult situation like we think, I can’t let myself feel joy because they’re suffering. That would be wrong for me to feel joy if they’re suffering. No, you can still feel pain for them suffering and have some pain about what they’re going through, and feel for them and have compassion, empathy, and feel joy. You can any situation, because joy is not dependent on the situation. It’s dependent on our thoughts and God. The joy store is open, so here’s some things I might say to myself. Write these down. If one sticks out to you, write it down. Diana. I like to call myself my name, too, so I listen. I get my attention. Diana, it’s okay for you to feel joy. Or Diana, you are allowed to feel joy. Or, Diana, it’s okay for you to feel joy even when you or other people have pain. Or, Diana, joy is for you, too. It’s not just for the other people. It’s for you, too. Joy is for humans. God gives it to all of us. You’re a human. You get to have joy. Diana, it’s for you. It’s okay. Give yourself permission. Number two, or these aren’t numbered, but the next thing on how to feel joy is choose your thoughts, which we kind of did with permission already. But psychologically and practically speaking, you guys know how this works. Have you heard my stuff before? What you think leads to what you feel, which leads to what you do. We’re not concerned about what you do today. We’re talking about what you want to feel. But the order is what you think, what you feel, what you do. 

If you want to feel joy, that comes before what you do. So you can’t go out there and do a bunch of stuff to feel joy. That’s trying to bring it from circumstances in the outside that doesn’t work what comes before what you feel is what you think. If joy is always available and you want to feel it, the one and only thing you can do to experience it is to work on what you think. From what you think will come what you feel. It is a scientific, psychological, brain studied fact. And it’s god made us this way. He did it why he wants us to renew our minds. That’s m why he wants us to meditate on the Word, why he wants us to pray. Okay? So if you want to feel joy, you have to start with a thought that allows you to feel joy. You control your mind. You control your thinking. You are the one that has control over a, uh, thought, each thought. You are the one that has control over you feeling certain feelings. If you want to have joy, the power is yours. It is. The power is yours. The power lies in managing your mind. Lastly, the last practical thing you do here to feel more joy in your life, in any situation, is to just keep practicing. Just keep practicing. I, uh, think I was in my late 30s when I was like, how do I feel this joy? How do I feel it? I don’t get it. How do I feel it? I don’t get it. And then I started putting this into practice year after year after year. It took me years. Of course, I didn’t have the life coaching tools that I have now. When I started these things I’m teaching you, I didn’t know. I was kind of muddling through it without knowing I was doing it. So it took me a lot longer. But I’m giving you guys the path. It can happen in shorter time for you. But you can’t skip over the practicing it. You don’t just try a new thought once. And do I feel joy now? Uh oh, it didn’t work. Oh, well, I guess it doesn’t work. No. You have to practice, practice, practice. 

We have to find out what’s going on in your thoughts that are sabotaging you from feeling joy and gradually start shifting them to thoughts that allow you to feel joy. Practice, practice, practice. It’s during the difficult circumstances that joy is hard, right? So here’s some ideas of thoughts if you want some, because I know it helps when people give you examples. So when something is hard and you are struggling to feel joy and you want to practice thinking differently, you can try. A thought like, this is hard and God is still here. Um, you could think something like, pain in life is normal, but it doesn’t change what I’m grateful for. Do you know what you’re grateful for? By the way, gratitude practices are not a joke. They really work. If you don’t know what you’re grateful for, grab a notebook, a pad of paper, post it notes, one of your kids old homework notebooks, anything. And write down one or two things you’re grateful for every day. When life is hard, a certain situation is hard. You can think this situation is hard. Pain in life is normal, but it doesn’t change what I’m grateful for. Doesn’t change who God is. 

Okay, other thoughts. No matter what is happening, God is still God. If you’re seeing someone else in pain, your thought could be, um, I see this person is in pain. But I am going to rejoice that this is their opportunity to mature and grow. You can do it for yourself. I’m in pain and I feel joy that this is my opportunity to mature and grow. God is still God. My mom thought that I loved God is bigger than this. I mean, how joyful is that? To just think, oh my God, look how big and magnificent and mighty you are even in this joy. Oh, I did have another verse I was going to tell you guys here. Remember I talked so much about Philippians four? Remember it? This is how we feel joy in any situation. The New Living translation says fix your thoughts on what is true. Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely and admirable. 

Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. And keep putting into practice what you have, uh, learned. There are always things to think about that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Those things never disappear. They always exist. There is always that to consider and bring to mind. Practice, practice, practice. Paul said, keep putting into practice all you have learned. Keep putting into practice all you have learned and you will get better at this. And you will start experiencing more joy. God is joy. He’s unchanging a, uh, never ending supply of joy. You want to feel it, you have the power to feel it. Joy is nonjudgment of you, non judgment of yourself and non judgment of others. Joy is acceptance of yourself and acceptance of others. 

Joy is compassion for yourself and compassion for others. Joy is love for yourself and love for others. Joy is trusting. God wins. He brings everything together for his glory. He works in every sorrow, every pain, every discomfort, every trial, every difficulty, every failed relationship, every challenge. He works all of it together for his glory. You lose sight of that, you feel defeated and overwhelmed. You keep that in your sights and you can be grateful. And you can feel the joy. The joy that transcends. Understanding doesn’t make sense. Things are hard. I shouldn’t feel this, but I do. All, uh, right, you all. I want to remind you that you can have a free mind shift coaching call with me. If you haven’t done a free call with me. And uh, if you’re here for more joy and you want more joy, you can spend 40 minutes with me on a mind shift coaching call and I will help you feel more joy, more peace. Every single time I do a free coaching call with somebody, they say, that really did help. You always say, one call will help. That one really did. That’s amazing. If you want to master feeling joy in any situation, get your free coaching call. 

All right, let me just end it with this on you guys. I’m not blowing smoke. Life is hard. My life is hard right now. It is. My life has been hard. I decided i, uh, decided to stop burying myself, to hide from the pain. And I became honest with what was going on in my life. I became honest with myself. I wanted more joy. I didn’t want to live the fake life. I didn’t want to be hiding. I don’t want to pretend everything was fine. And I spent years trying to figure it out and investing in this and crying out to God, like, Please, God. You say there’s, Joy? Give it to me, because I can’t do this. And somebody just put in the Q and A. It all sounds so easy. It was not, and it’s still not. This is the life. I’m living it. I’m alive. I’m growing through pain. Joy. Joy in the trials, like, this hurts God, and this is growing joy. Do I have it here? Okay, you guys don’t have questions, but I’m going to give you my last minute recommendation here, and then I’m going to go. You haven’t read this. If you want to know how to suffer and have joy, you read this. Hindsight and High Places by Hannah Hanard. It’s not a long book. It’s an allegory. And, um, did you see that? I have notes and circles and stuff in there. She has two companions on her trip to follow after God. She has to have suffering and sorrow be her companions while she embraces love and joy. Incredible truth on our experience. Joy is not the absence of suffering and sorrow and pain. Joy is embracing all of it and being real and authentic through it all and pressing into God in that relationship with him, that’s joy. We can do it through renewing our thoughts and our mind. It’s not easy. It’s not easy, but that’s why I come and make myself available to you all. Any little hand, I can reach out and pull you one step farther on your journey. I am here, and I am living proof that it’s possible. Okay? Doesn’t matter what happens in my life now. I feel joy through it all, and you can, too. Thank you all for sharing your time with me today. That’s always a treat to hang out with you all. And, um, you let me know how I can help you, okay? You send me an email or whatever else at any time. Questions about this situation in your life, whatever else you need, I’m here to help. Until next time, y’all take care of you.

As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.Com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.

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