No Wasted Days

As a kid I loved stickers. Every single sticker I could get my hands on got a place of honor in my Lisa Frank sticker book. Mostly they were random “good work” stickers from school or a smiling tooth giving a thumb’s up from the dentist’s office. And 90s kids, remember the sticker boxes? They opened like a treasure chest to reveal several individual compartments filled with rolls and stacks of colorful, sparkly stickers. 

I was obsessed, but I never used any of them. To me, the stickers were too beautiful to be used. There was no binder, notebook, or pencil case important enough to deserve them. So they sat unused on a shelf and then in a box. Years later, I threw them out feeling nostalgic and disappointed. In my fear that I’d “waste the good ones”, I unintentionally stripped them of their whole purpose – joy.

I Lost My Joy

I worry all the time that I am “wasting” my days. Here I am, the proud owner of a beautiful collection of blessings, each more lovely than the next. So why do I feel such discontent and never able to truly enjoy them? The minutiae of daily life has more of my attention than joy has. Hey, we all get it — life comes so fast and gets so complicated. Sometimes it feels like you’re just trying to survive day to day. Today as I changed another diaper I wondered to myself when the days won’t all seem like a repeat of the day before, a la Groundhog Day.

I might be doing all the right things: going to church, serving, reading the Bible, etc. But I am not benefitting as I should if I am not resting in that joy of the Lord. I realized that is what I have lost.

Jesus says in John 10:10 that he has come that we “may have life and have it to the full” but he wasn’t referring to long life, wealth, and comfort. 

Rather, a full life to Jesus is one in which there is a perfect marriage of intimacy between Creator and created. That’s where the joy is – in a constant state of harmony between my heart and His. 

How Do I Get The Joy Back?

I’m not alone in this struggle. While the Holy Spirit does the work inside me, I am also working to “…cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in…unanxious and unintimidated” (1 Peter 3:4-5 MSG). It is accomplished by consistent, and intentional decisions to submit to God. Practically, true heartfelt prayer. There’s just no substitute for it.

Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10 CSB

Now I am an adult buying fun stickers for my own daughter. I watched her unapologetically use every single sticker on the page. She didn’t hesitate to use the big sparkly ones as I would have done, and she wasn’t saving the best for last. No, this little girl, yet unspoiled by worry or fear, was simply delighted by them.

Have you lost joy in the Lord? Do your days feel endless and tiring? Bring this to God in prayer.

Dear Father, Thank you for bringing the discontentment we feel to the forefront of our minds. Look down on your daughters who long to love you but who struggle to do this rightly. I pray that you would move in our hearts to spark that joy of your presence again. Fill us with your peace and remind us of your all-encompassing care for our souls. Remind us that you don’t need any help in setting your plans into motion, and that not one of our days are wasted. 

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