When A Messy House Steals Your Joy

Although I wouldn’t consider myself a total neat freak, I do like my house to be neat. And tidy. And clean. And clutter free. And organized.

Okay, maybe I am a neat freak. But if you ask me, nothing beats a clean house. It just brings a calm into a woman’s soul knowing that she doesn’t have hours of scrubbing, laundering, picking up, de-cluttering, and dusting ahead of her. Ahhhhhh.

So when my house became a disaster zone as I mentioned in todays Proverbs 31 devotion – a disaster zone which stretched over a five month period and literally just got completed last week – there were days when I reached the breaking point, and broke. Sometimes over a bottle of spilled shampoo. Sometimes over the white layer of dust powdered on every square inch. Sometimes because every article of clothing for my family of five was temporarily stashed in one room due to all the closets affected by the construction, and finding something to wear was like finding a needle in a haystack. Sometimes over just wishing that all the strangers working in my house would just poof out of sight.

Yet, how trivial those things are. The day I revisited the verse mentioned in today’s devotion (James 1:2), I felt guilty. Guilty for getting frustrated instead of expressing gratitude. Guilty for getting upset about silly things. Guilty for losing sight of what’s really important and letting this temporary aggravation steal my joy. Guilty for focusing on issues, instead of faith.

Although these are trivial things, there have certainly been times in life when my problems and worries stretched far beyond a messy house.

Problems with finances, parenting, work, marriage, health of family members, worrying about my children and situations they were dealing with, betrayal, hurt, death, and loss. To name a few.

But in every circumstance, I have always turned to God – eventually. And in every situation, when I finally stop trying to shoulder the burdens on my own and stressing myself into a frenzy, I find that although my circumstances may not change, my heart certainly does. It’s as if turning to God in our most trying times is like a hug from a sweet friend, filled with reassurances of hope and comfort.

How much sweeter life can be when we remember to seek God’s peace and perspective about our circumstances from the start, instead of when we reach our breaking point. And how joy filled our hearts would be too, despite the stressors of life.

Sweet friend, know that you are not alone. Whether your problems are big or small, your God is right by your side. Pause, breathe, and pray, and invite God to soothe your heart and your worries over your circumstances, with His holy healing balm.

Us girls love clean houses, but nothing beats a clean heart full of joy.

SLL site graphicHave you recently felt like if one more thing happened you might just lose it? Do you feel like you’re at the breaking point today?

Leave a comment on my blog (emailed comments will not qualify) briefly mentioning the situation that has been a joy-stealer in your life and commit to choosing joy in the midst of it, and you’ll be entered to win a personalized, autographed copy of Stressed-Less Living and a free journal set to record your prayers and thoughts.

And don’t forget to also enter to win one of five copies of my book over at Proverbs 31 today!


  1. Krista on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 1:26 am

    From time to time I get stressed out at work but have to turn it around and say I am thankful for my job. I get stressed when the kids come to stay with me and then when they leave I look around at the mess left behind and I have to turn around and say I am thankful that I have them and we do get to spend time together. It is hard to find joy during our trying times but I like what you say about just pause, breathe and pray and let God soothe our heart and worries. Thank you for your encouragement, and thank God that we can always turn to him to calm our hearts.

  2. Nykesha J. on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 2:55 am

    Where do I start? My husband and brother are serving time in prison, my son is rebelling, my mother and my job are making me feel like I am the one who is insane. My bank accounts are on life support. I have to move again because the person who owns the property does take care of it. My godmother is battling cancer and I have some health issues. And to top it off, I am considering a career change. Even with all the things happening to me and my family, we are all still here, loving and caring for each other. No thus is not how I planned to live but I am still living. I have moments when I cry until I can’t talk. We also have more moments when we laugh so hard that our cheeks hurt. We have God’s mercy and grace that provide the strength we need to get through it all. I have friends that comfort me when I feel like no one cares. I know God has a plan for us and this is not the end. Thank you for your honest words. You are not alone! # wiping my tears.

  3. ruth wharton on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 3:38 am

    I have been to a lovely man from Sheffield who within his power would do almost anythingfor me.
    For the last five years he has been renovating our flat all by himself , putting second ceilings in,and sound profiting the walls and plastering,he is doing this all just on my wage
    I am not the easiest to live with, we did live in one room while he was doing the work,but now we have opened up all through the flat it still has a long way to go but we have run out of money, as I like to treat myself when I get paid (I work as a support worker with people who have learning disabilities)
    I have to remind my self how much I have when I read James 1v 2-4
    I have bad days into our first year we lost our baby I was ten weeks pregnant,I was 46 ,that was 4 years ago I suppose it’s not meant to be, I love children, but I find it hard as there Is a baby that lives in the flat above it screams all the time!! I can’t cope with that.
    My sister43 year-old had stomach cancer passed away she has left a two year-old boy,she was UN a gay relationship,her partner looks after the boy.
    I still must remember to give thanks in everything??

  4. Sarah on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Tracie, I needed this reminder today. I have allowed a situation with a family member steal my joy. I was reminded yesterday in my quiet time that I am to love and pray for this person. After reading your devotion this morning I realized how I have let this situation steal my joy. Thank you .

  5. Donna on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Joy stealer? A teenage son….enough said. He is truly a blessing and I am so thankful that God allowed us to be his parents, but honestly – I had NO idea what I was getting into when we brought that tiny baby home. He grew in size, personality, and at times, aggravation. Where did that little boy who loved me go? I will choose to believe what God says about him instead of what my eyes see. (After all, my eyesight can’t be trusted! It seems to get worse the longer I live in this world…but my heavenly “sight” is getting at least a LITTLE clearer every day.

  6. Danielle on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 7:38 am

    This is just what I needed to read today. I am a busy mother of four boys under the age of five. As I look around at my messy, unorganized house I have to be reminded that I have so much to be thankful for and so much joy in my
    Iife. Thank you!

  7. Traci Knop on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 7:54 am

    I am so guilty of trying to manage the house before I will stop and “relax” or spend quality time with the family…the reality of needing everything in order in my mind in order to “rest” is a me issue…not the others in my house…I wish I had realized this earlier than 42, but here’s to choosing joy today and realizing that
    the house will always be here..my kids won’t!

  8. Linda on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Thank you for this reminder today……..have been going through a challenging time so far this year…….our home was flooded in January, I was involved in 2 car accidents within 6 days of each other…..but praise God for His protection! It could have been SO much worse. I am now in recovery, and have just had ultrasounds done on my bladder and kidneys because of ‘areas of concern’ there. Awaiting results as I write this. I know that He will see me through, and I thank Him for His presence in my life….i know that my times are in His hands, and I can praise him because only He knows what the future holds for any of us….and ultimately our best future is a forever one with Him!

  9. christina on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Thank you for your honesty and encouraging words today. As a working mother, I have to admit that I struggle with balancing it all. I often feel overwhelmed, and oh, how I can relate to the spilled shampoo! I am so thankful for the reminder that joy is a choice and that joy in the midst of trying circumstances is a precious gift from God.

  10. Shalena on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 8:03 am

    As a momma of 3, I tend to realize I lose my joy when I wrap myself in “micromanaging” (as my hubby calls it). I so many times seem to “lose” it when all 3 who have the same strong willed personalities are playing together and get to the point of picking at each other to get a rise out of one another. I believe I have spoke the words “if you can’t speak kind loving, words to each other, then how can you show love to them?” , about a million times. That seems to be my breaking point and I cry out to God, please give me patience and allow them to heed the words I speak. Thank you for an amazing post! It touched my heart.

  11. Kela Nellums on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Joy stealer? The pressure of getting just “THE” right education path for my 2 high school age sons (we’re home educators). Wanting to teach to their strengths while getting whats absolutely needed for college prep.

  12. Ashley on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:29 am

    We (with “we” being my parents and I) have been struggling financially since my dad got laid off in October. Making ends meet financially has been a challenge but, praise God, we have been able to do it somehow. Still though, it’s been very stressful and between that and everything that is happening overseas currently, I finally reached my breaking point on Monday when I had to transfer the last $5 in my savings account in order to be able to get breakfast that day and I received a call about an overdue bill that I had honestly forgotten about. As I told a friend, I felt “overwhelmed, ill-equipped and under attack by forces that I cannot see.” It was not good. Thank you for the reminder to let God have all of the clutter that makes me feel so overwhelmed!

  13. Kay Nice on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:29 am

    First off, I would like to thank you for your words of encouragement! I will try to keep a long story brief – I was in a car accident in 2002 and developed Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue syndrome from that accident. I was unable to work for 5 years, from 2006-2011. 2 weeks ago, I was involved in another car accident, and have been unable to work for 2 weeks.
    I’m also stressed as my adult daughter and 3 year old granddaughter have been staying with us as my daughter broke her leg. It is very stressful for me right now, trying to run a busy, noisy household. Please pray for strength, wisdom and patience for me. Thank you!

  14. Halona Luna on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:33 am

    My biggest joy stealer, my health. I have four children, it is summer and we have no money let alone I am not able to get out like a mom can. I am trying hard to enjoy them with stuff inside for all the time I can.

  15. Laurie on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Thank you for this reminder. I think I lost my joy with all our moves (9 moves so far in 11 years) , trying to “manage” everything. Now we are in a 3rd world country for the 3rd time. I know I have much to be thankful for but I have to fight going into the “self-pity” pit. Like you, I’m a bit embarrassed when I read that verse. Thank you again for redirecting my mind/thoughts on what matters.

  16. Susie on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Thank you for reminding us to let go and let God. I know He will take care of everything but it’s on His time and that is the hardest part. Someone very special in my life is going through so much–loss of job, cancer, divorce and bankruptcy. I am the caregiver, the cheerleader, the bill payer you name it. On top of that, I am a business owner and have two kids. I’m exhausted. Please pray God’s favor over my friend and strength for myself.

  17. michelle robertson on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I am so thankful for recently finding the Proverbs 31 ministries and the blogs of women that write the devotions. I am a single mom of 4 daughters and life has not been easy. Financial pressure has defiantly creeped and at times stolen my joy. One of my teenage daughters is coming out of an abusive relationship that she turned to drugs to deal with. Joy is defiantly being threatened these days but I am determined to cling to the Lord like never before and not let the things of this world still my joy or interfere with my relationship with the Lord. I want to love Him and have a relationship with the Lord greater than I ever have. I am trying to be thankful for the trials for I know the deeper relationship it will bring.

  18. Chantelle Koontz on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:57 am

    My joy stealer is my health. It seems lately, no matter what I do, I make no progress toward healing my current situation. Prayer, eating healthier, taking supplements, nothing seems to push me through this! I try to write down things every day in a journal that bring me joy so that I am forced to see and choose joy in things like my son’s laughs, or my flourishing garden, or the gentle patient love of my husband. The more I concentrate on the blessings, the less I seem to notice my predicament.

  19. Kathleen on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:00 am

    A situation with an adult daughter as well as 37 years of an ongoing unhappy/unfulfilling relationship. Myself. Other stressors. We have experienced many trials and horrible losses but lately I am so weary and my joy has been lost. I commit to not allowing the enemy to steal it anymore but to find joy within the circumstances.

  20. Janice on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:16 am

    My joy stealer is my adult son who is living with us after a very hurtful divorce which he didn’t want. He went into a long depression and has not been able to find a job. He needs to move out but financially he can’t. He has stopped going to church and he will not talk about things. I am really getting tired and I need wisdom to know how to deal with this. I need to remind myself daily about all the blessing I do have. Thank you for your devotional today.

  21. Stephanie on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Thank you so much for reminding me that joy is a choice. Our family is in the midst of a kitchen remodel and a van that needs a new engine and I can so relate to your story of the spilled shampoo. 🙂 I have felt overwhelmed with the decisions, the electrical and plumbing problems and just the overall mess. :). As I read the other comments and think about issues other friends and family members are dealing with, I have also felt guilt knowing that I am so blessed and many others are dealing with much bigger issues. But your devotion reminded me that God does care about the liittle things as much as the big things and I am called to be faithful in all circumstances. My favorite verse is Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God!” Another verse that I read earlier this week was Exodus 14:14 “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Both are reminders I need on a daily basis. Thank you again for sharing a situation I could relate to!

  22. LRF on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I left a comment under the devotion but wasn’t sure if I needed to leave one here also, in order to be entered a d b poo y would I like to read a book on stressed less living. As I said at P31 I would also share the book with my mom and sister’s. To answer your question there are several things that steal my joy and stress me out and then I lose my patience-one is pain-I try to not let my physical pain cause me to have an ugly attitude with my kids and husband or be thankless a d stressed but bad pain days make life so hard and the pain has been more frequent and strong:( BUT like I did today in response to the devo I am going to choose something to be thankful & joyful for despite the pain. Bickering kiddos and marriage troubles are also “joy stealers” in my life. May God help me to stay close to him so that my attitude is pleasing to Him and so I can be a joy and help to my family and so I won’t be do stressed. It’s going to be hard some days to have joy and a godly spirit but with His help I will keep on running this race.

  23. Amber M. on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I do not have a neat or tidy house, although I would LOVE one…. I sometimes think back to days in my one bedroom condo before kids and dogs…. how easy it was to keep clean and only have to clean up after myself, now with two young kids and two carefree doggies and a very busy life as a working mom it seems any effort to clean is quickly erased the very same day and the chances to clean and tidy up have become fewer and farther between, but I love our life and its filled with Joy and I know the house will be there long after the childhood years …. in my future I will clean and today I will live JOYFULLY among the chaos :o)

  24. Bree on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:50 am

    We bought a “fixer” a year ago and have had project after project since. Although we now have all major stuff done, I get frustrated by the seemingly endless project list that still exists and constant construction zone look of the house. After reading this I am reminded that despite my circumstances I need to choose joy. I commit to choosing joy instead of frustration today!

  25. Dana A. on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:53 am

    There are so many excuses I use for not feeling joy. From homeschooling two boys while potty training my 2 yr old daughter, to working part time night shift and feeling like a full time zombie. My home is a mess and I’m overwhelmed by what seems like an insurmountable task of laundry, cleaning, organizing and coming up with a plan to keep from doing it all again in 18 hours. I bemoan my lack of friendships and activities for myself and my family and I cry because I truly don’t know what the joy everyone speaks of is all about. I’m trapped in my circumstances but I choose joy today. Thank you for your devotional. God bless you and all these other women commenting here.

  26. Christina on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:55 am

    My anxiety steals my joy. I’m trying to learn to hand it over to God and be grateful for all the many blessings I have in my life. Thanks for this devotion today…love the verses you chose!

  27. Kelly Willie on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:56 am

    This devotion hit home for me, not so much as a messy house, but a messy situation at my employment where I have worked for over 30 years. I was working for a man whom I let steal my joy everyday for 2 years! I refused to give up! I started on a journey of looking for another job, and I prayed that the Lord would change my situation. Prayer works! Two years to the date, the man resigned from our company. I got my joy back and I learned a valuable lesson that nothing or nobody is worth stealing my joy in life! I am 60 years old and everyday is a good day!!

  28. Susan T on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Such a timely devotion for me! I have been struggling with joy, and with our situation right now in general. This is my first summer working since my son was 1. It has been a struggle for our whole family, and instead of a relaxing summer enjoying one another, it has felt rushed and stressful. I have been struggling to find ways for all of us to feel refreshed, joyful and recharged before school starts again. This post has given me renewed heart and purpose to go make the best of what we have. Thank you. I am writing these verses down now to share with my family tonight!

  29. Courtney J on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 11:15 am

    My unwanted divorce has been a joy killer. I am trying to remember Romans 8:28. That verse seems to calm my fears, depression, and stress.

  30. Carol B on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I have been about to break due to stress at work and would really like to have the book.

  31. Donna B on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

    When my husband lost his job we had to sell our dream house and move into a mobile home. It was a full year before he found a much lower paying job. It was hard to trust God but we learned to accept his time-line and it has strengthened our faith.

  32. Staci Edwards on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Oh m y goodness…..this struck me in your blog; Sometimes we allow trivial things to steal our joy, such as a bottle of spilled shampoo. At other times we may reach a breaking point for much more serious reasons. But whether our problems are big or small, James 1:2 reminds us to purposely and intentionally choose joy in Christ, even in the midst of our troubles. – See more at: https://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/dont-cry-over-spilled-shampoo/#sthash.R7YXzscA.dpuf

    Tracie….I do this ALOT! While I am ready to reach that breaking point…..I have to keep breathing and remember to be joyful about the fact that I have an incredible husband who knows God and praise God for bring him to my life! Thank you for this reminder! I am a new subscriber and I can’t wait to get home and start catching up on reading your blog and your website, Thank you Tracie Staci :o)

  33. Darlene on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I understand about your house being a wreck – I’ve had children move in and out, things brought from my in-laws that are everywhere due to helping them move. My son is going through a divorce, problems with my church, my family and me. It’s too much to handle sometimes.

  34. stacy on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I’ve been up for just over an hour and have cried three times already… My husband’s company, finances, my health issues, strained family relationships, an imploding church family all have me running to the Lord… ”Help me Father, I will surely drown without you.”

  35. Melody on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    After a year and a half with a teen who is struggling through post-concussion, PTS syndrome and then our new to us van being totaled only 2 mo. after purchasing and a half-dozen other things culminating in my own personal health issues I was constantly living in that state of “nothing surprises me anymore. if “it” will happen to anyone, it’ll be us”…it’s like we were magnets for more challenges. Had God turned His eyes off us?! SUrely not. But all the nice platitudes and scripture quoting by older women in the church wasn’t cutting it either. I DIDN”T need to hear all that. Then one day a friend gave me a day off from my kids and I went on a personal, silent retreat with God. It was as though my soul had a reset button and that day He reset it with me. My eyes began to again see the beauty all around me, the joy returned to my daily household tasks and I continue to let God remold me so not to take on all the problems or emotions of my spouse and children. Sure it can feel like work some times, but it really is restful.

  36. Kari Szymanski on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Your words that said joy is a choice, not dependent on problem-free circumstances, really spoke to me this morning! As I face taking steps to improve the difficult areas in my life right now, I proclaim that I will look at them with joy and be thankful. Thanks!

  37. Roz on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Tracie thank you for this mornings devotional, as it has blessed me. The realization of my need to return to work after being a sahwm for five years had caused me great anguish for several weeks. My hesitation to even begin my job search grew from feelings of resentment, anger, fear, guilt and self pity. Reasons beyond our control has caused this situation, yet your timely words this morning have reminded me that because of my faith in Jesus, this situation should not control my joy. God’s word tells us He has a plan for our lives. Those plans are not to harm us, rather to prosper us. To draw us closer to Him. I have so many reasons to be grateful! So I go now to write James 1:2 in my journal and I will turn to it when I am tempted to do anything but count it all joy! Congrats on your completed remodel and God Bless.

  38. Lisa on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you for reminding me to look for joy in my life. I struggle with depression and anxiety so sometimes the joy is hard to find but I know it’s there as God is faithful!

  39. Marie on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Soooooo it is not just me. Sometimes I feel like I am all alone. I have a house that is a disaster and has been for over a year, priorities. I have a yard that needs a landscaper again, priorities. My job is never the same year after year. With the new supervisor this last year I figures I could relax and clean my house, paint and get the yard at least less weedy. NOT. It seems there is less and less time to do the things that need doing and more and more that need to be done, piling on top of the things that did not get done yesterday. I have found in all of this that my devotional time is what keeps me sane even if most of the time I cannot remember what I just studied 5 minutes later. God brings to mind scriptures I could not have quoted on demand. He reminds me to be thankful even if it starts with I have plenty of clean water to drink. I strive to be joyful and need those reminders all the time. Thanks for showing me I am not alone in my stress.

  40. Wendy on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    The repetitiveness of never being caught up with laundry, the dishes, meal planning and the toys on the floor. I could go on and on. These things take priority and are necessary, but wish I could find a better balance between these things and the things that fill me with joy like my kids. I know I could find joy in these every day tasks because they are supporting my family, but I just get so tired of them.

  41. Leisa Patrick on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    One of my best friends is undergoing a double mastectomy today. She is the one who is experiencing this terible battle with breast cancer and I want to be strong for her but I feel lost, scared, hurt, alone. I know I am not being the friend I want and need to be during this most difficult time. I am praying, crying out, to my Jesus now to fill me with his sweet peace and courage. I ask Him to give me the strength and wisdom to help my friend as much as possible. I pray that I will understand that I cannot be everything to my friend and I cannot take away the fear, hurt (physical and emotional) and stress that is in her life at this time. BUT I can point her to the One who can take fear, hurt, stress – Our Saviour, Jesus! Thank You, Jesus, that not only is my friend not alone, but neither am I. You are right here with us – waiting for us to turn this over to You. Thank You, dear Lord, for this special friendship. Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of being able to stand by my friend and offer comfort to her. Thank You for allowing me to feel your peace and to know that You will work this situation out to bring glory to You.

  42. Joanne Peterson on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    This devotional caught my attention. I feel like I am only a referee and disciplinarian between my 3 and 4 year old boys, and when I leave a room, it starts all over again. I.do.discipline. I.do.spend.time.with.them. I.work.at.being.proactive. They are getting into things and destroying things, hitting each other, arguing, and making messes. Then I am putting out fires, not even coming close to being on top of cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, health issues, job issues, etc. But, this devotion reminds me that Jesus promised me/us when we adopted our boy siblings, He would give me/us everything we need to raise our boys. How will I let Him change me, learn lessons, teach our boys, and see His hand. And be thankful in everything. Thank you Tracie. I thought it would be easier since I have already raised grown children, and been through adoption before. But, I have to change my expectations. Thank you again.

  43. Susan on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I have family drama that always seems to bear its lovely self at any family gathering. The “drama causer” has a history of doing what it takes to get their way, have others feel sorry for this person (serious health issues), and essentially wait on this person hand and foot. After the last family gathering, I came away with some revealing insights into the situation. As I drove into work the following Monday, I was going through all of the “I can’t believe she…”, “Why is she …”, “Can’t she see…” when a hodgepodge of a verse something like “whatever is true, think on this; whatever is right, think on this; whatever is pure, think on this; whatever is praiseworthy, think on this” came to mind (I am the first to admit that memorizing scripture word for word is not one of my strong suits). I immediately stopped dwelling on the drama and thinking of what was good and praiseworthy that day. When I got to work, I noticed that one of the verses I had hung on my bulletin board was Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” Ironically, this verse came up in my Sunday school lesson the following Sunday and then was the scripture basis for the sermon yet the next Sunday. In those three weeks, I have made it my mantra that when a negative thought comes to mind, I must replace that thought with something true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy.

  44. Rebecca on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Oh my…this is such a timely post. When you’re in the midst, it is and can be so difficult to choose JOY. The current situation I am dealing with is the aftermath of being the victim of a physical assault.

    God will use the situation for good….eventually…and perhaps He is doing so even now without my being able to see it.

    But God is good – even when circumstances aren’t.

  45. Laura on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you for this Tracie. Lately I have been back and forth with the “state of my home” getting to me. It is just messy and cluttered and in need of some TLC! But it hasn’t been a priority. I also was struggling with allowing some conflict in a friendship to rob me of joy. I recently let it go (duh?!) and it has been so much better. This past weekend, we had to say good-bye to our beloved black lab of 12 years and even though I was sad, I was so filled with peace and able to experience joy at the same time. It was a new experience for me. https://agapewarrior-laura.blogspot.com/ (blog post I wrote about it)
    I’d love to read your book and also pass it on to a friend. God bless you!

  46. Vicki on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I read your devotion with my morning coffee and thought how many times do I need to hear this before it sinks in? Numerous devotionals suggest looking for the joy in life even in the middle of the struggles. Some days I can get myself to see the joy that comes from the struggle and other days I just seem to wallow in the struggle. In this season of my life my main struggle is my marriage and dealing with an empty nest. But on a day like today when I came back to reread some devotionals to help me get through the rest of the day….yours really struck a cord. Because today in the middle of my struggle and me questioning how I am handling the problems of today I realized that God blessed me with something I have been waiting for. I have been praying about a ministry that I wanted to get involved but I wasn’t sure that I was equipped for it. Well today God answered my prayers with a resounding “yes”. And now I see that even in the middle of my struggle God does provide joy and answers to prayer. Thank you for helping me see that.

  47. Jill on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    The relationship with my pre-teen son who has ADHD, anxiety and other emotional issues can steal my joy. His negative attitudes bring our whole family down. I have been struggling to choose joy for awhile. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement!

  48. Tami on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Thank you, Tracie for the reminder to choose Joy in our circumstances. I am struggling with the choices my son continues to make and finding Joy in those times. Thanks for the encouragement!

  49. Jennie on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Looking at the kitchen and desk with piles and the list of things to do on my calendar, can send me over the edge and now about to start homeschooling, yikes!

  50. Elaine Segstro on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I am thankful for my family, but I get so stressed and have my joy “taken away” when I fret about my son. It’s so difficult to talk to him, because he so easily treats me with anger and disrespect. I don’t want to respond in the same way. Pray, pray, pray, and remember to always love him, which I do.

  51. Laura K on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    The withering of my long-time marriage has caused me serious stress that has stolen so much of my joy. I am learning through some difficult lessons that my joy has been there all along. I am finding it again in Christ. His steadfast love has blessed me and is bringing me peace.

  52. Tracie Miles on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Love reading all of your comments and seeing how we all have a tendency to let problems overshadow joy from time to time, and sometimes without realizing it’s even happening! I pray God pours His special favor over all of you and helps you hold tight to the joy in Him in the midst of your circumstances. 😉

  53. Heather Cinotto on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 12:36 am

    Oh how I needed reminded that joy is a choice. And at least I have control of that choice, if nothing else!

  54. Alejandra Fimbres on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 12:36 am

    I thank God that he uses people like you, to remind us (me) of how he is there for me every time
    Lately I been very stressed about my marriage and I forget that God knows exactly what I’m feeling and he has already the answer to my problems. If I just rush in to his merciful arms.Why do I think that I can figure out the solution by myself? Thank you for making me feel a bit normal.

  55. Erica on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 7:18 am

    We recently moved and are still getting settled. As much as I want all the projects to be done so we can just relax and enjoy, I’m reminded of the need to enjoy the process as well.

  56. Deborah Engler on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 7:23 am

    I have been on a roller coaster for the last two years. Two years ago my husband got arrested for pornography. After his arrest he did not handle things well and chased me out of our home. Safe houses and church family’s opened thier home to me. I was blessed with a Christian councillor and solicitor and Christian homes. Kerry my husband received 6 charges. I have learnt to forgive, now two years later we are praying about me moving back into the family home, with the support of my councillor. We have not set date for this yet this will. E a prayerfull time for both of us.

  57. Courtney Rose VanFossen on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I have volunteered to start up the process of our town 150th anniversary. There are 2 women who are so against anything I suggest that they are making me feel like giving up. I need to focus on the event and not what others think of me. These women have nothing to do with how I live my life. I need to remember this.

  58. dora on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Dealing with decisions and property after the death of a loved one. We want what is the best but don’t agree on what that might be.

    • VICKI on Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      Dealing with estate problems are hard. You said do what is best,,,for???? who? The lawyers do not care as long as everything is legal…Members of the deceased family may be looking our for themselves,,Do not be left the ”guilty one” at the end..Listen to God,,He is partial to all situations, but makes all decisions in the end..

  59. Amanda Evans on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    My joy stealer would be my need for control and power struggles with my oldest child and at times my husband. The Lord is really working on my heart. I’m open to the changes He is doing in me and am excited for what good it will bring to my home.

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Tracie Miles is a bestselling author and the Director of COMPEL Training with Proverbs 31 Ministries.  She helps women grow stronger in their faith, pursue the life of purpose God designed them for and live a life of peace, joy and happiness despite their circumstances.


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