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Why Discard Your Joy?

If we fail to focus on that which is right, all that is wrong will fill our hearts and ensnare our dreams.  

Why Discard Your Joy? If we fail to focus on that which is right, all that is wrong will fill our hearts and ensnare our dreams. - Lori Schumaker - Searching for Moments

[bctt tweet=”If we fail to focus on what is right,all that is wrong will fill our hearts and ensnare our dreams #keepyourjoy “]

All I could think about was the salt stinging my eyes, the flippers rubbing on my heal, my ankles cramping, and my heart pounding with the fear of what other sea creatures might be heading my way! (Sure, I know the nurse sharks I had just encountered don’t typically eat people, but what if they decided I resembled a fish or some other creature they did like eating!!)

I was ready to raise my hand and request the boat.

All done.

I wanted comfort. I figured I had just checked a couple items off that bucket list so who needed more?

But the look on my husband’s face told me I needed to take a deep breath and re-evaluate.

So, I stuck my head back under the water and an epic battle of good vs. evil began!

“Oh, look at the pretty coral.”

“I can’t even see it well cuz my stinkin’ eyes burn so badly”

“But look at that! Is that a barracuda?”

“That’s just great. Do those eat people, too? Ugh! Ouch. Ankles. Blister.”  

“Oh my stars! A sting ray! I have never seen one that huge! My little L would love it!”

“Drat. My eyes sting.”

A sea turtle!!!! Wow!”

And that is when it hit me! I do this in life, too! I focus on the yuck. The aches. The pains. The hurts. The inconveniences and the frustrations.

What about you? I’m convinced I am not alone in this.

We fill our minds with the thoughts of all that is wrong and before we know it, we are ready to give up. Call the boat back. Step back into a place of comfort. A place where we are stuck.

But God says there is another way. A way that gives hope. A way that opens our eyes to the treasures that still lay before us in the midst of any situation.

[bctt tweet=”Stuck?God says there is another way.A way that gives us hope. #hope #getunstuck #searchingformoments”]

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

We need to place our focus on what is good. On the blessings. The moments of joy, hope, peace, and beauty.

We need to place our focus on the One who is all of these things. On Jesus.

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Psalm 16:11 (NLT)

I’ll be honest, friends. It’s not going to make the yuck go away. It will still be there just like the salt in my eyes and the blister on my foot. But when we take our focus off everything that is going wrong, and intentionally fasten our thoughts onto that which is right, our eyes become capable of soaking in the unseen treasures that bring us significant joy.

Significant joy is found when we focus on what is good

There are times in life I have felt the enemy plotting so heavily against me I wanted nothing more than to raise my hand and call for the boat.

In those moments, I couldn’t seem to drag my eyes off all the injustice. I was stuck and longed for an escape.

But the only escape that will bring true joy, is the conquering of the enemy’s plot. It is when we tell him that he has lost and the win is in the hands of our Savior.

And then we make just one intentional act at a time. We don’t have to solve it all with one big swoop. Just one act. An act to say, I see the good. I’m on the journey and I know there is beauty to be found.

Then we look for it.

It’s the sunset that takes your breath away or the music that makes your heart sing.

It could be the smile on a child’s face or the hug from his sticky hands.

Maybe it’s the kind word from a perfect stranger or a dear friend’s caring gesture.

Or maybe it’s the wagging puppy tail that greets you at your doorstep.

Whatever it is, He has put it there just for you. A moment to be focused upon.

So, my friends, keep your eyes on Jesus.
Just one step at a time.

I promise He will show you the way.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

Hebrews 12:2 (The Message)

Dearest Jesus, I come before you today with an open heart ready to let You change me. Ready to put my focus on all that is right. Ready to put my focus on You. I know it won’t be easy as the world draws my attention this way and that, but I know Your love is filled with grace and I know You will walk me through every time I fail. But, Lord, today I ask that You grab hold of my focus and open my eyes to all the moments of blessings and joy You have placed along my path. I want to see the good and feel the joy as I work toward the dreams and goals You have placed in my heart. I thank You for loving me so fully. In Your holy Name I pray. Amen.

Hope. Hope for all the hard places in life. If you think you could benefit from a little extra hope in your life, consider joining the Searching for Moments Community with access to the Library of Hope. Filled with resources encouraging your walk with Christ and keeping your hope alive, it’s free to join! 

I regularly link up with these encouraging sites.

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    1. Thank you so much, Melinda!
      Blessings and smiles,

  1. He’s been teaching me this lesson, too…I almost missed an opportunity to minister to someone’s heart because of my complaining attitude.

    1. I’m loving that the key word there is “almost”! Because you didn’t! I’m so thankful that person had you in their lives to whisper the love of Jesus into their hurts. Thank you for being you, Aimee!
      Blessings and smiles,

  2. Ifeoma Samuel says:

    Hello Lori, I shared my day with a friend and all we spoke about was centered around this. When we focus on ourselves we have little time to see how good God has been to us.
    Thanks for sharing Lori.
    God Bless

    1. How funny is that? I love it when God lines up events, conversations, or whatever else He may use to give us a message. I laugh because I often refer to it as the 2×4 upside my head 🙂 If He didn’t present it to me over and over, I’m sometimes too oblivious or stubborn to get it! Thank you for visiting!
      Blessings and smiles,

  3. Yes and Amen! My post yesterday was actually all about those gifts found… once we discipline ourselves to look for the good – it’s amazing how much good there is to be found! Great post!

    1. Hi Karrilee,
      And an Amen back! Thank you so much!!!
      Blessings and smiles,

  4. Thank you for reminding us to keep our focus on Jesus and all that he gives us. It’s so easy to forget.

    1. You are so correct. Why is it so easy to forget? Ugh! It is often a multiple-times-daily intentional act to keep our focus lined up with Him! Thank you so much for stopping by!
      Blessings and smiles,

  5. Great thoughts here. Joy is definitely something that is gained when it is focused on, as I discovered in my study of Joy earlier this year which I turned into a printable to help remind me.

    1. I have to stop by your site and find that printable! I’d love to see it! It is such an intentional act, isn’t it? But we often get stuck thinking it is something that should just automatically happen.
      Thank you so much for stopping by and for the encouraging words!
      Blessings and smiles,

  6. I’m guilty of seeing the ‘yuck’ and letting it block out the joy. It comes way to easily. Thanks for the reminder to CHOOSE joy!
    stopping by from Worshipful Living today!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Welcome! Isn’t it strange how we get caught into thinking joy should be automatic and just happen, when in reality, it is truly an intentional act! Thank you so much for visiting!!
      Blessings and smiles,

  7. Such great encouragement, Lori. The yuck doesn’t always change but our persoective can, and that’s always a breakthrough. Blessed to be your neighbor at Holley’s today.

    1. Thank you for stopping by today, Tiffany! Holley’s is such a great community! And I love how you stated that the “yuck doesn’t always change but our perspective can”!
      Blessings and smiles,

  8. I always love reading your posts! I hope I can strive to remember the blessings in my life instead of focusing on the negative. I love your funny example of snorkeling, ha ha. I went scuba diving with my husband once and worried so much about my contacts falling out and not being able to see, or breathe, and on and on…

    1. Hi Valerie,
      It’s always so great to see your messages (and your smile!) Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I am so thankful that you enjoy the posts and that God is using them for His good!! I love it that you “got” my situation! I know I was blessed like crazy to even be out there snorkeling, but goodness it had its uncomfortable moments! Ha!
      Blessings and smiles,

  9. Lori, I see you’re a Compel friend & She Speaks…fun! Love this post to pieces from the very first sentence. This is something I’m working on this year, fixing my eyes on Jesus when things go the way I don’t like, and choosing thankfulness when I’m tempted to complain. Such a great post. Thanks for sharing it with us at #RaRaLinkup!

    1. Thank you, Angela, for your kind words of encouragement! I really wanted to attend this year, but it wasn’t possible. I hope to attend again next year and meet all you lovely ladies! I am so thankful God used these words to speak to you! Joy is such an intentional act – a very challenging intentional act!
      Thank you for hosting #RaRA this week!
      Blessings and smiles,

  10. Hi Lori I enjoyed your post and would probably feel the same as you re flippers and goggles. However, I totally agree that sometimes we get too caught up in the bad things in life instead of being grateful and focusing on what we have. I can see your faith plays a huge part as well. #JoyHopeLive

    1. Hi Sue, Thank you for visiting! I’m so glad I have another that understands my plight with the flippers and goggles! Ha!
      Blessings and smiles,

  11. What we choose to focus our energy on has the power to change everything! I think that is why God encourages us to think on whatever is true, lovely, and holy….

    I love the story you shared; storytelling is such a wonderful way to share deep truths with others.

    I look forward to reading what you write next.

    1. Sarah, you are SO right! It truly does change everything! Thank you so much for visiting and for your kind words. Your kindness makes my heart smile 🙂
      Blessings and smiles,

  12. I am so thankful for encouragement from others to not let the hard things in life to pull us down. While keeping our focus on the Lord is hard sometimes, it is so worth it when we do. Thank you for these encouraging words, Lori. Thanks for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

    1. Thank you, Lori. I think God gives us just the right moment or person with encouragement when we need it most. We just need to be looking for those moments so we don’t miss them. I am so thankful for those gifts from Him! And I consider you one of those gifts!
      Blessings and smiles,

  13. Lori, I love the illustration you described to help teach us. Beautiful and full of humor. 🙂 You’re a blessing. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much, Stacey. Your kindness and encouragement means so much!I am so glad you enjoyed this post!
      Blessings and smiles,

  14. Focusing on Jesus versus focusing on our discomfort –really important truth! Thank you for honesty 🙂

    1. Thank you, Angela! Why is it just so easy to focus on the discomfort, but it takes intentionality to focus on Jesus? I guess that answer is all wrapped up in our free will and some other things, too! 🙂
      Blessings and smiles,

  15. “the win is in the hands of the Savior” yes! Beautiful words. I found you at #joyhopelive

    1. Thank you so much, Jessie!
      Blessings and smiles,

  16. Oh yes. So much like love and fear. One cannot occupy our hearts with the other. 🙂
    Very well written, Lori.

    1. Amen, Lux! I didn’t think of it quite like that, but it is so true! Thank you so much!
      Blessings and smiles,

  17. Blessings, Lori! You’re hitting me right between the eyes here–stinging eyes, too. Not from salt water, but from tears of frustration as I battle through. Guess what my Word for the Year 2015 was: Unbridled Joy. Yep–not just “joy” but “unbridled”! I have used “joy” as my sign-off salutation for years. But, with a full plate and large unknowns swarming before me, “unbridled joy” is a tough one to walk in. You have hit the “half full glass” mark square on the head. There’s always another side to that coin. Where IS my focus. Sorry for all the mixed metaphors here–I see everything in pictures. Good words to take into the rest of this day.

    1. Oh, Kathryn, I so wish I could sit next to you and look into your eyes and tell you it is going to be okay. It sounds like God gave you that word, not because it would be easy, but to grow you and stretch you – to make you rely upon Him more than you could ever imagine. There is grace. So.Much.Grace. Because God knows the unknowns that loom ahead are often more than our human minds can endure. He knows we will slip and fall, caving into a night of tears. But He promises us that “joy comes in the morning.” I hold onto that verse tightly when the full plate and the unknowns feel as though they may swallow me whole. Sweet friend, I am praying with and for you and I am believing and claiming, in the name of Jesus, that your joy will once again be unbridled even in the midst of the unknown! Thank you so much for sharing here with me. I am honored. I hope to connect more as I would love to know how you are doing.
      Blessings and smiles,

  18. Hi Lori, There were so many wonderful truths in this blog post! Thank you so much for the encouragement. I found myself re-reading your quotes several times allowing them to sink in.

    I have been edified and blessed by my visit here today. 🙂

    1. Hi Karen, I am so honored that God would use my words to bless and encourage you today! Praise Him! Thank you so much for visiting and sharing this with me. It is such an encouragement to me, as well!!
      Blessings and smiles,

  19. It sure is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the negatives. This is something I’ve really been working on lately too – asking God to help me keep an attitude of gratitude and joy, rather than complaining about things I have no control over anyway.

    Visiting from Weekend Whispers – glad I was your “neighbor” there this week!

    1. I’m so glad you stopped in for a visit. I’m praying right now for you to be showered with that attitude of gratitude! That God give you the strength and self discipline to look for the good and SEE it:-) Blessings and smiles,

    2. I’m so glad you stopped in for a visit. I’m praying right now for you to be showered with that attitude of gratitude! That God give you the strength and self discipline to look for the good and SEE it:-) Blessings and smiles,

  20. You are definitely not alone! I’m learning how thoughts dictate our attitudes and many times I need an adjustment! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you for visiting, Carrie! I’m so excited to get to know you through Weekend Whispers!
      Blessings and smiles,

  21. Susan B Mead says:

    Thank you for sharing Lori. TRUTH!

    1. I always love seeing your smile when you visit, Susan! Thank you!
      Blessings and smiles,

  22. My brother has gotten into this rut. But he complains with a calm, soft spoken voice so it took me a while to realize he was actually complaining all the time over everything.

    I think everyone goes through this at some point in their life. Thanks for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

    1. I had never thought of that. How easy it would be to not recognize when spoken in a soft tone or even worded gently. I will keep him in my prayers. Thank you for visiting and sharing! I love linking at #JoyHopeLive!
      Blessings and smiles,

  23. Great post. It’s hard to push those bad things to provoke up behind us and come around it. Thanks so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    1. Hi Jenny,
      It’s always a joy to see your comment! I hope you are having a great week, friend! And I’m praying for an extra dose of joy to surround you this week and that your eyes manage to see every single one 😉

  24. 51 Comments! What an engaged community you have! Congratulations! Thanks again for visiting my blog today and writing me.

    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Janice! I made sure to subscribed to your blog ‘cuz this blogger needs all the help she can get! 🙂
      Blessings and smiles,

      1. Hi Lori,
        How exciting and thank you! Sadly, I can not find you on any of my subscriber lists. Did you activate your subscription in your Email?
        I brought you the sign up link. Can you please take just a moment and subscribe again?
        Thanks so much. I am excited about our connection!