It’s September 1st and time for a challenge!
I am excited to think about all that God can do when His people focus on bringing glory to Him…which is the purpose we were created!
The main goal I have with this challenge is to give people opportunity to push themselves to look more like Jesus…but in a small period of time.
I have always had a hard time with the whole reading-through-the-Bible-in-a-year challenge. But when I came across the read-through-the-Bible-in-90-days, I felt like I could handle that!
It was a lot more reading, but in a shorter time.
Short term goals help me stay focused and not lose heart half way through!
So here we go.
I would suggest getting a notebook that is designated for this because there will be some things you need to write down and then go back and look at!
As you do different challenges, post them on instagram (if you have it!) and use the hashtags so we can find each other! (#30daysjoyfulmom)
I am so excited to see what God is going to do!
Day 1. Make a plan and write it down.
I have found that if I don’t make a conscious effort to think about what changes I need to make and actually write them down, I tend to forget about them.
I’m sure none of you have that problem, but I know I do!
This is the first day of the challenge, and you have to really dig deep.
Ask God to show you what areas of your life you need to change.
Do you need to be a better time-manager? Do you need to go to bed earlier so you can get up earlier? Do you need to be more consistently reading your Bible?
Do you need to stop cursing? Do you need to stop whining/yelling at your kids? Whatever your biggest one or two “things” are, write them down.
Like. Right now. Write them down. Don’t get overwhelmed looking at it.
Just know that we are going to be honest with ourselves as moms to see our weaknesses and to be willing to change to be better for our kids, for our families and for our God!
That’s it. Your “plan” is that you are going to start working on whatever you just wrote down. We will get to this in the days ahead, but for now…being honest with yourself with what you need to change, and writing it down is where you start!
Day 2. Find accountability
We are better together. We just are.
If I decide I am going to start eating healthier, or start exercising, or whatever it is…and I don’t tell anyone about my decisions?
Chances are I am going to quit halfway through.
When I have someone texting, calling, reminding me of what I decided, I can do just about anything.
I am pretty competitive. So even if it’s who-can-memorize-the-most-verses, I feel like I could kill it!
I have a (sinful) tendency to get into the mode of the independent, strong woman who donesn’t need anybody!
I have been hurt by people, I have been let down by people, and I can start thinking that it’s just better if I am alone and do everything myself.
Honestly? That is pretty prideful on my part. And I can’t allow the enemy to trick me into thinking that this is true.
Find someone you can pray with. Find someone you can talk to and be honest with. You are not the ONLY good person left in the world!
My prayer is that we can even use this challenge to start a community that does more than just claims to be Christian!
We are sisters. Find each other. Pray for each other. Keep each other accountable.
It needs to be at least one person. So if you honestly can’t think of anyone who can help push you on this challenge, write down some names of potential people. Start praying that God will send you someone you can talk to and trust!
Day 3. Find 1 verse that you need for yourself. Write it down. Read it out loud 25 times.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 talks about the importance of putting the commands of God in YOUR heart first and then teaching it to our kids!
It has to start with us! When we get a hold of the commands that God is giving US and focus on preparing our own hearts before the Lord, it will overflow into how we are as mama’s!
Find one verse that goes along with what you wrote down on day 1. Whatever your “thing” is.
Find a verse that will help encourage you. Write it down on a 3×5 card, or in your notebook, or just anywhere.
Read it out loud.
And really think about the words. Meditate on them all day today.
God’s Word is alive and powerful. You can not read it and meditate on it without it changing you!
Day 4. Find 1 verse that you need for your kids. Write it down. Read it out loud 25 times.
Now that you have spent some time yesterday thinking about a verse for yourself, find a verse that you want to pray over your kids.
You can select one passage to pray over all your kids (if you have more than 1) or you can find different verses for each child with whatever you think they need the most strength on!
I love to pray Colossians 1:9-11 over all 3 of my boys. But there are so many great passages to pray over our kids.
If you aren’t finding anything that’s really sticking out to you, go to the person you selected as your accountability partner from day 2 and ask for help! Remember? We are better together!
Write down the verse and read it out loud 25 times. Use the verse as a prayer for your child specifically.
For example in Colossians 1, a prayer for AJ would look like this…
God, As AJ goes to school today, Please help him knowledge of your will for his life, and give him spiritual wisdom and understanding. Help him to walk worthy of you and to please you in everything he does. Give him the power to be fruitful in every good work. Help him to increase in his knowledge of you! Give him strength that can only come from you according to your glorious power! Give him patience, and long suffering and fill him with joy today! Amen.
Hold on to the verse you choose, because you will be praying it over your kids a lot this month!
Expect to see changes. That’s what God’s Word does! It changes not only us, but changes our children!
Day 5. Eat something fattening and drink something sweet.
This is the best day so far, right?! Listen. I just do what the Bible says.
And in Nehemiah, in the context of the joy of the Lord, he tells the people to “eat the fat, and drink the sweet…the joy of the Lord is your strength”!
We gotta do what God says to do, people!
Go get yourself a donut and coffee with caramel flavoring.
Ok, that’s what I would want. But whatever is good to you. Eat it. Enjoy your day.
Enjoy your life. Be thankful for what you have and celebrate with some good food!
Continue doing day 3 and day 4 today as well.
Hiding God’s word in your heart is going to give you the strength you need to keep going with this!
Day 6. Play music all day today.
I am amazed at what worship music can do to your soul. Start your day with music. Play it when you’re in the shower, when you are getting ready for the day, when you are in the car. Just play music that will fill your soul and encourage and uplift you! There are all kinds of great music to choose from, but some of my favorites lately are: My living hope, Counting every blessing, Hills and Valleys and You Say. There are so many verses in the Psalms that talk about the importance of singing! So sing your heart out today and be filled!
Day 7. Show mercy in one area that you would normally discipline.
I believe in consistency with discipline, for sure. But there are times when you are just too exhausted to function. This does not mean you don’t do anything, because it’s possible to still be consistent without disciplining. Let me explain: If your child does something that you normally would discipline them for, instead of doing normal discipline, tell them that you are showing them mercy today just like God shows us mercy so many times. Tell them that they deserve to be disciplined, but you are showing them mercy. Showing mercy will help you remember the amount of mercy God has shown us and will definitely leave you feeling more joyful! It will have to!! We are so incredibly blessed by the amount of mercy God shows us, and we do not ever want to take that for granted!
Day 8. Spend at least 30 minutes reading your Bible.
The bottom line is this: In God’s presence is FULLNESS of joy. It’s what He tells us in Psalm 16:11! It says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy…” If we want fullness of joy, we HAVE to be in God’s presence! I know life can get busy and crazy, but we can not NOT spend time in God’s presence and then wonder why we are running ragged and discouraged at the end of the day. Figure it out today. Even if it’s 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes at night. Read God’s Word! Let Him speak to you and fill you!
Day 9. Journal some of the funny things that have happened in your day today.
It is far too easy to get going through life on auto-mode. We miss out on things around us because we are too busy. Write down some of the funny things your kids did or said today. Write down a funny meme you read today. Just be noticing. Be aware. Be paying attention to the laughter that is around us and don’t forget it! It will be a good reminder of the the laughable moments when you would maybe feel like crying by the end of the day! Ha!
Day 10. Do something special today.
Do something special (with or without the kids) that doesn’t cost you more than $5. Special things don’t have to cost money, but sometimes we don’t stop long enough to plan something special. Have a picnic in the living room with your kids. Bring your older kids to get a donut on the way home from school. Go pick some flowers and put them in a vase on your table. Just do something small and special that you normally wouldn’t do.
Day 11. Play The Joy of The Lord Song several times today.
Putting Bible verses to songs is one of the easiest ways to fill your mind with His Word!! Play this song several times today if you have younger kids, (I used to listen to this one) and this song if your kids are older. The joy of the Lord is my strength is one of the most simple, yet profound verses when it comes to joy! Getting this stuck in your head is exactly what you should want for yourself and for your kids!
Day 12. Write some verses and put them on the wall throughout the day.
There is something to be said about the passages in Deuteronomy 6:6-9 that talk about writing the laws of the Lord on your doorposts and on your gates! When my kids were little, we would pick a verse that the needed and I would write it out in bubble letters and let them color and draw on it. Then they would put it by their beds. Write out verses that are about joy, or thankfulness and have your kids help you out! Write the ones YOU need and put them in your car, on the fridge, on your bathroom mirror. Seeing it around will encourage you so much!
Day 13. Write a letter to someone who needs encouragement.
Sometimes, we need to just realize that life isn’t all about us, even when it feels like it is. Take some time today to think about someone else who could use encouragement. Send them a letter. Like, an actual letter in the mail. It takes a little effort, but it gets your mind off yourself and your own struggles and helps you focus on the needs of others. You can have your kids help in the process, or you can just do it yourself.
Day 14. Pray for your children’s future.
This is another way to sort of get your mind off the weariness of today. Next year will be a whole different stage with your kids, so instead of being exhausted and worn out by your tasks for today, think about the future. And don’t just think about it, pray about it. Pray for your children’s futures. Pray for their future husband/wife. Pray for wisdom for them as they get older. Just focus on the future and all that God has planned for your kids. You are just loving them while they are with you and helping God with his master plan for their lives!
Day 15.Eat the fat and drink the sweet.
It needs to happen again. I mean, come on. Every once in a while you need a reward. Go get you something sweet to eat, and do NOT feel guilty about it. You are obeying God! Ha! Maybe He will be gracious and not count the calories.
Day 16. Check in with your accountability partner.
At the beginning of the month, you found someone to keep you accountable. Check in with them today. Tell them how you’ve been doing with the challenges. Be open and honest if there are areas you are struggling with! The Bible says to confess your sins one to another and pray for each other! We are better together, and we need to use each other to help build us up and grow. Be the kind of friend to others that you want for yourself.
Day 17. Read Psalm 139 at least 3 times today.
It is hard to be discouraged about anything in life when you read about how God was thinking of you before you were even born. If you read how God thinks about you all the time. If you read about how he planned exactly what you were going to look like and what your life would look like. What an amazing thought. The King of Kings calls me His own! I am always amazed and overwhelmed when I think about this. Focus on how valuable your life is, and it will be hard to not be joyful!
Day 18. Dance.
Dancing is a thing. Like, a real thing that just makes you feel uninhibited and free. Many times in the Psalms, it talks about dancing and singing. Do a little research and find some fun verses about dancing! Dance in the kitchen, dance in the car, have a dance party with your kids, or just dance alone. Just dance! Put on some good music and just sing as loud as you can and dance for fun. I have gotten some strange looks as I was driving with my kids and dancing, but it’s fun! Just do it!
Day 19. Make a list of all the things you have.
I feel like being discontented is so incredibly easy to do without even trying. I feel like I have nice things…until I see that other girls instagram feed. Right!? It is so easy to become ungrateful for what you have. Take out a notebook and write all the things down that you have that you should be thankful for. This can be big things like a car, or your health…or it can be small things like your favorite mascara or a new shirt you just got. Be specific. Write all the things. Be thankful! Realize how much you have and focus less on what you don’t have!
Day 20. Thank God for your trials.
This is hard. I get it. But yesterday, you were able to come up with so many things that God has blessed you with, so today do not forget to thank Him for your trials. James 1:2 tells us to consider it pure JOY when we face trials of every kind. Hard to imagine. But if we understand that every single thing that happens in our lives has to be approved by God first, we can relax. And if we understand that His overall plan is something that even though we can’t see it now, the end is better than we can imagine? We can trust. Thank God for what He is doing in your life and thank him for the good and the bad. He has it all figured out and He is never going to leave you alone.
Day 21. Keep current with your children.
At the end of the night (not every night) I ask my kids if I did anything that day that upset them or hurt them. It’s such a good way to keep yourself humble by being open to your own faults. Keeping things current with your kids will eliminate bitterness in the future. Just be open. Be willing to apologize. Be humble. These are all things that are not only going to grow your relationship with your kids, but will bring you joy and fulness knowing that you are doing your best to be the mom that God wants you to be. He doesn’t expect you to be perfect, but he expects you to be growing.
Day 22. Make your tongue speak the law of kindness.
Proverbs 31 talks about how the virtuous woman has the law of kindness on her tongue. This one has challenged me over the years, because I can be quick to be sarcastic and it’s just not kind.
Make an effort all day today to be kind. Speak life. Proverbs 15:4 says, A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
Be a life-speaking kind of mom. The more you speak kindness, the more your kids will follow. That will definitely bring a house of joy!
Day 23. Keep current with God.
1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness! We need to keep our relationship with God open, honest and full! We should be confessing our sins to him every day…often many times a day. It reminds us of our humanity, and it reminds us of the love of a perfect Father who always forgives us. The Bible says that if we have iniquity in our hearts, God will not even hear us!! We do NOT want to put ourselves in that position!! We need God to hear us to survive! Keep that relationship open.
Day 24. Make conscious efforts to smile all day.
Proverbs 15:13 says that a happy heart makes the face cheerful. It’s like one can’t go without the other!! If you have a happy heart, you will have a happy face! But sometimes it takes work. So focus on that all day today. Smile. Smile when you don’t want to, when it’s easier to glare, when it’s easier to roll your eyes, when it’s easier to frown. JUST SMILE! Other people will notice a difference and it will make YOU feel better too!
Day 25. Make sure your relationship with your mom is what it should be.
As we are raising our own children, we need to make sure we are practicing what we preach. If we want our kids to honor and love and respect us, we need to show the same things to our own mothers. If there is an issue between you and her, either contact her and make it right? OR let love cover a multitude of sins, and just overlook it. Move on. Don’t let your relationship with your own mother hinder your relationship with your kids, or steal your joy!
Day 25. Find some joy verses.
Do a little research today. Find all the verses you can on joy. Read them. Write them down. Try and memorize a few. Joy is such a rare quality, and it’s something that makes such a difference in the world around us. See what God has to say about joy and do something about it!
Day 26. Pray for and seek out joyful friends.
Having friends who support what you do is so important. If you have mostly friends who are negative, putting their kids down, yelling at their kids, negative about life…MOVE ON, SISTER! Find friends who are going to push you to be better! Being negative is such a terrible quality to have, and it’s just plain awful to be around people who are negative. Don’t be that person, and don’t spend too much time with that person either! Ask God to bring you joyful, godly friends and stick together!
Day 27 Read 1 Peter 3:4-6 and Proverbs 31:30
It’s really easy to focus on our bodies. What we would change, what we don’t like about it…spend time today focusing on what God focuses on: inward beauty. Be more aware of your joy level, and less aware of your size. Be more aware of your positive attitude and less aware of your skin. Be more aware of your serving and less aware of your hair. Just take all the focus off your body today and put all that effort into thinking about the inward beauty God sees and wants in you!
Day 28 Speak words of life to someone today.
I love how the New Living Translation puts Proverbs 15:23 “it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!” Speaking life to people makes you feel more joyful. When you see what a kind word can to do someone, it makes you want to say more kind words. And when you see what your kind words to do a person, it makes you happier. So just be kind. Make the effort to tell someone how beautiful they are, or that you enjoy their work, or that they make you laugh. Just speak life!!
Day 29. Pick one practice that you will implement into the rest of your life.
Now that you have gone through and put some of these tips into practice, look back and see which one you want to try and implement into your every day life. Take one or two things, and try to keep going with them! You don’t have to stop after 30 days! When we start feeling what a life of joy feels like, we don’t want to ever go back! Fight for your joy! The enemy wants to take it away, but Jesus PAID for that for you so it is rightfully yours! Hold on to it! Cherish it! Don’t lose it!
Everyone benefits when you choose joy.
Day 30. Eat the fat and drink the sweet.
I know, I know. We have already done this one twice. But you deserve to celebrate for holding on and fighting for your joy! And then get together with your accountability partner and celebrate together! Food is always better when it’s shared!
Never stop holding on to Jesus.
The world is going to try and pull you away, but true satisfaction and joy can only come from Jesus!
Read Psalm 107:9 and be reminded of the fact that God satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness! The word “longing” there literally means: to run about, to rush, run to and fro (in the Hebrew) Does that sound like you?
Enjoy the satisfaction and goodness that comes from trusting in a God who loves you and wants what’s best for you.
And keep on being joyful, mama!