When Theory and Reality Collide

I am regularly surprised at the speed of which I can go from being peaceful and happy to flat-out irritated.

My life is in the thick of raising four mostly-small children.  I was a really great parent before I had kids.  Because at that time, parenting was only a theory.  But when reality hit and I found myself in the trenches of raising these God-given little people, my theories flew out the door and I needed real answers, real quick.

Last week we began to look at this idea of JOY.  If you missed it, check it out.  We talked about those moments in life that are so powerful, moments that take our breath away and leave us with nothing but pure joy.  I spoke of the amazing joy I experienced in seeing my sweet little baby girl for the first time.  Nothing could replace it.

But as beautiful as she was all wrapped up and content, that sweet little baby girl came home with me, and I quickly realized the roaring and exhausting reality that my precious little darling did not want to sleep.  At all!  Not sleeping can do phenomenal things to your brain.  And your marriage.  My husband and I would alternate, he would take the super-late nights, I would take the uber-early mornings.  It was all we could do to stand up straight and function.  Anyone?

Where does joy go when reality steps in?

Where does joy go when…

    • life does not go according to plan
    • others don’t agree with you
    • you are misunderstood
    • your difficult child pushes that button
    • that bill comes due
    • the news is painfully difficult

What spills out when you are shaken?  

Last week I took my own challenge, asking the Lord to show me the answer to the question…“What fills me?”

As much as I want to have His joy overflow and spill onto those around me, if I’m honest, I’m often found wincing at what I’m capable of saying.

The theory of joy is quite different than the reality of joy.  Have you felt this?  I know so many of us like the idea of living in His joy.  We want to accept Jesus’ invitation to experience His joy.  But life happens so fast and we are quickly aware of the real opposition that stands so defiantly against that joy.  Cynicism, defeat, discouragement, they all land on us so easily.

Our spirit is willing, but our flesh is so weak.  

By His grace today, take a moment to soak into these words…

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.  Psalm 30:5

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.  Lamentations 3:22-23

God gives us these words to reach us in our realities.  I believe these verses are God’s way of saying to us…

“I know you will stumble, I know you will fall.  But every single day of your life, every morning you open your eyes, My joy is available.  It’s never going away, it’s yours every time you look to Me.  So look to me, in those times when you only see the mess, and you only see the pain.  Look to me and ask Me to fill you with My joy which will immediately become your strength…your strength to walk, to stand and live.”


Right now, wherever you are, ask God to help you exchange the theory of joy into the reality of His joy.  Ask the Lord to fill you up and show you the truth of His words, “I have told you this so that you will be filled with My joy.  Yes, your joy will overflow!”  John 15:11 

Beginning tomorrow, we will look at three practical and real ways to fully experience His Joy this November.  So much stands in opposition.  The invitation is extended.  Will you stand and fight against all that pleads for you not to accept?  

I will too.  See you back here tomorrow.


Take time to read about His JOY – Psalm 30, Lamentations 3:22-24, John 15, Nehemiah 8:10


Take the Joy Challenge and ask others to join you throughout the month of November.  By signing-up, you will receive each post automatically.



  1. Alicia O'Herron on November 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Hi Julie! I just got to this blog this morning and how incredibly timely! The baby has been teething, sick, and well up and really really cranky during the night over the last week. I was extremely irritated that my husband has this knack for sleeping right though it all, and I am completely sleep deprived! I barked at him last night about how nice it would be if just once he would tell me “I got this one, you have been doing it all week.” Now this morning he doesn’t even remember me being mad and saying this. Clearly he and the baby started the morning off with joy, but I had a harder time finding it. Your blog helped me this morning to re-frame my day and get me going with mercy and joy! Thank you.

    • womenwhobelieve on November 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      You are a great mama Alicia, thanks for sharing how God met you right where you were at. He is so good!

  2. Lori Majors on November 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Absolutely LOVING this Julie! Lori

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