Slowing Down to Find Joy in the Ordinary

This month I am thrilled to introduce you to my friend, Betsy de Cruz. Betsy has been a mentor and a wealth of wisdom to me for several months now, and I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at the She Speaks conference in July. Her writing is always filled with godly advice and truth from his Word, and I am blessed to have her in my life as a fellow writer, encourager and sister in Christ. I know that you will be blessed by the word she has for us today.

Betsy de Cruz pic

Betsy loves dark roast coffee and reading her Bible. She’s passionate about enjoying God and the one life He’s given her. She wants her faith to spill over into everyday life, even during the bumpy moments, like when she has a family blow-up with fireworks during breakfast.

Betsy lives with her husband and two fun teenagers in the Middle East. Most days she feels blessed and privileged to live overseas; other days she wants to pull out her hair and catch the next plane home. She writes about everyday faith at Faith Spilling Over.

You can also connect with Betsy on Twitter and Facebook.

Betsy de Cruz fearfully made mom

When my kids were little, the daily routine of diapers, fixing meals, and getting up nights to feed the baby or settle my toddler made me feel like I was on a treadmill. Worn out and weary, I’d wonder what happened to the abundant, joyful life I read about in the Bible.

Paul’s word to “Rejoice in the Lord always” sounded irrelevant. What was joy anyway? Was that like pie in the sky by and by? Maybe joy was for heaven? Half the time I was just trying to survive now without losing my mind!

Today my kids are older, but the challenge remains: how to move beyond survival into a more joyful life? We women carpool kids, hold down jobs, cook, clean, make sure the kids to do their homework, and teach Sunday school. How do we get off the treadmill?

God’s Gift: The Joy of His Presence

I don’t know about you, but I want to do more than just survive. This verse gives us a hint of what God has for us:

“You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
(Psalm 16:11)

The key to joy is God’s presence with us as we live our ordinary lives. But most of the time, we’re too busy to notice. We’re too busy for rejoicing. To find joy in the ordinary, we have to slow down.

Here’s my 5 step plan to slow down and enjoy life more:

  1. Slow down to connect with God

Spending time with the Joy Giver renews my outlook on life more than anything. Twenty minutes of quiet time in the morning, or prayers lifted later in the day, help me to remember that I’m loved by a Great King who’s blessed me with countless gifts.

  1. Slow down to take care of yourself

Looking on the bright side of life is easier when I’m rested. To be ready for challenges, I need adequate sleep at night, healthy meals, and some small pockets of time in my week for things I enjoy.

  1. Slow down to recognize your blessings

Life becomes a more joyful experience when we slow down to notice the gifts God gives us every day: the goodness of a home cooked meal, the smell of freshly laundered clothes, or the scurrying of your pet guinea pig on the back porch.

  1. Slow down to enjoy what you’re doing

Instead of rushing through our work to get as much done as possible, what if we slowed down and got intentional about enjoying each activity? What if we lifted up each task as an offering to God?

  1. Slow down to enjoy your relationships.

Take time to kiss your husband goodbye in the morning and again when you see him at night. Take a moment to look your child straight in the eye and smile while you listen.

The peace of God’s presence, His blessings, our work, and our loved ones all bring us joy when we slow down enough to notice. Will you join me this week in my quest to enjoy life and God?

What is something that brings you joy?


*Linking up with Meredith Bernard and Holley Gerth today, where you can find community, inspiration and encouragement each week.


18 thoughts on “Slowing Down to Find Joy in the Ordinary

  1. This so speaks to where I feel I’m at right now . . . an acknowledgement of needing to slow down to not miss the joy found in the ordinary. It’s one of the reasons I’m pulling back slightly in my writing schedule, or at least on number of posts per week. The five steps you outlined made me smile because they are similar to the things I’m trying to be more focused on. #1 being making sure God comes first. The other big one for me is slowing down to enjoy relationships. I’m making more effort to connect at a deeper level. I don’t just want surface level friendships. That goes for both in real life and online friendships. Great encouragement. Blessings.


    • Wow, Beth, you have some really good insight about relationships here. Sometimes it seems “easier” to speed by on our relationships, but they we stay at the surface level. I struggle with the very issues I wrote about. This week, my husband’s out of town, and I keep reminding myself to SLOW DOWN, CALM DOWN and ENJOY LIFE!


  2. Great encouragement! I love #3. When we have a grateful heart it seems to heighten all other happenings in our life. There were all on target. Thank you for this reminder. Blessings, Cathy –I am stopping by from Testimony Tuesday.


  3. It brings me joy to slow down and enjoy God’s creation with my young grandaughters.
    We enjoyed a moment watching a squirrel in the backyard.


  4. Hi Betsy & Abby,
    My “word” for 2014 has been “intentional” and so much of what you speak to in your steps is being present in the moment and being intentional in our time with our Heavenly Father and the special people in our lives here on earth. It is always good to be reminded and held accountable. Enjoyed your post here today 🙂


  5. Ahhh… I needed these reminders today. Especially the ones about looking my kids in the eye and slowing down to enjoy relationships. What a great habit to start as the holiday crazies begin. Thanks for sharing these words and your gift here. Loved it!


    • That’s a great point about slowing down as the holidays approach. I’ll have to remember this myself. I heard Lysa TerKeurst say that she gets so busy that she starts to view her kids as interruptions, and that struck a chord with me. Don’t want to be like that!


  6. “I don’t know about you, but I want to do more than just survive.” I send a resounding yes! I have been working on a guest post and my thank you gift ebook and as I sit at my computer for writing time this morning I just can’t think of what to write about. My mind is blank. I need to enjoy some ordinary and calm my mind. Thanks for your wisdom. You are a blessing.


  7. Betsy, I just adore you and your beautiful way with words! I too get bogged down on this crazy treadmill and you’re right, I need to slow down and notice. I loved #5, that is where I am the weakest- I get so wrapped up in the doing for my relationships instead of simply being in them. Thank you for this, it’s encouragment and direction all rolled into one big hug from a friend! Thank you!


    • Oooh Brandi, this hits me where it hurts: “I get so wrapped up in the DOING for my relationships…” I’m going to keep this in mind for myself. Thank you for your words of encouragement.


  8. Thanks so much for a wonderful post that i will be printing on hanging on my refrigerator to help me remember how to slow down. I love to scrap book, write, play with my kids, and I have guinea pig and I would love to cuddle him more often. Thanks for the reminder about the pig. I have a rabbit that I love too and have neglected. I am learning to leave busy things undone so that I can slow down and be fun to be around. I want my kids to see me as a happy mom – not just a busy mom. When I get too busy I am one agitated person that no one wants to be around. Love your post!!!


    • Wow, Lisa, you could write a post yourself from these comments! You have a lot of wisdom here: “I want my kids to see me as a happy mom – not just a busy mom.” Me too! I’m going to have to think about this and see what I can change… 🙂


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