Cultivating Joy



It’s hard to cultivate joy in our lives if we aren’t cultivating a healthy life. Gardening offers us some simple advice on healthy living:


Drink water and get sunlight.

You’re basically a house plant with more complicated emotions.

Alongside gratitude, love, and God’s promises of joy, we need those things that contribute to our physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness so that joy can root, grow, and bloom in us. We need actual water and sunlight. We also need “water and sunlight” for our minds, hearts, and spirits. Like a garden, we need to keep our spiritual soil loosened up, and we need regular weeding.

Our health habits and self-care impact our joy. It’s hard to find joy when we are tired, anxious, or spiritually anemic. Because we are holistic beings, our physical, emotional, and spiritual health affect one another in both good and not so good ways. Self-care can be challenging and feel selfish. When we remember that caring for ourselves helps us to be more grateful, loving, and joyful, we are able to tend to ourselves with compassion.


Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 

Philippians 4:8


  • Reflect on this week’s scripture. It is a guide on how to weed our emotional and mental gardens. If a “whatever” doesn’t meet this criteria, most likely it is a weed to be uprooted. What weeds crowd out the joy in your life?
  • Take an inventory of your spiritual practices. What are you intentionally doing that cultivates joy in your life? If your practices are feeling like drudgery and aren’t contributing to your spiritual health, try something new. Remember that anything that grows your spirit is a spiritual practice. Possible practices are limitless as well as highly individual.


We are your cultivated garden,
You, the Gracious Gardener.
You plant loving kindness in us
And diligently watch over it,
Watering it daily with grace
And waiting for growth to follow.
You weed out what is destructive
And shore up what is fragile.
You rejoice in the garden’s produce,
Harvesting it with immense delight. Amen.

Prayer taken from Fragments of Your Ancient Name by Joyce Rupp