Friday, January 14, 2022

Cultivating Joy in January


BySarah Geringer 

I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.    

Psalm 9:2 NLT

January can be a difficult month for many of us. It follows the highs of the Christmas season with a natural low. We tackle new resolutions that can quickly fizzle out and leave us feeling ashamed. Also, January is no more immune to all of life's struggles than any other month.

For a long time, I dreaded January's arrival. Since my teen years, I've suffered from seasonal affective disorder, which feels as if it peaks in January. Each year I must gear up for the low-hanging clouds which block out sunlight. Then if frigid temperatures persist, my mood takes a cold plunge too.

However, I saw something that helped me cultivate joy this week. Though I've faced some really hard things already this month, I've enjoyed the sunshine every day since Sunday. The ground is muddy and wet from abundant rain, but it doesn't stop me from taking prayer walks with my dog in the afternoon.

Today I saw not just one, but about ten little dandelions on the walking path. Their yellow color caught my eye in a mostly brown and dull green landscape. Their faces looked so cheerful, so joyful even in mid-January.

These flowers stopped me in my tracks and helped me realize I can cultivate joy in January. It's not as if God hides joy in the winter. Joy may be harder to see, especially if you struggle with winter blues like I do. But it is there, just like the dandelions who are open to the sun. It takes effort to see joy in cold, hard months, but it is most certainly present, just waiting to bloom at the right time.

When I keep the rhythms of faith going in the winter, joy is easier to cultivate. Rhythms like reading the Bible, praying, meditating on God's Word,  singing praise songs and keeping a gratitude list keep my blues at bay. These ancient practices guard my heart from apathy and numbness, and instead warm my faith like rays of sunshine.

Which of these spiritual disciplines brings you the most joy? Make a goal to practice it daily this month. The Holy Spirit will bear more of the fruit of joy in you the more often you engage in the spiritual disciplines. As you stay close to God, he'll show you little glimpses of joy hidden all around you, no matter how cold it gets.


Looking for more resources to help you with your winter blues? Check out my popular blog posts on practical ways I handle this problem HERE.

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Have a blessed weekend!

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  1. Sarah, such a good reminder that we can find joy every day, no matter the season we are in. I love how God sprinkles His joy right into the middle of our days to delight and remind us of His Presence and joy. May we be faithful to cultivate these practices every day!

    1. Amen, Joanne. God asks us to have an active faith, not a passive one. It takes effort to cultivate joy, but it's never out of our reach if we invite God into our journey. Blessings to you!

  2. Such a good reminder to cultivate joy during the winter months, Sarah. Purposing to find beauty helps so much. It's almost like hide-and-seek as we look for the beautiful reasons to be joyful.

    1. Yes, hide-and-seek was on my mind when I wrote it. Thanks Lisa!

  3. Thank you for this, Sarah! We can cultivate joy even during those dark winter months. ♥


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