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  • Alane Stanton

Steal My Joy? Not Today!

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

True Confession … I take things personally. My heart is big, I open it, then someone steps on it.

Character flaw? Maybe. Do I know better? Yes.

A few years back I received a “care package” from a dear friend who resides in Alaska. In this care package was smoked salmon, a book, and a note. “Take a look at this book while knowing smoked salmon will cure anything.”

My son walked by my desk as and looked at the book saying, “Uh, mom? Is that a marijuana leaf on the cover of that book?”

“Why yes, my boy, I believe it is!”

The book was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and yes, it a New Age spirituality book. Not usually my thing, and definitely not where I lean spiritually. BUT there are some profound truths within this book that I needed to hear at the time, and also needed refreshed in my memory this past week.

As I read, I substituted God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit in exchange for other conceptual words and used this book to help me when going through my divorce and now. While I feel the Word of God is the source of any remnant of wisdom I may possess, I also know he uses other people to speak truth into our lives. The book is about four agreements … not with another person … but made with yourself.

The second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally.” Yeah right. I’m the Queen of Taking it Personally! During the divorce, I took every look, every word (spoken out loud or just in my head) personally. In actuality, I wasn’t even a second thought to him, but I made it about me.

Enter last week. I placed my trust in the wrong hands, was deceived, and taken advantage of while in the other’s mind, nothing was wrong. When I tried to share why I was feeling the way I was, suddenly I was unkind, uncaring, and demanding. What I said was taken personally. What was said to me was taken personally. Things escalated and a friendship has ended.

Galatians 5:15 says, “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Ouch.

I know now that Satan was using my loneliness and my open heart to accept someone into my life that had no business being there in the first place. I have a tendency to believe the best in people, and I hope that never changes. But I do need to work on my discernment skills to be able to recognize someone as they truly are. (Praying about that one now!)

For days, I allowed someone to steal my sleep, my peace, my health, and yes, my joy. Did you catch the words I allowed? I allowed my feelings to be hurt. I gave control of my emotions to someone who did not ask for it, may or may not have wanted it, nor did they even know they had said control.

In The Four Agreements, Ruiz explains, “Taking things personally makes you easy prey for these predators …. They can hook you easily with one little opinion and feed you whatever poison they want, and because you take it personally, you eat it up…. You eat all their emotional garbage, and now it becomes your garbage. But if you do not take it personally, you are immune in the middle of hell. Immunity to poison in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.”

So … I’m taking out the garbage and getting my booster!

I’m making this agreement with myself once again. I will NOT take anything personally, nor will I allow thieves back in my heart and mind.

I’m taking back my sleep, my peace, my health, and my joy!

True joy comes only from Jesus. It can NOT be taken away or snuffed out unless we allow it to be. It takes practice, and we must stand firm in our convictions/agreements. Once we can let go of the emotional baggage others are determined to thrust into our hands, we are free to travel the path God has set before us, in peace and with joy.

I’ve mentioned my life verse before, and adding it again now. Seems timely.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” - Proverbs 3:5-6

In essence - Let it go!!! God has us in the palm of His hand, and we can trust Him to direct our path. Our own understanding is often flawed. People may let us down, but God NEVER will!

When another can’t or refuses to see your heart … let it go.

When you feel the need to justify your heart and feelings … let it go.

When they can’t see what they did was wrong … let it go.

Ask for forgiveness when necessary, leave It in their hands and God’s … and let it go.

Extend your own forgiveness, leave It in their hands and God’s … and let it go.

Take out the garbage, get your booster, and allow God to do what He does best. Then bask in the JOY that is rightfully yours.


So my dear ones, as the Christmas season is upon us … as the true reason for our joy is celebrated and worshipped … remember

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord Is your strength.” - Nehemiah 8:10

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” - Psalm 16:11

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” - Psalm 126:5

In contrast to feeding on the poison as mentioned in The Four Agreements, this verse declares what we should be feasting upon:

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” - Jeremiah 15:16

“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” - Psalm 94:19

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead even though you have to endure trials for a little while." - I Peter 1:7

And indeed, "He turns our mourning into dancing, and JOY comes in the morning!”- Psalm 30

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Dec 23, 2021

My life verse….The joy of the Lord is my strength Nehemiah 8:10.

I choose JOY DAILY.

I pray you do too.

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