The other night I had a the weirdest dream and I woke up exhausted. Do you ever have those? What happened was this: all these people kept coming into my closet and taking my clothes for no reason. They didn’t need the clothes, but they were just taking them anyway. The closet kept going deeper and deeper into rooms I had never seen before. I couldn’t stop them and so I stood there watching it all happen — feeling helpless and mad and confused.
Then I realized how much it’s like stealing joy. Of course my dream was creative with a side of crazy, but here’s the thing. No one else has the right to take our joy away, and yet we let it happen far too easily. Just as all those random strangers in my dream kept coming and going, we let others (sometimes people we barely know) take our joy with them. We let unhealthy comparison, doubt, jealousy, and striving have a say in our joy. Our joy can even be taken from much deeper places, maybe places we didn't realize existed within us (like the perceived ‘rooms' behind my closet!) 
Thieves come to steal — steal our joy, worth, belief, mission. But we have really good news, friend. Jesus is the gate! He is the doorway protecting us. He gives us life, and life abundantly. That doesn’t mean we won’t feel upset, disappointed, or frustrated. We have before, and we will again because we’re human. But the root of our worth — the source of our joy — remains steadfast in the Lord. And there’s more! We don’t have to worry about hanging onto our lives and our joy like clothes hang in closets. We can give everything to Jesus because He freely gave us His life. In Him, we find life — life in all its fullness. He fills us so we can pour out joy from a place of abundance.
So it’s time to stop letting anyone and anything steal our joy because it is secure in Jesus. Victory is already won in the cross! No circumstances or naysayers can take it, even when they get in our faces. Instead of watching them steal our joy, we can look them in the eye and send them right back to where they came from.  
Joy on, friend. May we build one another up with all the life-giving abundance from Christ alone.
Need an extra boost of joy today? Listen to Zach Williams' song "Old Church Choir." There ain't NOTHING gonna steal my joy!!

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