"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." John 15:11 (NIV)

Do you ever have days where someone tries to rip the joy right out of your life?

I do.

And it's really hard. It's a battle. The good girl part of my brain says, "Be nice. Honor Jesus with your actions. Your response is your responsibility. Self control, Lysa, self control."

But the mean girl part of my brain says, "How dare they act that way! I'll show you!"

One part of me says fold your hands in prayer.

But another part of me says throw your hands in the air and pitch a good old fashioned hissy fit.

Issues.

I have them. Maybe most of us girls do. Especially that one special week a month.

But God.

I love how those two words interrupt me. Redirect me. Remind me. Comfort me. Battle the mean girl in me. And cause me to pause.

Pause. Just for a minute, pause. And it's in that pause where we give the Holy Spirit room to interrupt the mean girl response just dying to come out and bloody the situation.

The Holy Spirit says, "Lysa stop and think. It might feel good in the minute to scream, retaliate, pitch a fit and flood the situation with scary emotions. But it won't feel good in the long run. It will feel awful in the long run. You'll feel the sting of regret. Come on Lysa... be rare. Be a girl who looks ahead and determines to do what's best in the long run."

Yes, it stinks that this other person is determined to steal our joy.

It really does.

But in reality, my joy can only be stolen if I let it be stolen.

In John 15:10-12 Jesus says, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

Several things struck me as I read this verse. Each interaction I have with others I'm faced with the choice to either remain in God's love or retreat from God's love. I can't control how this other person is acting towards me. But I can control how I act and react. If I chose to remain in God's love and react to this other person kindly, it affects my joy. Jesus interjects His joy right into the heart of a kind person. If I make the choice to be kind, instead of my joy being depleted, it will be completed.

So back off mean girl part of my brain. The Jesus girl in me is taking over. And holding on to every ounce of joy that's rightfully mine. Circumstances can steal stuff from me. But not my joy.

Dear Lord, this sounds so good in this moment. But it will not be easy when I have an interaction today with "that person"... the one who makes my mean girl want to come out. Will You help me remember these truths? Will You help me remember this person can not steal my joy? And help me remember if I react kindly my joy can be completed rather than depleted. And that's what I want. In Jesus' Name, Amen.