The Joy Thief

He plays with light and dark, casting shadows of enormity, disguising himself as a towering monster. When really, behind the trick, lies something silly and small and inconsequential.

I call him the Joy Thief.

More popularly known as Worry or Inconvenience.

He likes to watch us, like some warped version of Santa Claus, waiting for that perfect moment. The moment we let our guards down so he can creep into our soul and feed. Feasting on our busyness. Our distraction. Our tiredness and irritability. Until he grows so big and bloated there’s no room for joy.

The Joy Thief is a monster we invite into our bellies. A monster that gives us wrinkles and ulcers and chest pains and quick tempers. A monster that doesn’t add a single day to our lives.

Our time on this earth is so fleeting. Like grass, we are here today and gone tomorrow. So why in the world do we let these silly, small, inconsequential things grow bigger than they are and steal our joy?

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Luke 12:25

Let’s Talk: Do you know the Joy Thief? How does he disguise himself in your life?removetweetmeme

24 thoughts on “The Joy Thief

  1. Beth K. Vogt

    The Joy Thief … his photo should be on a "Most Wanted Criminal" poster somewhere. Use the picture from your blog. Great likeness.
    And, yes, I've hung out with this low-life too much.
    But, I'm learning to lock the doors when he comes knocking. Not take his calls. I've un-friended him.
    I'm reading Ann Voskamp's A Thousand's Gifts and she talks about gratitude being the antidote for worry/anxiety. Makes good sense.

  2. Donna

    Truth! I love this post, Katie! The enemy is a thief of so many things, which eventually robs our joy. Great food for thought in your beautiful words.

  3. Lindsay Harrel

    In thinking about the Joy Thief of worry, you have helped inspire me to write my own blog post today on something that overwhelms and worries me: a constant lack of time to accomplish everything I want/need to do. Thanks, Katie! πŸ™‚ I look forward to more posts from you.

  4. Cheryl Linn Martin

    Oh my! Every time I slip and do something dumb, that old "joy thief" wants me to think totally bad about myself. I have to remember to scream at him and tell him to leave me alone.

    I know who to listen to!

    Thanks for the post, Katie!

  5. Jeannie Campbell, LMFT

    the joy thief….love that description. i have one worry right now (about a particular client) that i'm having a hard time letting go…mainly b/c i'm scared of how it'll make me look if something bad happens to him. clinically, it's a tough line to draw. not enough worry and some judge could consider me incompetent or not doing what a reasonable clinician would do. would appreciate prayers for this!

    the character therapist

  6. Jennifer K. Hale

    Ooooh, girl. Worry is my middle name and it's something I constantly struggle with.

    Thanks for the reminder today! πŸ™‚

  7. Kristen Johnson

    He uses different disguises in different seasons of our lives for sure. Right now my joy thief is pregnancy nausea and fatigue!!!

  8. Loree Huebner

    I've seen him lurking too. I just try my best to keep him away. He makes me worry over nothing.

  9. Keli Gwyn

    I'm far too familiar with the Joy Thief. He loves to fill me with self-doubt and fear. I do my best to send him packing, but the dastardly dude keeps coming back. I think I need to buy a Do Not Enter sign with his pic on it and hang it on my office door.

  10. Matthew MacNish

    The biggest thing that brings me down is disagreements among family members. It's hard sometimes to all live our lives together.

  11. Patti

    The joy thief definitely comes in the form of worry for me. I take after my mom and grandma that way.

  12. Slamdunk

    That joy thief is tricky but active here. It starts innocently enough with having me stay up too late, and that offers a fertile field for me to be grumpy and make bad decisions.

  13. Lindsay Harrel

    The Joy Thief in my life is most definitely worry. Right now I'm most worried that my dreams will never come true, that I'll never achieve anything significant. But when the Joy Thief comes, he quickly shrinks away when you throw a healthy dose of Scripture his way!

  14. Erica Vetsch

    Great description of that nasty monster.

    He shows up in my life as self-doubt, insecurity, and flat out fear.

  15. M.E.

    He hides in my worry about finances – ugh. Being a creative requires a bit more risk than my Joy Thief likes to permit.

  16. Tamika

    Yes, I know him. He like to hide in my busyness. He leaves me feeling overwhelmed and cranky. That warps into me feeling like a failure.

  17. Jessica Nelson

    Yep, met him a couple times. He's a pretty nasty guy. *shudder*

  18. Wendy Paine Miller

    Yep, he showed up in my dreams.

    And I woke up irritated only to read a weird email that…irritated me more.

    I'm in need of some PRAYER TIME.
    ~ Wendy

  19. Stina Lindenblatt

    I try to kick him in the butt whenever possible. Fortunately he hates running, so I easily lose him when I go for a run. πŸ˜€

  20. Amanda Lea

    I usually call him "work," and have a big conflict. What I would like to be able to do is take the Joy Thief I call work and morph him back into just plain work. Work should give purpose and livelyhood, not just dollars, anxiety, and exhaustion.

    Seems like even though I look the Joy Thief in the face, he still manages to slip through my defenses.

  21. Heather Sunseri

    Oh, yeah, I know him. For sure! He lurks all around my house, my car, my life! And he makes his presence known all throughout tax deadline week (this week)!! You described that mad manwoman really well!

  22. Writer Pat Newcombe

    Love the post, Katie. 'The Joy Thief' sounds like a captivating title for a book!

  23. Barb Riley

    Amen, Katie (and cool picture)! Yes, I know the Joy Thief. I love the verse you used, because he mostly disguises himself in my life as worry. Therefore, I also like the other verse where Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow b/c today has enough troubles of its own. Sometimes I just have to repeat that in my head when I'm caught in the Joy Thief's grip.

    Love the monster-in-the-belly analogy. At first it was sounding a bit like Bella's baby from Breaking Dawn, LOL!

  24. Jessica R. Patch

    I think you did a pretty great job describing him. Sometimes he wears a cloak that looks a lot like a watch, robbing me of time by using distractions and getting me knocked off course, thus losing all joy because I'm rushed and falling behind.

    He sucks.


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