What to do when your relationships feel frozen

We’re built for relationships. We thrive when we know that other people are glad to be around us. This is what we at Life Model Works call “joy.”

Joy can be easy to start but all of us must learn to sustain our joy over the long haul. Relationships, marriages, families and churches who fail to sustain their joy helplessly watch as their goals and dreams dissolve in the wake of complacency, disappointment, loss, conflict and ruptures.
Learning how to create joy, like we do at Thrive Training, is the first step. But we must learn how to sustain joy beyond the first year of practice.
Over the next few blog posts, we’ll consider seven reasons the flames of joy are extinguished, and how we can overcome these obstacles to sustain our joy.
The Seven Solutions To Sustain Your Joy are:

  1. Thaw a low-environment
  2. Create community
  3. Disarm distraction
  4. Engage the approach system
  5. Amplify the reading system
  6. Magnify the meaning-making system
  7. Activate the executive system

1. Thaw A Low-Joy Environment
It is not hard to build joy. Two people who are willing and motivated to practice and learn the skills should see improvement even under the most difficult circumstances.
Joy starts as we shift our relational gears and respond tenderly to each other’s weaknesses. During Thrive, joy may be the micro-moment, a flash, a sparkle, that lasts only seconds while others notice the cozy feeling of joy that slowly spreads over them – much like a warm blanket. Attendees notice their momentum grows with each interactive session.
For some, leaving this high-joy, “controlled” environment feels intimidating. People are well aware of “joy robbers” that wait on the home front. Home may be rife with problems and pain. Home may be a “cold” environment where starting and sustaining joy is problematic.
What can we do to propel our joy into a cold environment that has little support or few available opportunities?
Suggestions to thaw a low-joy environment.

  1. When you return from Thrive, home is your opportunity to fan the flames of joy. Joy starts with you. Joy Starts Here: The Transformation Zone, was created for this reason. Anyone can start joy. For many of us, home is our mission field, so is work, school and church. Did I just say church? Yes, our churches need joy too! God frequently sends His missionaries into low-joy environments around the world – even our own backyard. Find two friends and begin a Joy Starts Here study group to practice Life Model Exercises. Watch as joy warms your environment.
  2. Join the free online Roundtables at joystartshere.com. Here is a free, convenient way to interact with other people who are learning practical steps to start joy.
  3. Engage the interactive online community to connect with other joy seekers on suggestions, tips, encouragement and support. While at the website, assess your personal and community joy with the new JoyQ.
  4. Practice Mastering Joy and Rest. Here is a skill guide specifically designed for 52 weeks of joy practice. This resource helps you sustain your joy, particularly after your Track One training. Find a bonded partner, go through this workbook, practice and troubleshoot. If you are married, the 30 Days of Joy for Busy Married Couples book is another useful resource to sustain your joy.
  5. Invite Immanuel into your situation. What do you need to know about your chilly environment? Ask God if He is at work under these most chilly conditions. Ask God how He warms cold environments around the world.
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