5 of the Best Ways to Fill Your Joy Tank

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It's the most wonderful time of the year but in many households, joy-filled wonderful is not filling the air. For too many their joy tank is nearly empty.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

A little less than two weeks until Christmas but in many households joy-filled wonderful is not filling the air.

I’ve heard from a number of people who feel there is not enough time, money, or energy to see them through to the end of the year. They’re exhausted physically and emotionally . . . and stressful anxiety is causing their joy tanks to run dangerously low.

How’s your joy tank?

If you’re feeling joy depleted . . . like you’re going to be running on empty days before Christmas arrives. This post is for you!

First, and this is important…

You absolutely must fill up your joy tank! 

You can’t keep pouring into others without getting a refill. It’s just NOT possible. 

Oh moms, we’re guilty. We want to make everything perfect for our loves. So we add extra shopping, cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and school activities to already full work schedules.

Every group has a Christmas party and every kid wants to have a friend over. You’re exhausted and every day it seems like your list grows as you check things off one by one.

How can you and I fill our joy tanks when we don’t have any room in our long lists of to-dos?

It's the most wonderful time of the year but in many households, joy-filled wonderful is not filling the air. For too many their joy tank is nearly empty.

5 of the Best Ways to Fill Your Joy Tank

1. Say ‘no’ to joy stealers.

Friend, you don’t have to do it all. The truth is you can’t do it all. Your family will survive if you don’t make grandma’s sugar cookie recipe this year. Your friends will understand if they don’t get a card. Plan an Epiphany party instead of a Christmas or New Year’s Eve party.

Shop the sales and give your children a couple of Epiphany gifts.

You might be surprised that your family and friends are more excited about adding joy to the second week of January than they are with one more thing in December.


Before you say “yes’ to something ask yourself, “Will this add to or deplete my joy.” A simple question that can help you make those tough last-minute decisions.

“…there are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don’t really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.” ~Elaine St. James

2. Do something you love and fill your joy tank.

The best thing about joy fillers is they don’t have to take a lot of time. Play your favorite Christmas song. Better yet, sing it really loud all by yourself. Grab a tiny candy cane for a sweet pick-me-up. Carry joy-filled verses with you to read while you stand in line or wait for an appointment.

Verses like…

The Lord Himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). Isaiah 7:14

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. Galatians 4:4–5

And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. 1 John 5:11–12

 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7–8

If you have a little longer than two minutes, take a bubble bath, cuddle up with your family, drive through your neighborhood and look at Christmas lights, etc.

Don’t think of joy filling as selfish, think of it as emotional and spiritual therapy.

It's the most wonderful time of the year but in many households, joy-filled wonderful is not filling the air. For too many their joy tank is nearly empty.

3. Ask God to fill your joy tank.

Jesus said we should ask, seek, and knock. Your Father wants you to have His joy. Ask Him.

Pray with me…

Father, thank you for Your countless blessings. You fill my life with life and love. Take my hand, Lord. Guide me in Your ways. Help me follow what You know will give me joy. You know me better than I know myself. Father, help me trust and faithfully follow wherever you lead. 

My heart’s desire is to celebrate the joy of Your gift of salvation . . . Jesus. May I, by Your grace, keep my focus on Jesus, the source and perfecter of my faith. May He be my joy every moment of my life. I ask this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen. 

4. Look for small ways God is already offering you joy.

Open your eyes. Stretch. Feel your body work. Savor that first sip of coffee and first bite of breakfast.

Stop. Look into the eyes of those you love.

Walk around your home. Celebrate heat and hot water, electricity and plumbing.

Go outside. Look at the sky. Enjoy the beauty around you.

Celebrate His blessings.

In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Colossians 3:23

5. Thank God for the gift of joy.

What a blessing to love and serve a Father, who wants us to experience joy. He not only wants you to have it, He wants to give it to you. Joy is a blessing given through the Holy Spirit.

Remember – the God who made you wants you to be joyful.

Do you need a joy tank fill up?

Ask God. Then thank Him  . . . He wants you to have more joy than you could ever hope for or imagine. That’s why He gave you Jesus.

 Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God.

With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:19–20

To close today, I have a question for you…

What’s your favorite joy tank filler?

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  1. This is so God-focused and such a reminder that this season is not about all the activities, necessarily, but about the One who made the season possible. Saying no to joy stealers is so hard, but it’s so important, so that we can’ sit at Jesus’ feet, ask the Lord for joy, and be filled with His goodness and grace. And that’s just such an awesome reminder that God gives us joy, that He wants His children to be joyful, not miserable. His presence truly is our joy.

  2. My favorite joy tank filler? That’s a tough one because there are so many things that remind me to be joyful. I do like sitting quietly, gazing at the Christmas lights, and reflecting upon the season. That always gives me great joy!
    Blessings, Deb!

  3. Last week I was feeling worn out and my joy tank was definitely on empty, so I took time to be still with God. I did some Bible study and then just sat still in God’s presence. He spoke to me during this quiet time and told me to keep finding time to be still with him. This time to rest and be still is what I need.

  4. What a great list of ways to fill back up, Deb!
    I think #4 is good – asking God to show you ways He is always filling you up. Great reminder for me.
    Thank you for an encouraging word!
    Blessed by you~

  5. Love this!! My favorite joy-tank filler is getting some exercise. Walking outside or going to Jazzercise really help renew my spirit and fix my attitude.
    These tips are so important this time of year. Thank you!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for this encouragement! I am particularly struck by no.4. I have 4 little kids, and I feel the lack of a quiet moments with God’s word – but seeing the grace and joy He is already giving me is a great idea 🙂

  7. Kim Jolly says:

    This is a great post for this time of year. My life is quite the opposite of most during this season. Since I have no family to speak of (what I do have isn’t close in any sense of the term), I spend the holidays alone. In the past, I learned to not share this hard truth, because I was flippantly told that I wasn’t alone because God was with me.

    So, what do I do to feel my joy tank? I’m really not sure that I’ve found what really works. Spoiling myself a bit seems to help–thinking I’ll do some coloring and watch a Christmas DVD or two. Doing what God has gifted me to do; preaching (filling in for pastors who are away/sick), teaching (adult Sunday school), and writing (blog and who knows, may be a book some day) fills my joy tank.


  8. Wonderful post, Deb. I have been finding that as I spend intentional and focused in reading my Advent devotional and playing Christmas songs, my joy tank has stayed topped off 🙂 I have been amazed to discover there is definitely joy in the wait. May you and yours have a blessed Christmas!

  9. Thank you very much. I’m going through a hard season of life right now and I honestly needed this. I hope that God can bless me and allow me to spread more joy to this world.

    1. I’m sorry you’re going through this difficult time, Fred! Thank you so much for letting me know this blessed you. I’m praying for you and asking God to meet every need and surround you with His encouragement. God bless you!