Character Defects Which Prevent Joy

One of the writing assignments at the women’s SLAA retreat I recently attended was to list all of my character defects which prevent me from experiencing joy. I thought I’d just come up with a handful of things, but my list ended up quite long! I’m going to share it with you below. Perhaps you’ll relate. Perhaps you’ll think of some of your own. Either way, our lists surely give us springboards to work from as we attempt to prune the brambly branches in the gardens of our hearts.

What character defects prevent me from experiencing joy?





the need to be “right” or to be in charge



putting others’ opinions ahead of God’s

refusal to feel or express my feelings


nursing  grief or loss

hanging onto the past

lack of rest

overworking or over-extending myself

poor boundaries


food abuse

lack of grounding

not being “present”  or aware

lack of prayerfulness

refusal to ask for help

closing myself off from others (isolating)



judging others

assuming others are judging me


putting God “in a box”

minimizing/squashing my feelings or experience





being a chameleon or wearing a mask

lack of physical self-care


mindless choices



taking on others’ feelings

taking responsibility for others

trying to control others’ behavior, thoughts, beliefs or attitudes

lack of gratitude

I probably could go on if I tried, but I think that’s a pretty good list. It makes me wonder what my life would be like if I could turn each of these things around. I know I will never be perfect, but there’s a lot here that can be addressed. One big solution that comes to mind for many of these is applying the Serenity Prayer- allowing God to do his job, others to take responsibility for themselves, and me to “clean up my side of the street.”

Serenity Prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

What I’m really excited about is that I don’t look at this list with dismay today. I have hope that by the grace of God and the application of the spiritual principles I’m learning, I will continue to be molded into a woman of integrity. One day at a time, ladies! Thank you for walking alongside me on this journey of hope.




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