I hesitate to write this post for fear someone might happen across it and feel any amount of condemnation so I have to start by saying: DON’T! I have stared blank-faced into the abyss of deep depression, and those experiences have only made me more convinced that the only way through them is up. I survived by looking up and being lifted up. So, please know that this choosing joy is all about the looking up and that I understand it sometimes seems impossible to do.
I went through most of my life with a picture of joy in my mind. You might have a similar one. I see a sweet lady at church or at a women’s conference who is as bubbly as bottle of champagne and has the right (happy) words for every occasion. And, she exhausts me. Mainly because I spent a lot of time thinking that I had to be like her if I was going to be joyful.
And, y’all…I am NOT bubbly.
It’s just not who God made me to be.
That’s a different thing entirely.
Because he is creating me to be joyful. Joy is part of the fruit of his spirit in my life.
So what does it look like?
I’m beginning to think it looks almost the exact opposite of what I had in mind for many years. Oh, that sweet lady may very well be full of joy, but I spent a lot of time confusing the personality on the surface with something much deeper.
And, at the deep place, there’s peace.
Peace and joy. They go together.
It’s because of peace we can choose joy.
And, it is a choice.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, ‘Rejoice!'” (Philippians 4:4)
Paul said it twice because we must have some control over it.
Joy is found in choosing to see beyond our circumstances, farther than our feelings and deeper than our doubts.
It’s about choosing to see what there is to be thankful for then stopping to actually be thankful for it.
The first way to practice choosing joy is choosing to be thankful, because there is always something to be thankful for.
When we actively look for a thing or a person or a gift for which we’re thankful, we find joy.
Because seeing the gifts leads us to the giver, and in his presence, there is joy.
It’s powerful because it’s permanent. It’s also surprising sometimes, bubbling up in the least bubbly among us.
Joy is a well that won’t run dry because God will never run out of gifts.
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)
This post is part of my series “31 Things I Want My Kids to Know,” but I need to be reminded of them, too! I hope you’ll join me this month, and also check out last year’s series “31 Days of Wisdom for Moms Like Me.”