Some days we have to CHOOSE joy
A week in which it seemed like every time I turned around there was another unexpected expense, more disappointing news, and what appeared to be another setback.
“Really, God?” I said at the end of the week, exasperated. “Can You give me a break?”
I happened to be putting together teaching material that week for an upcoming women’s retreat that was themed “Choose Joy.” Suddenly it became apparent to me that I was not choosing joy in the midst of my circumstances. I was, instead, letting my circumstances control my life and my attitude.
I remembered a verse I’d memorized as a teenager. One that God seemed to be whispering in my ear:
“Consider it all joy…when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4, NASB).
Consider it joy? “But, God this isn’t joyful. Not in the least,” I responded aloud.
But God, in His goodness, wanted me to choose joy, even if I didn’t feel like it.
God has made it clear to me through the years that joy is not about our circumstances, it’s about our condition. Our circumstances change from day to day. But our condition — as a child of God and the recipient of His eternal blessings — never changes.
Joy is not about what is happening – or not happening – in our lives. Joy is about Whose we are.
Joy is also about recognizing Who is really in control.
Before I even finished writing this blog, I learned that the retreat I was writing my “Choose Joy” material for had been cancelled due to fires in Northern California. Was the situation beyond my control? Oh, yes. But is God still in control? Most definitely.
“God, help me to respond to all of this in a way that pleases You,” I prayed. And He reminded me that not only is the joy of the Lord my strength (Nehemiah 8:10) but as I dwell in His presence, recounting my blessings and realizing He is my greatest joy, He will meet me there.
“You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.”
In The Message, that verse reads like something I can say every day in order to choose joy:
“I have God’s more-than-enough,
More joy in one ordinary day
Than they get in all their shopping sprees.”
Don’t forget the source of your joy…and remember, only you can choose it.
How is God empowering you to choose joy lately?