Friday, November 5, 2010

Joy...It's A Choice

"you are to rejoice before the LORD your God in everything you put your hand to." Deuteronomy 12:18

Before you read this post and want to punch me in the face..."hear" me out...there was a time that the title of this post probably would have had me clicking that little "X" in the top right corner of the screen too.

I had a conversation once with someone close to me who confessed that he had not ever felt "joy". He was baffled by it as he is someone who prays fervently and reads his Bible regularly. I would even go so far as to say he has a great relationship with the Lord. This conversation has stuck in my head for a long time now and I just keep rehashing the conversation. I really feel that God is convicting me about joy, and choosing joy in ALL things."

First let's talk a minute about what joy is. Joy is much different from happiness...true joy is not dependent on circumstance or situation. It is a feeling of peace and rejoicing in the Lord EVEN in the face of some of the toughest stuff this life has to offer. Happiness is temporary, fleeting, it does depend on circumstance. Happiness is not bad, it is just not the same as joy.

After this conversation I thought long and hard about joy. I thought about times in my life when I felt the most "joyful" and here is what I have learned about joy. I believe that joy is a choice. Each day we can choose joy or we can choose to let the world around us determine the state of our heart. The times I have felt the most joy, have also been some of the hardest moments of my life. It is my experience that when we are experiencing hardship and the whole world is crashing down all around us, and we draw near to God, joy can be found even in the most heartbreaking of circumstances.

That is not to say that joy is easy to come by and that is not to say that joy means we put on a fake smile when things are hard and just pretend everything is fabulous. It means that we choose to believe that even when it all seems out of control, He is in control. It means that we choose to rejoice in knowing that NOTHING can separate us from the love of our savior. Times get tough, life is hard, but God is bigger than all of it and we can find peace in knowing that there is nothing in this world that happens that He cannot redeem for His glory. It is especially in these hard circumstances that we can be a testimony to His goodness by choosing joy.

The words "I will choose joy" are written in several places around my house. Throughout the day as I do some of the chores that are not my favorite, I look at those words and remind myself that joy is a choice. As I am wiping up the bathroom floor for the tenth time in a day, (seriously, we should do humanity a favor and teach boys to sit down to use the bathroom haha!)I am reminded to CHOOSE joy, as I pick up toys for the millionth time in a day I am reminded to CHOOSE joy, as I pick up dirty socks that somehow landed NEXT TO the hamper instead of inside, I am reminded to CHOOSE joy. We are to choose joy in the small things and in the big. This is all easier said than done. For me it is a constant battle.

I feel God constantly calling me to CHOOSE joy. I do feel joy. I just don't think joy is this magical thing that just takes over when you accept Christ. I think it is a choice. I think it is really hard sometimes, it is an act of obedience really. Choosing to let go of worry and choose joy even when you don't see a way out of your situation is hard, BUT if we truly trust Him at His word, it only makes sense. Rejoicing in Him in the good and the bad is what we are called to do.

So tell me, do you know what it is to feel joy? What are your thoughts on the topic?

11 comments:

Michelle Farley said...

Kristy,

Thanks for sharing your heart with us. It definitely is an eye opener and makes me stop and take inventory of my life.

Erin said...

I think it's a great idea to write the words "I will choose joy" around your house. I think I will do the same because I struggle with choosing joy doing the mundane things of life and the hardships of raising children. My boys are such a joy, but it is so hard sometimes! Thanks for this post. I needed to be reminded!

Michelle Karr said...

Joy is definitely a choice! For me joy and peace tend to go hand in hand. When I am at peace, the peace that passes understanding, I have the deepest joy. Joy can be a constant while happiness is fleeting. Thank you so much for sharing.

Becky said...

I also think joy is a choice. To me it is more of an inner peace than an outward 'giddyness'. It is a contentment in knowing that God is always in control - even when I cannot understand or hear His voice. I can always trust His heart. Have you ever met a person who is physically attractive but whose demeanor is one of ugliness and anger? When you think of them, all you can think of is that discontent that is reflected all over their face. Perhaps as we mature Spiritually, that joy becomes more a part of our inner beauty - learning and accepting that we can be content in whatever state we are in.......

Penny said...

Sad that your friend has never experienced that. Yes, joy cometh in the morning, but it can also come in the MOURNing. Lovely post and very true!
Also, the JOY of the Lord is our strength. God bless you and your family, Kristy. :)

natalie said...

I don't often comment, but I stop by often. I have felt the most joy when I've been in the most uncomfortable situations. I agree that joy is KNOWING that God is bigger than any situation. When we had our two miscarriages and I was so alone, not understanding, begging for mercy and comfort, crying into my pillow alone at night, I felt the closest to the Lord. I can't say in those moments I felt JOY, but looking back, I know I was filled with joy. Now, as we're only 7 days away from expecting our precious miracle, I find myself yearning for that same feeling of joy, of closeness to the Lord.

Crystal Theresa said...

Kristy, I love that you opened with "Before you read this post and want to punch me in the face..." It made me laugh. And I definitely understand why you would begin with that ;) - a part of me had the instinct of guarding myself (you know what I mean, I think).

I appreciate the distinction you make between "joy" and "happiness." When you said that you felt joy in heartbreaking situations, that made me think back to when I delivered Calvin. I thought that going into the hospital to have my dead baby was going to break me. But when I held my boy in my arms, I was filled with joy and peace and stillness that is difficult to describe.

Thank you for this post. It has blessed me.

Mommato2miracles said...

Oh Kristy,
I haven't read your blog in quite a while, what with all the craziness in my life. But I feel God led me to read your blog today and I am so thankful! Thank you for sharing your heart and your faith with me. I have been struggling so deeply lately, and needed this so....God bless you!!!

Rahul Sharma said...

nice thoughts!
It takes me back to my school which always started with a prayer and now i know why those were best days of my life.

PletcherFamily said...

I came upon your blog in my reader, and I love this post. I feel the exact same. I CHOSE to be joyful - even when days are tough, I watch my daughters sight disappear, or things are going the way I want. I chose that in our one life, and short time on earth, that smiles mean more than frowns.

I cannot imagine what you are going through, and I am sure finding joy each day does not come with some trials. I would love to share your post on my blog (link to it) if that would be okay....I think everyone needs to be reminded about being joyful daily.

Shannon said...

This is exactly what I needed to read right now, and something I'm going to strive to do. I am one who gets lost in the circumstances and situations that life places before me, and I forget to choose joy. From now on, I will do my best to choose joy!