Choose JOY

Choose Joy.

That’s what I have to remind myself each and every day. On those days when your kids start screaming before your feet have even hit the floor. Or when you drag yourself out of bed after a night of no sleep due to one of a bagillion reasons; sick kid…snoring husband…I could go on. When the dog throws up all over the place as you are walking out the door for work, and you’re already late. Or when your toddler has a melt down because his banana broke in half, then refuses to eat it, and screams and screams because he wants his banana. On the days when your sanity is tested to the max. When you receive devastating news of a friend or family member. Or when everything that could go wrong, does.

Choose Joy.

Easier said than done, sometimes it seems. But I’ll tell you, it’s the only way I can keep my sanity some days. Okay…most days. I’m seriously considering branding myself with a tattoo, just so I’ll have that daily reminder. It’s that important.

But is it something we must choose? Shouldn’t we already just have joy, if it’s meant for us to be happy? I feel like there are many people who probably feel this way. Who just go through life sad, lonely, depressed, whatever…just waiting for things to change. For something to happen to make them happier in their situation. I hate to tell you, that they may be waiting a long time. It is absolutely not up to other people to make us happy. Nope, not even our spouses or our kids. (gasp!) Can you imagine the pressure that would put on someone? To think that you are the reason this person’s happiness exists? Personally, as someone who actively needs to CHOOSE JOY each and every day, I’m so very thankful that my happiness does not reside in my husband, or my kids, or my blog, my friends, my essential oil business or my photography business. If it did, I would be disappointed every single day. All of those things I listed, I only have because of my Heavenly Father. He blessed me with my family, and has instilled in me a desire to help others through word and oils, and to capture beauty through a camera lens. But these are all things that can be taken away at any moment. Literally, the only constant in my life is God.

So what does God, the one and only thing I have that is always there, have to say about joy? One of my absolute favorites:

“The JOY of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

The-Joy-of-the-Lord

That. That verse right there says it all. The joy that I receive is not from me or anyone or anything else…but ONLY from the Lord. (Can I get an Amen?!)

“You will fill me with Joy in your presence.” Psalm 16:11  GOD will fill us with His JOY, when we come to Him. Now isn’t that so much easier than searching and searching for things to try to make us happy? To fulfill us? I for one, am relieved. To know that ALL I have to do is spend time with God. My Creator. He alone fills us and fulfills us.

Another personal favorite, and has been for quite some time, but as of very recently, has been resurrected as one I will recite daily: Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Romans1212

I think I love this one, because it covers all bases.

Feeling hopeless? Take heart and find joy in the Lord and His promises for you! Dealing with affliction? (hello….mom of a toddler, a pre-schooler, and a sassy almost kindergartener, here!) Patience is something I’ve always struggled with…even before kids entered the scene. And now, more than ever, God is teaching me through the seemingly never-ending affliction, how important practicing patience truly is. And prayer…be faithful in it. How often do we find ourselves going through life, living one day at a time, just waiting and wondering when things will change? When we will get out of our “rut”? Well let me ask you this…do you spend time in prayer each and every day? I’ll be honest. Prayer is something that I am constantly learning and growing in. I am a far cry from a perfect pray-er…as a matter of fact, I dislike praying out loud. In front of anyone, really.

But God knows my heart.

And no matter how many times I may trip over my words, and throw a bagillion “ums” in there…my words may not flow eloquently out of my mouth during a group prayer. But He knows…and that’s all that matters.

All that to say, is that if you are lacking joy…if you are truly trying to find your reason for being here, and what difference you have or can make in this world, then I beg you to take a look at your prayer life. I guarantee you that when you put God first in your life…in your job, your marriage, your finances, your hobbies, whatever…that He will give you that Joy.

My life is far from “perfect”. And I still have rough days, where I don’t remember to bring my cares and worries to God in prayer and petition, but try to figure it out myself. But then I’m reminded of the need to choose joy and to pray continually, by this verse:

“Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

1thessalonians5

Now this doesn’t mean you have to be thrilled to be in a particular circumstance. But give thanks, because regardless of what you are going through, God can and will use it for His glory. And if something that we might be dealing with can further His kingdom, shouldn’t we be able to rejoice in that?

So…to the tired mama, who loses her temper more than you used to, and who feels like you fail your children every day. To the friend who is hurting, watching a loved one struggle with a sickness that may or may not be able to be cured. To the family member who has dealt with a sudden loss of someone who felt they had no other choice than to take their own life. To the parents who’ve had to do the unthinkable and bury their child. To the dad who works 60 hour weeks and multiple jobs just to make ends meet, and yet still feels like he’s failing his family. To the woman who longs to have a child of her own, to love and care for. To the student who is struggling to fit in, and just needs a friend. To the mama standing in line at the grocery store with your food vouchers, feeling like everyone’s eyes are judging you. To the business man who on the outside looks as though he has the perfect life, but is struggling in his marriage. You are not alone. God knows every detail of your life. He knows every detail of your circumstance…even more than you do.

And regardless of how hopeless, and devastating these situations can feel, I promise that when you give it to God, he can and will make something beautiful from it!

Just listen to these beautiful words from Steven Curtis Chapman in his song, “Something Beautiful“.

Now how can we not be excited to see what God is going to do with these broken pieces in our lives?! So friends, I leave you with this. God loves you and has some pretty great plans for you. So give it to God and CHOOSE JOY.

6 Comments

  1. “So…to the tired mama, who loses her temper more than you used to, and who feels like you fail your children every day.”

    This is me.
    Thank you.
    God Bless!

    Virtuous Mama
    http://www.virtuousmama.org

    • Hugs to you, mama! I related to that one the most, I think. It’s something I pray about daily, and hope that when my children look at me, they see Jesus. Bless you @virtuousmama !

  2. I love this! It really is so important to take personal responsibility for how we deal. As Christians, God is alive in us, and we need to let His fruits shine through us in every situation…it is easier said than done, though. But the more we do it, the easier it gets! The joy of the Lord IS our strength! Thank you!

    • Yes!! Definitely easier said than done, haha…I’m working on it every day and can see Him moving and working in and through me in how I respond to things that happen, or the unpleasant behavior my kids may display. <3

  3. Leslie Sterling+

    March 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I would like to use the joy graphic at the top of the page on an Easter banner for my church. Please let me know whom I should contact to ask for permission. Peace be with you, Leslie+

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