Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Choose Joy

Did you know that I'm supposed to be miserable? I am! Want to know why? I have a two year old. Take a poll at Walmart. Having a two year old automatically qualifies you for being one of the most miserable people ever. Need another reason? I'm pregnant. And 37 weeks pregnant at that. You are most miserable when in your last month of pregnancy so I've been told.  You still need another reason? I'm a stay-at-home mom with a busy husband. Did you know that all I do is change diapers, clean toilets, and want to go do something exciting? You still need another reason? Wow! You people are hard to convince! Ok, I'm actively involved in church. Did you know that God is out to ruin my life and my fun?

Obviously that whole paragraph was rather tongue-in-cheek. The truth is that I am blissfully happy as the 37 week pregnant, stay-at-home mom of a two year old. Even with the busy husband and the church involvement. But there really are people who pity me and believe I must truly be miserable. And nothing will make them believe I'm happy. I guess since they are miserable I must be too?  

Circumstances do not make you or me happy or joyful. I know people who have gotten exactly what they want and are miserable. And I know people in very difficult circumstances who exude joy and cheer. You want to know what gives me (and them) joy? Jesus. And not Jesus on my terms. Not Jesus, You do what I want or I won't be happy. Or Jesus the magic lamp. Or Jesus the God I imagine Him to be. No, Jesus, the God that the Bible declares Him to be. Joy comes on God's terms, not mine. 

Joy comes from my daily walk with Jesus. Psalm 16:11 says "in thy presence is fullness of joy..." Joy comes from spending time with Jesus and obeying Him. Proverbs 8:32, " for blessed are they that keep my ways." "Blessed" means "happy." as I spend more time with Jesus and strive to obey Him my happiness increases. As I neglect my daily walk with God and do my own thing I grow more miserable and discontent. I decide everyday if I am going to be joyful. Joy doesn't mean everything in life is perfect. Or that things work out the way I want them to when I want them to. "It might not be right with your surroundings, but it can be well with your soul." Joy is between me and Jesus. 

Joy means walking with Jesus. Joy means forgetting myself and serving others.  Perhaps that's why people seem genuinely perplexed that I'm so happy. Complaining misery is the normal for our society. I'm so glad I don't feel an overwhelming desire to fit in.

I want to be joyful so there are a few things I strive to do daily. 
1. Nurture my walk with God and obey His commands. 
2. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Thank God all day long. 
3. Don't dwell on problems. Have a set time to take them to Jesus and purposefully shift my mind when they pop up after that. 
4. Focus on others and not myself. 
I must choose joy every morning when I get out of bed. Every night when I'm up with my babies. Every time my husband calls and says he'll be home late. But I can choose joy. 
Joy, like love, is a verb. It means "to rejoice, to be glad." Even the noun means "gladness, exhilaration of spirits." My spirit consists of what I tell myself. I do choose joy literally with my thoughts. I choose joy with what I focus on. Decide to choose joy just as you decide to love. Don't wait on the feelings. Feelings are to be the caboose, not the engine; I don't want my feelings to drive me. This is not a popular thought but I don't HAVE to do what I feel. And that is so freeing! 
So choose to joy in Jesus. 


  1. This made me smile BIG. :-) Have long, happy, miserable life! I know I hope to.

  2. Thanks! As long as we can be miserable with someone :)