Choosing Joy

What does it look like to choose joy each day? To see through the eyes of gratitude? To embrace every gift He gives?


What does it look like?

To choose joy even when I don’t have what my heart desires.

To choose joy even when I’m not sure what my purpose is.

To choose joy even when I feel like time is ticking in my ear and I’m not certain what I should do with it.

To choose joy even when my imperfections – be they physical, emotional, or spiritual – are trying to reach up and wrap themselves around my lungs and suffocate me.

To choose joy even in the struggle, the messy, the pain, the questions, the overwhelming, and the unknown.

How to choose joy?

It seems like an insurmountable mountain at times. How can I climb to the top of that sheer cliff and grab hold of joy when I already feel overcome by weariness?

Maybe it looks a little differently than sheer willpower.

Maybe it’s about choosing Jesus.

Like, going straight to your Bible and sitting in His presence when you feel depression creeping in.

Seeing His hand in everything.

Like, noticing every little, sweet thing in each day.

Trusting His truth.

Like, remembering the verse in His Word that tells us not to worry about tomorrow. Trusting that He will take care of you because He said He would.

CHOOSING JOY is living fully immersed in the moment – whether talking to your friend, laughing with your little siblings, making supper, or going to that fall gathering. Stop constantly living in your mind, thinking: when am I going to get a chance to pour out everything that I want to say? Maybe I should get back to my social media/texting/project. How long is this meal going to take so I can eat? Will I finally make some girl friends or meet a special guy here? Live that moment, and in doing so, it is perhaps like thanking God for giving it to you.

CHOOSING JOY is making the most of the day you’re in – even if you sense that you’ve wandered and God will be calling you somewhere else in the days of tomorrow – just living this day as faithfully as you can. Spend quiet time with the Lord. Glean wisdom. Love on whoever may be around you (siblings and parents?). Serve people, even in just little ways, that you know will bless them.

CHOOSING JOY means reading Scripture. Let the words of God wash over you, heart and soul. Read those verses on joy, and thankfulness, and peace, and hope as many times as you need. Whenever bitterness, depression, or listlessness start welling up … Read Scripture verses on joy. Meditate on them. Memorize them. Write them on sticky notes and post it around your house.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-12

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.

12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.

Psalm 103:1-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 94:19

19 In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul.

Philippians 4:4 & 6-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Colossians 3:15-17

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

CHOOSING JOY looks like writing a list of everything you see as beautiful and blessed. (See One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp) Take time to notice and appreciate every gift God puts in your day. Sunshine. Rain. Fall colors. Insects chirping. Laughter. Little brother playing with your hair. A child’s innocence. Inspiration. Warm socks. Good books. Family around the table. Savory food. Don’t just glance over the everyday-life things. Praise God for each simple gift and special moment.

CHOOSING JOY is found being out amidst nature. I don’t know about you, but being outside in the forest and warm rays of sun makes everything look up for me. There’s a stillness. A peace. A feeling of closeness to Creator God. So put aside some time to get outside. Walk through the woods. Go hiking. Drive around and enjoy scenic views. Visit the mountains. Go camping. Dance through an open field. See God’s handiwork. Feel His goodness. Worship Him in all of His majesty and love.

CHOOSING JOY is an empty house, worship music turned up, and dancing. Even with your broken heart, your wounded soul, your present struggles, gripping pain, heavy burdens, and twisting fear … turn up that music and dance before your God and Father. Lift up your hands to Him. Surrender it all. Cry freely over that unresolved issue in your life. Give everything back. And simply rejoice in being His. Rejoice in Him making you feel whole in that moment, even though you know nothing about your outward circumstances has changed. (See Isaac by Hollyn)

CHOOSING JOY is giving someone a genuine smile.

CHOOSING JOY is always coming into His presence with thanksgiving in our heart. Pray, friends. Pray often! And even if you’re coming before Him with a heavy burden or hurting heart, choose to praise Him. Praise Him for being your God, your Father, your Savior, Redeemer, and Friend. Praise Him for being your Creator, your Lord, your Guide, and your Provider. Praise Him for being your Healer and your Hope. Praise Him for being the true and eternal Lover of your soul.

How do you choose joy, my friend?

Or are you stuck in a cycle of joy-lessness, ingratitude, depression, or bitterness?

I would encourage you today, at the start of this new month, to find a notebook or journal and just start jotting down each good thing you see. Big or small. Enormous or minuscule. Even if it seems silly, such as: soft carpet under my feet.

Just write it down.

Just choose joy.

Psalm 95:1-7

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.


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