Choosing Joy

joy

Rejoice always.
{1 Thessalonians 5:16}

I love the simplicity of this verse. Rejoice. Always. It really is that simple. But honestly…some days I really don’t feel like rejoicing. I don’t always feel joy. Day to day God blesses me in so many ways and I love what he is doing in my marriage, in my church, in my community. But I ache for more.  And right now the mundane day-to-day gets in the way of that right now and honestly I’m just kind of irritated about it! So I dig my feet in and get all stubborn acting and refuse to accept that God really wants me to find joy where I am at. But y’all..when we close our eyes to where God has us, we miss it. We miss our calling. Because he’s called us where he has us for today. And today we can love others well. We can encourage. We can hope. We can choose joy.

We’ve talked a lot about joy and being obedient where God has us recently. My husband said the other day – “you know how we heard several times before we were married that love isn’t always a feeling, it’s a decision? I think that’s true for joy too.”

Indeed. Joy isn’t always something to be felt. It’s a decision we make because we know where our hope is found. 

1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

This is joy. We are God’s special possession with the purpose of declaring his praises and pointing others to Him – the one who called us out of darkness into light. There is grace to be had. Forgiveness to be found. Redemption to be brought to completion. There is unconditional love, a hope in someone who is not of this world but who lived, breathed, and walked in it – who now sits at the right hand of the throne of God and who has defeated all darkness past, present, and future.

Do you have praises to declare? Has God brought darkness to light in your life? I certainly do. Not all my praises come from places of blessing.

Brokenness in my marriage didn’t bring joy I could feel or see. Feeling worthless and lonely and hurt in such a sacred relationship doesn’t bring about tangible joy. But God’s redemptive work is tangible and even in the trenches JOY is there. In choosing to declare God’s goodness and redemption, I can find joy that comes from only Him.

In this season where God’s answer to a desire of my heart is clearly no, my joy comes from a place of despair. Because in my crying out WHY God? and questioning his will and purpose for my life in this season…he is faithful. Steadfast. Never changing. And he continues to provide encouragement to my weary soul through friends. Through his word. Through my husband.  In choosing to declare his faithfulness, I can find joy that comes only from Him.

There is joy is in the trials that make our faith genuine. “Count it all joy, my bothers, when you meet trails of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” {James 1:2-3}

I can attest to this truth. There is joy in the trials I face today because I know that through them my faith will become more steadfast. More unchanging. I can’t see it any other way because this is how God is already working in my heart.

We can’t always pursue Godly joy in our own strength. Are you facing a situation void of joy? That’s okay. You don’t have to feel joy to experience it. Because even when you don’t feel it or see it around you, God is near. And the holy spirit brings joy and peace that fills our souls regardless of our circumstances.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the holy spirit you may abound in hope.” {Romans 15:13}

When we try to put our hope and joy in things of this world, brokenness and grief will come. This world is imperfect. We are all sinners in need of grace. We all want to place our hope in something. And that is where true joy is found – because over 2000 years ago a baby was born of a virgin and grew to be a man who died on a cross for our sin – taking upon himself what we all deserve – the purest form of grace we can ever receive. “Rejoice in hope…” {Romans 12:12} There is joy in the hope we have in Him.

choose joy. 

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