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Friday, May 25, 2012

Choose Joy

...what does it mean to choose joy?
...how can I daily choose joy?
...how can I be joyful in the midst of the pain and sorrow of this life?
...is being joyful and being happy the same thing?
...am I designed for joy? 

I am currently reading Kay Warren's book Choose Joy and it is one of the best books I have read recently. Over the last few months this idea of choosing joy has really resonated with me, it touches heart strings that I didn't even know I had.

I want to choose joy but I don't want to be fake and always "be happy" even when things are not going so well. I struggle with how to have joy and how to be open and vulnerable at the same time. What does it look like to be honest in my struggles while still choosing joy? I don't know, but I'm beginning to learn.

Choosing joy isn't about being happy all the time. Joy does not equal fake, it equals faith. Kay Warren defines it this way:

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.

This definition immediately made me think of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which were the verses the Lord laid on my heart during my years at Capernwray Harbour Bible School, "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Joy can be found in the midst of whatever circumstances we find ourselves if we are willing to let go and let God. If we can come to realize that no matter where we are in life, that God is there and that He is in control and that He hasn't forgotten us. If we can trust God to be our Provider, our Healer, our Hope, our Rock, our Refuge, our Savior, our LIFE, to be everything that He promises He is, than we can choose joy in any circumstance.

Joy is not always easy, but it is always a choice.