In junior high the principal used to say “Make it a great day or not a great day, the choice is yours” at the end of every morning announcement. I would repeat it with her in my head, but it didn’t really mean much. A few weeks after my car accident in 2014 I had the privilege of going on a women’s retreat where I learned more about the gift of choosing joy that God has given me.
Joy is a choice – this was lesson one. You have to choose joy and keep choosing it, and only you can make that decision. No one else can make that choice for you. That seemed simple but I know that in the past I definitely put my joy in others’ hands. I thought that by pleasing others or doing things that I thought other people wanted, I would become more joyful. Over time, I found out that I had to realize what made me joyful and say yes to those things rather than yes to what I thought everyone wanted. Even as I learned that lesson, my circumstances didn’t always make me the most joyful. I had to decide that I was going to choose joy, to say that no matter what was happening I could find things to be joyful about.
Joy is a gift – Did you know that you can learn joy? It is true! Here are some things that have helped me when I have been in down in the dumps and had a negative mindset.
– Being thankful – as soon as I start praying and thanking God for what He has given me, even the smallest of things, like the breath I breathe and the water I drink, I become more aware of how lucky I am, and my heart starts filling with joy. It is amazing! Soon I am just in awe of how much I have to be thankful of, and I even forget why I was feeling down.
– Laughter – I read in an article that by fake laughing it will help you to genuinely laugh. So I tried it thinking that there was no way that could work. But I was wrong! I started cracking up! And then I laughed at myself. Learning to laugh at yourself is such a great thing. Why feel bad about yourself and cry when you can laugh at yourself instead? The article was promoting the health benefits of laughter too by the way, so more points for joy!
– Serving others – You know that old saying it is better to give then to receive? It definitely puts a smile on my face when I can help someone in need. Especially a child.
– Rejoicing in the Lord – Philippians is an amazing book of the Bible that I had the pleasure of studying last year. The study title was “Philippians – How to Have Joy”. Paul wrote from prison saying “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength”(4:12-13). Rejoice is a key word in that book. No matter what, I can take joy and rejoice for what I have in Christ. Salvation. Unending love. Freedom. Grace. Justification. Eternal Life. Hope.
There are so many things that we can complain about and be upset about. But grumbling isn’t going to get us anywhere but a bad mood and poor attitude. I say this to myself as much as I say it to you. Choose joy! It is an amazing gift!
Being silly counts is a way to choose joy too!