Do you ever feel like you’ve heard “choosing joy” a million times? I think in certain circles what started as a thoughtful message has become loosely used. And because of that, it has lost it’s weight and depth. I also think if we are in a challenging season of life or experiencing heartbreak, choosing joy isn’t something that is easily done or something we know how to do! But the reality is that God intends for us to live full lives that are full of joy. How do we do this? Here is a quick thought on how to live intentionally by choosing joy.
I love the verse Proverbs 17:22, ” A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” In the happiest times of life, it is “easy” to feel joyful. It might even be overwhelming. But in the trying times in life when we don’t feel happy, being joyful isn’t something that comes naturally. So when we hear “choose joy” it is a confusing message to our hurting heart!
The difference between feeling happy and choosing joy, is that one is an emotion and the other is a decision. Can you guess which one is which, friend? Choosing joy isn’t a flighty feeling we try to muster up. It actually starts somewhere much different. It begins with being grateful.
When we express thanks to God, our attitude towards any current situation begins to change! Through the gratitude, a piece of our heart is capable of choosing joy. Change begins with being grateful in the smallest things too. Either way, we have a choice. If we don’t choose joy, we are choosing something quite different. I love the way Ann Voskamp puts it in One Thousand Gifts, “Thanks is what multiplies the joy and makes any life large.”