Continuously Choosing JOY ||

I wrote about joy and what it means to me in my very first blog post (Keep Choosing Joy) from October of 2014! But since it’s been a while, I’ve decided to do a JOY UPDATE. YAY!

My blog is based after my most favorite quote in the whole entire world by Henry Nouwen:
“Joy does not simply happen to us. 
We have to choose joy, and keep choosing it everyday.”
When I first stumbled upon that quote I decided to make it my life theme. But since then, I have failed many, many, MANY times at “choosing joy.” It’s hard.
But even though I have failed, the choice to strive to choose joy has not. Yes, there are always going to be times I don’t choose joy. I’m human, it happens. But having the mindset of striving to choose joy despite anything else has impacted my life tremendously. 
In case you missed my very first post and are too lazy to click the link above, let me share that mindset I’m talking about with you:
Joy is so much more than a word or an emotion to me. I’m not sure the exact moment God placed this word so strongly on my heart, but it was during a phase of my life that I was not joyful. I was not content. I was not seeking Christ and His joy, but seeking what ‘I’ wanted and what made ‘me’ feel good.
I thought that the various things I wanted would fill me up and THEN I’d be content. I’d have joy. I’d have all I needed. But the things I wanted only left me filling empty and wanting more. It left me hoping that THIS next thing would maybe fill that void.
But no, there wasn’t anything I could do myself or get myself that would bring me joy and contentment. Only in Christ could I truly find fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11)
I didn’t have joy because I was seeking myself rather than seeking Him. I was seeking what ‘I’ wanted, rather than seeking HIS will.
He taught me that no matter what my circumstance is here on earth, I ALWAYS have reasons to be joyful in Him. A verse that really helped me when I was struggling with not choosing joy was Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
That verse has become so very important to me. I pray that he will fill me with His joy and His peace through whatever circumstance. I pray that He’ll fill me up so much that I’m always overflowing with hope. I want to use the lesson He’s taught me to reach out to others so they can experience the same joy, peace, and hope that I’ve experienced in Christ.
He has shown me perfect love when I was most undeserving. He suffered for me knowing all the times I’d shrink back instead of suffering for Him. He showed me love and grace, when all I deserved was death. How could I sit around and whine about my own personal troubles I face? He has given me so many more reasons to be joyful than I could ever come up with to not be.
My lack of joy was caused by my perspective. He taught me to make the choice to CHOOSE JOY. To choose to live in His love and His grace. Oh boy, has that decision made a big difference in my life.
Of course there are still times when I struggle with choosing joy. I get grumpy and mad at the world for my own stupid reasons. But He constantly reminds me that HE is enough.
In Him ALONE, I am finding what it means to be truly joyful despite anything else.
 I am learning to keep choosing joy day after day even when it’s so very difficult.
I’ve made my decision, have you made yours?

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