I Choose Joy


Learn to choose to be joy-filled rather than focus on the negative things in life.

“I love the blue beads on that necklace!” said the mom. Side-by-side, mom and daughter sat with their heads bent over the magazine spread open on their laps. Anxiously waiting to board my delayed flight home, I watched as they flipped through the pages and each took turns pointing out something they loved.

Their reasons were varied—from the object itself, to the color, to how the object made them feel. Some pages were easy to describe with pretty dresses and accessories of bright colors. But others were harder, like the full-page advertisement for medication to combat lactose intolerance. The little girl frowned in concentration as she studied that page, and then said brightly, “I like the way these letters are bigger than the others. They look tall and brave!”

A brilliant exercise—and I watched in awe as mom and daughter took delight in what appeared before their eyes. They didn’t talk about buying anything or even wish they could have what they saw. They simply enjoyed.

I’ve often thought back to that scene when I’ve felt anxious, depressed or just plain unhappy about my life. Why do I have to put the same dishes in the dishwasher over and over? How in the world could my son lose his shoes yet again? Why couldn’t we get a better washing machine that didn’t leak all over the floor? Then I reflect on that little girl who concentrated on a page full of boring words that she couldn’t read, yet found something delightful. Choose joy is the thought that runs through my head.

Doesn’t my heavenly father fill my world with delightful things before my eyes every day? Each morning he allows me to enjoy the aroma of steaming, fresh hot coffee. He gives me a glimpse of my husband’s sense of humor in the glimmer of my son’s eye. He displays his creativity through my daughter as she composes another song. He provides beauty out my window if I’ll only look. How many times have I flipped the page without even noticing?

It’s so human to get caught up in what’s wrong, what’s broken, what’s missing and to be crabby about it. But here’s what I know: God wants me to choose joy. Contentment is my daily opportunity if only I’ll slow down and notice the good things. Even though there are days that go bad and ones that are filled with things I don’t understand, I can still choose joy because of the promise in Psalm 16:11, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Each day has a choice, and I choose joy.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16:11).

Written by Sherry Surratt

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