What is your choice?
Our topic for July is “Choosing Joy.” The dictionary defines choose as “to select or have a preference for.” Joy, of course, is not just happiness. James 1:2 tells us to find joy even in trials. I recently read a story in a magazine about a young girl who had had a rough day at kindergarten; the teacher said she didn’t know her addition facts, a friend laughed at her drawing, she skinned her knee on the playground. When her mother picked her up, she could tell it wasn’t a great day. She reminded the little girl that they had planned to get an ice cream treat on the way home. The little girl frowned and said, “I’ll eat it but it won’t make me happy!”
The little girl was making a choice to not be happy, even with ice cream. We can turn it around and make a choice to feel joy. How? One of the best examples I know is in Acts 16. Paul and Silas were harassed, arrested, beaten and put into stocks. Yet at midnight, they were singing praises to God. How could they do that? They remembered where their focus was—on living in eternity with Christ.
Songs often make a point to our hearts that our heads haven’t heard. The chorus of “Sing and Be Happy” tells us to “sing and be happy, press along to the goal.” It doesn’t say “sing because you’re happy.” It implies a choice to be joyful even when skies are gray and cares seem great. Rely on his promises and have faith in the things stored up for us by God.
Another song that speaks to me is “Count Your Blessings.” Counting blessings even in the midst of a tempest or conflict brings us back to the Savior who loves us. That is the greatest source of joy—that Christ loved us enough to die for us and so we can live forever with him.