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Several months ago I was asked to write a post about this subject after someone saw a FB post I wrote.   This is what I wrote…

Choosing Joy for me has to be an intentional effort. For some reason it is a real struggle for me despite having a wonderful husband and kids, and family, and most of all a God who loves me. It is so easy to give in to the voices in my head that tell me I am not enough and give in to comparison and question the intentions of those around me. My heart aches despite the good in my life and those questions stifle my joy. So, this year I am doing my best to give it all to God and not care even if the “voices” are right and CHOOSE JOY. So, I believe this song will be on repeat for a while, because if nothing else it makes me smile and makes me want to dance.

The song I shared is “Joy” by the group For King and Country. (posted below)

Well, needless to say, it is still a choice I have to make.  Some days I fail and post crazy things on FB like wishing I could go to a deserted island to get away from the troubles of the day.  Those days, I am not choosing joy, but instead allowing the worries of this world to control me and pull me down.

In recent months, I have felt like I am living in a constant wondering what is going to happen next.  For me, it hasn’t all been the big things that would cause someone to lose joy, but it has been the little things that seem to pile up and create the perfect storm that I allow to steal my joy. I have a dear friend fighting a BIG battle. I have relationship issues with those dear to me. I am dealing with small health issues for myself and those dear to me. Seeing the troubles of this world and choices that others make that I know grieve God. Concern for my children and just wanting to see them do well in life, to see them happy and living a life that is pleasing to God. Questioning the choices, I have made.

The wondering and questioning is not as innocent as it seems–it is actually worrying.  You know and I know that worrying is not what God wants for us. (Philippians 4:6-7) And I know that this worrying is what I am allowing in place of Joy. I believe for me it can also be seen as me wanting to control everything.  So, for me, it is a mixture of wanting control and worrying.

As I started researching Joy, the first thing I did was check out the definition which is “A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.”  I am not sure that is God’s definition though.

I believe it has to be more than a feeling; it has to be a knowing.

My joy should not be determined by how or what I feel.  In fact, I believe relying on feelings is what causes me issues.  It is easy to “feel” joy when life is good, when my kids do what I expect, when everyone is healthy and happy.  However, my Joy should come from the One who loves me and created me.  My joy should come from knowing Him and the knowledge that His love is never ending (Jeremiah 31:3) and He gave us the greatest gift because of this love (John 3:16), that His ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8-9)  that He has a plan for me to give me hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  That knowing that trials and challenges can increase my faith (James 1:2-3) and just knowing that we as Christians are promised so much more in the eternal life beyond as we live for Him.

That is a short list of why I should be filled with Joy no matter what.  For now, though, I must CHOOSE that joy daily and continue to study His word and understand the knowing vs the feeling.

I challenge each of you to choose this with me.  To search for the Joy that will fill us even in the toughest times.  Maybe after continuing to search, it will become something I feel.  I pray this to be true for me and true for you.

Denise Baker

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Denise is originally from the Greencastle area, but moved to Waynesboro almost 25 years ago when she married her husband John.  During those 25 years she became a mom to Kierstin and Jaden, who she was eventually led to homeschool. In her free time Denise enjoys trying out new crafting projects, reading, spending time with friends, hiking, and kayaking.  Her favorite thing most of all is coffee.

Along with her family Denise attends Otterbein Church in Waynesboro.  Denise has been a Christian for most of her life but continues to learn and grow closer in her relationship with God and her understanding of Him, as she experiences life with others and studies His word.  It is her desire to show the love of God to those around her, so that they also will want a personal relationship with Him.

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