Choosing Joy

This is going to be a pretty short post.

Because I’ve decided not to try to explain joy. Normally I’d approach this week and search for some new angle, some new take on what joy is and the role it plays in our life. But I’m all out of insights. The simple truth is sitting right in front of me:

I don’t always choose joy.

It sounds too simple — to choose joy. But there it is. Too many times in my life I choose the cynical or sarcastic lens to view life through rather than the joyful one. I find shelter under the cover of my own jadedness.

But I really believe that when joy eludes me in this life it is a choice I am making rather than a reality that has been thrust upon me.

About a year ago Staci & I had the privilege of attending the Storyline Conference put on by Donald Miller. He’s my favorite author, so I was super excited. And most of the presenters there were unbelievable.

There was one, however, who annoyed me to no end. His name was Bob Goff. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. I seriously doubt you’ve listened to him speak anywhere and forgotten about it. He is a huge ball of energy that explodes on you from the stage.

And I couldn’t wait for him to stop. Which is terrible, because he’s so honest and passionate. But oh my word was he positive. He got excited about everything. And that’s not an exaggeration. The man can’t talk about a cool breeze without stopping to wonder at the awe of it. He took joy in each and every experience he described.

At that time in my life I was feeling pretty trapped and frustrated for several reasons, which led me to approach life with a cynicism that wasn’t healthy. So to sit and hear someone talk about his life – even the darkness and struggle – with such positivity and joy was difficult. What was the difference between us? How could he be so joyful and me so jaded? It took some self-examination, but I came back to that simple truth.

choose joy mesh vanessa multonBob was choosing joy and I wasn’t.

It wasn’t because he lived in a larger house (although he did). It wasn’t because he lived in sunny San Diego and I in drought-stricken Texas (again – a reality). By simply listening you could tell it had nothing to do with circumstances. Bob simply chose to find the joy and wonder in life wherever he was and whatever he was experiencing.

Because the joy is there if we will only have the courage to look for it.

Today I have been married to Staci 14 years. She deserves an award for being married to me for that long. Because I can be pretty tough to live with at times. But Staci approaches our marriage and sees the good in me rather than the bad. She chooses the joy over the difficulty. And for that, today I am extremely thankful. (Happy anniversary, Sweetie. I love you!)

So today I pledge to choose joy. It is the life I want for myself. It is the life that God desires for us all. And I pray that no matter your circumstances right now, that you will resist the temptation to be negative or cynical. That you will find the joys in life that are there if we will only choose them.

And may there be joy to the entire world because our Lord is come.

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