Choosing Joy

Each day, we are greeted with a beautiful, multi-colored sunrise and sunset. Each morning, birds start to sing, alertingtheir fellow creatures that a new day has begun. Stars shine and fall each night, illuminating the darkness with their brilliant light. And yet, all too often we humans are too busy to even stop and marvel at these miracles that occur each and every day-especially when we are distressed, troubled, weary, and broken. It is so much easier for us to simply retreat into our own fragile lives, and continue our hollow existences.

I am so guilty of ignoring the wonderful. It is so much more comfortable for me to allow my emotions to overwhelm my senses, instead of embracing a heart of gratitude. Struggling with depression for many years, many times throughout my life the negativity has become so overwhelming that joy seems out of reach. However, I am learning that joy is a choice.

So often, we choose to close our eyes, and shut out the joyful aspects of life all around us. We become closed off to the possibility of seeing beauty in the midst of our own despondency. However, if we only opened our eyes, looked around at the miracles that surround us, we would undoubtedly be encouraged by the wonder of creation.

For the past few weeks, I have been undergoing a personal experiment, in a search for joy. I understand that my identity is found in Christ alone, however, I wanted to see how happy I could become when choosing to focus on positive aspects of my life, instead of dwelling in negativity. The difference is astounding. Instead of choosing to let the darkness overwhelm me, I am noticing the light which surrounds me. Though there have been many trials in the past few weeks, I am choosing to be grateful, and find the good in the midst of the bad.

Now, I am not saying that in order to be happy, one must put on rose colored glasses and ignore the pain. Numbness is not an outlet for joy. True contentment and happiness can be found in the MIDST of pain, sorrow, grief, distress. Ignoring an issue does not bury the hurt, rather, going through a trial and overcoming its ability to over power you..that is when true joy begins. A trial, a diagnosis, a loss, a heartbreak, all of these earthly hardships do not have to dominate your emotion, and steal your joy. Rather, one can find a glimmer of hope in the knowledge that these difficulties do not define you, own you, or determine your fate. Going through hardship brings pain, but walking through pain often allows one to experience a supernatural surge of strength.

Choosing joy is difficult, but allowing it to resonate within your soul despite the brokenness you may feel allows strength to rise. Open your eyes to the beauty that surrounds you. Choose to see the good in spite of the bad, not because life will always be inherently “good,” but because choosing joy allows light to resonate and outshine the darkness.

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