According to the dictionary, joy is a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. While happiness is a state of well-being and contentment.
We’re blessed to have a choice every day. A choice to be negative or positive. A choice to be happy or sad. But, joy?
I recently discovered that’s a choice too.
To set the scene, I started off 2019 with so much fire in my soul for God. I was serving in two ministries, rooted in community, and at church 3-4 days a week. Despite all that goodness, as I became busier, the joy came in lulls and it was pretty much non-existent when I was alone.
I didn’t get it.
In search of the solution to my fleeting joy, I chose to seek God in prayer & His word, which never falls short.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13
We are honestly so fortunate, beyond human comprehension, to have a relationship with the Lord Almighty. What’s even more incredible? When we seek him in prayer He listens and will give us the remedy to our problems in His word.
My remedy was found in James 1.
In James 1:3, I learned about trials and temptations. James explains the importance of choosing joy, especially when you fall into trials because the testing of your faith produces endurance.
The Lord was calling me to have joy despite my feelings. If I was to choose joy by giving God praise and thanks, I would overcome the trial of negativity and most importantly, give God the praise He absolutely deserves!
My lack of joy was caused purely through negative thoughts (i.e. lies from the enemy). You see, the enemy wants to see us wallow in fear, pity, and sadness. He wants us to forget about all the amazing things God has done in our lives.
To the contrary, our King calls us to rejoice in Him and His promises!
But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25
When you keep your focus on yourself and everything that isn’t going right, this opens the door and rolls out the welcome mat for lies. Lies from the enemy will make you forget the gifts and rights you have as a child of God…
For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was. James 1:24
Obviously, I don’t want that for you or me. I want us to stand firm on the promises of God and live out the fullness of life with joy! To help you do that, here are 5 practical ways you can choose joy, daily.
5 Ways to Choose Joy
1. Speak out positivity (ALWAYS)
Express gratitude for a friendship, roof over your head, a job that provides a steady income, loving family, or food in the fridge, every day! When you remind yourself of the good and praise God in the process it’s a sure way to choose joy while practicing gratitude.
I was listening to the More to Be Podcast and Heather Boersma, an author and life coach with a passion for reaching the next generation of teen girls, shared this statement.
Whenever you experience a feeling that’s not of the spirit (i.e. anxiety, stress, anger, etc.), speak this out….
Spirit of joy rise up and take the lead. Body and soul come into alignment with joy.
There is an incredible amount of power in the words we speak. What we speak out will come to be, which isn’t my personal opinion, but actually biblical!
So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21
2. Fill your mind with God’s word
If you have a busy schedule and feel like you don’t have enough time for God, I want to lovingly remind you that you need to make time! I used to have this mentality and didn’t see how God could fit into my lifestyle. Nonetheless, once I committed my life to Christ, I started making daily appointments. I’d start my day reading God’s word, meditating, and praying and end my night doing the same. I don’t say this to brag, but only to encourage you and share my testimony. Intentionally using my time to pray not only strengthened my relationship with God, but it gave me a better understanding of who He is while also learning about the promises and rights I have as His child.
3. Memorize verses
Phone reminders and sticky notes *mic drop*. Okay, okay, hear me out… These are so effective and helpful! Post notes in your car, bathroom mirror, room, and the fridge. You can also use the “Reminders” application on your phone. Title the reminder “Memorize Verse,” then select 2-3 different times during the day to be reminded (i.e. 6 am, 12pm, 5pm). I like to pick a verse for the day & will repeat it to myself during my down time.
Why should you memorize verses? When you can recall God’s word it’s the easiest way to combat negativity and lies from the enemy while reminding yourself of the blessings found in His promises.
4. Listen to faith-based podcasts and audiobooks
Most people are commuting at least once a day. Whether it’s to work, school, home, a meet-up, the market, or the gym. We spend a lot of our time in the car or using some form of transportation. Because I like to be intentional in every aspect of my life, I spend most of my car rides listening to faith-based podcasts or audiobooks. By doing so, you’re learning about God, filling your mind with positivity, and educating yourself with practical tools to live a life like Christ!
My favorite podcasts are Andrew Wommack Ministries, Glory to Glory by Pastor Joe Pedick, and Pastor Rick’s Daily Hope. My recommended audiobooks are Undaunted by Christine Caine, Univited by Lysa TerKeurst, and How to Hear from God by Joyce Meyer.
5. Make joy a habit
What brings you joy? For me it’s dancing. It’s one way I can freely express myself and also use it as an act of worship. When you’re in that moment of blissful joy, praise God and thank Him that He’s given you something you love to do!
Before I peace out, I want to leave you with this…
As a Christian you have the fruit of the Holy Spirit within you! It’s up to you to BELIEVE (Mark 11:24) and call on the Holy Spirit for help. If you still find yourself struggling, kick it up a notch by imagining yourself in a blissful state of joy. Take time while you’re listening to your favorite song or even better, make time to imagine daily, until the picture in your mind becomes reality.
Remember, every day we have the opportunity and CHOICE to choose joy!