Choosing Joy

Today, we're so excited to have a guest blogger, Loring! She is a junior Social Work Major at Texas Christian University. She enjoys spending her summer working at a summer camp in Marble Falls, TX, being spontaneous, and jamming to One Direction on the regular. The blog she has written has deeply impacted her over the past year and we are so excited that you get to read about it here!

It is so easy in our everyday lives to go through the motions and be negative, but what if we decided to choose joy in our lives instead? Believe me, it is not the easiest thing to do… definitely a choice you have to be willing to make. It’s not easy to choose joy, it is so much easier to be negative, but we need to be thankful for everything Christ has given us in our lives.

I am inspired to choose joy through my friend, Taylor Helland. She was one of the bravest people I know. She battled cancer from the age of 14 to 19, and God took her from us February this past year, but the entire time she “chose joy”. When things were looking bleak, she turned to Christ rather than running in fear, and she was thankful for the blessings she had. Taylor embodied the word joy in everything she did. She loved on everyone around her, and was always immensely faithful. Her faith was an aspect that never waivered. Taylor’s mantra was “choose joy.” Even though you may not necessarily be battling cancer, someone in your family may be. Or maybe your “cancer” is a very tough circumstance in your life, so how do you choose joy in that and how does the Bible call us to choose joy?

Joy is not the same thing as happiness. Joy is not necessarily the absence of pain. God gives us strength to face trial and pain. Part of choosing joy is choosing His goodness.

 “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” // Philippians 4:13

“And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” // 1 Corinthians 10:13

I group these verses together because God is not going to put us through something we can’t bear… as long as we LEAN ON HIM. In the 1 Corinthians passage is says “tempted,” but in Greek, this also means "tested". God will not test us beyond what we can handle. He will provide. He will give us strength, and we can do anything through Christ. He will provide if you seek Him.

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him: and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” // 1 Peter 1:6-9

Peter explicitly states to that you will be filled with inexpressible and glorious JOY in these trials. James tells us to consider it PURE JOY when we face these trials. These trials are here to mature you in your faith not hinder you from God. I know sometimes we face struggles, and all we want to do is run away from God, but what if we run to him instead? These trials produce perseverance and genuineness in your faith, which is worth more than GOLD. (I know diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but maybe we should be accessorizing with Joy instead ladies). God tests us to make us better and to bring us closer to him. So let’s run to God instead of away and choose joy instead of misery. Yes, we may have pain, but that doesn’t mean we can’t choose joy.

Our God is a good God. God isn’t stating we will never face trials, but he wants us to choose joy when we do. He wants us to remain faithful and remain in His love.

Be joyful ALWAYS. I know I’m definitely not, but God is calling us to seek Him. Joy is having an inner peace with God and knowing you can do great things with him. Joy is is knowing God’s love. So why don’t we follow the fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness”). Let us not follow our fleshly desires and be negative, but let us make the decision to CHOOSE JOY and follow the Lord no matter the circumstances because by choosing joy we are choosing God and choosing to run to Him!

Taylor, thank you for reminding us daily to choose joy and to run to Him with open arms. I encourage each and every one of you to choose joy in everything you do even in this midst of trial and struggle.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” // James 1:2

“Be joyful always; pray continually’ give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” // 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

Loring // @shouldve_put_a_loring_on_it

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