“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.” ― Helen Keller
You can find joy in some of the most unexpected places….
If you choose to.
I used to think of joy as something that was only available if my life looked a certain way. If I was living in the circumstances that I wanted, if the people I lived with were different, etc. Then, joy would be mine. Joy to me was an external thing based on external forces—often forces I had little or no control of.
But that wasn’t it at all.
Joy is an internal force based on internal choices.
The Bible says that JOY is a fruit of the Spirit, and it is. [Galatians 5:22]
But, the Bible also says that I can quench the Spirit, which means I can squash the Spirit’s attempts to bring joy into my heart and into my life. [1 Thessalonians 5:19].
You see, all my internal choices belong to me alone—I am “the chooser” of my attitudes and behaviors.
And, since I am the one in control of my internal world, I am therefore responsible and accountable for Who, or what, rules there. It is not my positive or negative circumstances that decide—I decide.
I choose who or what will have power over me.
I used to read those words in James 1, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” and I would think, “Count is all joy? You must be kidding God. How could anyone live in my situation and be joyful about it?”
But let’s read this same passage in The Living Bible version.
“Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.” [James 1: 2-4]
Am I to be happy about my difficulties?
Or, am I to be happy about my growing patience that will equip me to, “…be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.”
Deciding that I want to be equipped for my destiny, and ready for anything, now I can look at my problems from God’s point of view—now I can experience a joyful expectation in the midst of my difficulty. I can say, “This problem is designed to prepare me for achieving and walking in my destined purpose.”
Once I accepted this truth?
Once I saw how I had a crucial part to play in “finding joy” and making it a daily part of my world? I began to find the courage I needed to make the life changes that launched me into all kinds of new and exciting possibilities.
Notice I did not say those changes were easy.
Some of those changes were costly and very painful. But I knew God was leading me forward, and I knew He was with me helping me grow through the difficulty I was experiencing, and I accepted and chose to enjoy His love in the process He was taking me through.
(Through being the operative word here!)
You can find joy in some very unexpected places if you choose to—because the choices to do so are ours—solely ours.
Yes, joy can live in some very, very, surprising places!
I love the song of joy from the book of Isaiah. Just reading it, and my heart is lifted up by words that cause my believing to revive, and therefore, fill my heart with hopeful expectations.
Why? Because I know that God has kept His promises to Israel… and therefore, I know, God will keep His promises to me!
Even the wilderness and desert will rejoice in those days; the desert will blossom with flowers. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the Lebanon mountains, as lovely as Mount Carmel’s pastures and Sharon’s meadows; for the Lord will display his glory there, the excellency of our God.
With this news bring cheer to all discouraged ones. Encourage those who are afraid. Tell them, “Be strong, fear not, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. The lame man will leap up like a deer, and those who could not speak will shout and sing! Springs will burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground will become a pool, with springs of water in the thirsty land. Where desert jackals lived, there will be reeds and rushes!
And a main road will go through that once-deserted land; it will be named “The Holy Highway.” No evil-hearted men may walk upon it. God will walk there with you; even the most stupid cannot miss the way. No lion will lurk along its course, nor will there be any other dangers; only the redeemed will travel there. These, the ransomed of the Lord, will go home along that road to Zion, singing the songs of everlasting joy. For them all sorrow and all sighing will be gone forever; only joy and gladness will be there.
— Book of Isaiah, Chapter 35