when joy doesn’t feel like a choice

I used to have this cutesy frame that said, “Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is a choice. Choose joy today.”  It helped me through some somewhat rough days and gave me some good perspective to choose joy in Christ when I felt sour or frustrated.  And then some really hard times hit and I remember thinking “I can’t! It’s not a choice.  It’s so far beyond my reach.  There is no way.”  So, I would pursue it and pray for it and it didn’t feel there sometimes.  There are moments when we cannot CHOOSE joy anymore than we can choose for it to be sunny out.  But He can give us joy and peace and life abundantly in the midst.  It’s only in His strength.

I’ve grown so much in some fruits this year– in patience and in self control– but find that peace and joy are such a challenge to me.  I’m still waiting for life to slow down or ease up just a little, but it hasn’t yet and I am learning to let God give me peace and joy in the hard, busy times.  This has little to do with Thanksgiving, mostly for the fact that I wrote the above paragraph a month ago and didn’t have time to come back to it… but there is SO MUCH to be thankful and JOYFUL for this year and each day.  Thank you, Jesus, for some wonderful time to reflect on those things today.

This song was such a wonderful blessing and comfort to me earlier this year.

Oh, joy, that seeks me through the pain
I cannot close my heart to thee
I trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not in vain
That morn shall tearless be

So anoint me with joy
And joyful I will be
So anoint me with joy
And joyful I will be

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