What an exciting introduction to Choose Joy by Kay Warren! Have you ever taken time to ponder the thought that Joy IS our inheritance? Pure joy as we walk the streets of gold, as we live in mansions prepared for us, as we finally see our Savior face to face? That inheritance is waiting for us AND if the Lord did nothing more for us while we were here on earth, that would still be reason enough to choose joy in our daily lives!
Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t stop with the joy of heaven? The mercy and grace that He gives to us each day is simply amazing.
I love the authentic honesty that Kay Warren starts out this study with. I love the fact that she lays it all out for us saying that Joy is a choice and that yes, even though we are Christians, we still struggle to find joy in the most difficult, darkest times of our lives.
We tend to forget about the verses that tell us to “Count it all JOY” when we face trouble, like James 1:2 reminds us to do. Also John 16:33 tells us that we WILL have tribulation in this world, but it doesn’t end there, it also reminds us that Jesus has overcome this world.
When we are struggling to see joy in our trials and we fail to, it brings about guilt, depression and makes us wonder within our heart “why bother.” That guilt weighs us down and wears us out to exhaustion and then we are no longer effective for the Kingdom of the Lord. If we are doing nothing but drowning in guilt and depression, then the enemy has won that battle.
Keeping in mind what Kay says “Joy and sorrow will always be linked” we can truly step back from our trials and remember Romans 8:28 “ALL things work together for good” even if we can’t see it right now, or if it’s been many years, we can always trust God to work it out for our good.
As Kay points out that yes, even though Jesus was a man of sorrow, He was also a “vibrant, compassionate man, a man of both sorrow and joy who could enter fully into life with all its brokenness.”
Let’s strive to be like Jesus this week and be:
- A Woman of JOY through our Attitude – We can’t change what happens, but we can control how we react to various situations.
- A Woman of Joy through our Words – Words are lasting! Good or bad, your words will linger in someone’s heart!
- A Woman of Joy through our Actions – Jesus was a servant! As you are making a difference for others, your heart will be flooded with great joy!
As you go through your week, seeking to choose joy, remember Kay’s definition of joy.
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.”
What have you allowed to hold you back from living a life of joy? Before I answer this, I want to remind you that pain is pain…regardless of what kind – it ALL hurts. Many feel that there are big hurts, little hurts and everything in between, but, keep in mind pain hurts.
Even though I’m a pretty joyful, roll with it kind of gal, I struggle with seeing the good in the negative just like many others do. The worst time was when my father died. I knew it was coming, the doctors told us he had 6 months due to a worn out heart. I tried to prepare others, get cousins, family and friends to come and see him and say what they wanted to say. I moved in with him to help him with various physical limitations he had towards the end.
I thought I was ready.
I thought wrong.
For nearly 2 years afterwards, I was such a deep depression that I hardly remember any of it. There was no scrapbooking, no journaling, no nothing. I went to work or church and came home to sleep. That was it. It wasn’t until I started pouring myself into others that needed help, senior ladies in my church that wanted to be a “secret sister” but couldn’t afford to. I asked people to donate things they could use and started praying more, covering the pain and guilt of not being able to “fix him.” I knew that I had done all I could for my dad, but the loss was so great that it stole my joy for a long time. He would not be happy with that as he was a “giver.” We never had a lot growing up, but we always gave to others and helped where we could.
Do one thing a day for someone else. This will take your eyes off of your pain and troubles for just a little bit and allow you to see the needs of others. Also, do something you enjoy daily. These things do not have to require money, but the decision and determination to do them.
The lack of “Things” will try to steal your joy, people and their attitudes will try to steal your joy, and circumstances that are beyond your control will try to steal your joy – but remember…you have a choice. You can choose joy.
It’s okay to choose joy in the middle of pain and sorrow. It’s okay to let go of the guilt and give yourself permission to be happy. It’s okay to say, “I don’t understand, but I believe God has me” and simply trust HIM.
Look to your inheritance, don’t focus on the fear or sorrows that surround you, focus on the Father!
When you visit our Prayer Wall and post a prayer request, know that we have a team of women who are praying for you. In order to receive the blessing of these prayer warriors, you need to submit your prayer request. If you have a private prayer and don’t want to post it on the website, please email email@example.com
Assignment For This Week
- Read chapters four through six in your book Choose Joy by Kay Warren
- If you are using the Participant’s Guide, complete Session Two
- Join a LIVE CHAT via Facebook at 9PM EDT/ 6PM PDT– with Christine on Monday, Traci on Tuesday and Marie (to be determined)
Discussion – choose to answer any or all of the following:
- What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
- What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
- How does it make you feel to understand that God dances over you with joy? Is that easy for you to believe? Why or why not?
- Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.