Joy Is My Inheritance- Choose Joy Week 1

By August 5, 2012Choose Joy

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!

Prayer Requests

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 wbcprayers@gmail.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:

  1. What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
  2. What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
  3. 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?
  4. Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.

Author WBC

Find online bible studies for women at the Womens Bible Cafe. It’s also a place where you can meet other Christian women from around the world and fellowship together. If you’re unable to a attend a church small group bible study then the Bible Study Cafe is just right for you! Look under “Current Studies” to see what we’re reading. Bring your book and let’s study the Word together.

More posts by WBC

Join the discussion 44 Comments

  • AF says:

    I have gone through two pregnancy losses in the space of 3 months and although everything about me is falling apart the only thing that I can rely on staying together right now is The Lord. My relationship is unfailing with God and this has been proven in these past few months where I have clung on to God and he has shown me Joy in the midst of all this grief and depression. Every day He helps me to move on and how to be happy again and to trust Him with my life and to know that whats happened is all His plan and He knows what He is doing. He is amazing. He knows our hearts and He knows what we need, what we can handle, how we should deal with things. In a time where I should have lost all my joy and happiness, God is showing me how I can be joyful and happy. This study really spoke to me tonight.

    “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.”

    “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.”

    • I am sorry for your loss, and I pray that God will being healing physically and emotionally. May you continue to anchor yourself to Him and hold firm in your faith, may you be blessed.

  • Amber says:

    Guilt hold me back many times from experiencing joy. My past is full of addicction and immorality. I know I am forgiven. The old me would never in a million years recognize me now. However, it is hard for me to accept at times that God actualy dances with joy over me…that I could ever be worthy of something so beautiful. Its difficult beccause what I “Know” and “Feel” are two very different things.

  • Dawn says:

    Stress over things that are somewhat out of my control.

    My relationship with God is definitely growing each and every day. I continue to pray for His help in being a better follower. I continue to feel and see my life changing every day. God is so good!

    It’s an amazing feeling to know God is dancing over me with joy! This is easy for me to believe, especially after beginning this study!

    I am truly enjoying every part of this book so far. James 1:2 says it well. I have been continually thinking about this verse for the past week!

  • Mindy says:

    “What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?”
    Daily stresses of finances hold me back from living a life of joy. I give too much thought and worry about money (or lack of money!), that I don’t trust God as my Provider and believe that He holds every aspect of my life in His hands. I allow joy to be robbed from me because of it.

    • Amber says:

      I know how you feel. I think there are so many of us who have trust issues with the Creator of the Universe. It’s a process, Ive been there. I have learned to trust Him more and More each day. You will too.
      I actually red a Devotional a few minutes ago on this very thing…I hope it will a blessing to you as well…..

      “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.'” Psalm 31:14 (NIV 1984)

      It was news that made my heart ache like no other. Nothing would ever be the same.

      I climbed into my red Jeep Wrangler, buckled my seat belt, and sped down a dark country road. The night sky was clear but I could barely see through the tears that poured down my face.

      I flipped off the radio and screamed at God, “Why?! Why did you allow this to happen?”

      Pressing my foot on the brake, I pulled over and parked on the side of the road. The air was cold and the silence was eerie.

      Do you trust Me? I sensed God whisper.

      The question climbed through layers of my doubts and skepticism. Truth be told, I didn’t trust God.

      Oh, I trusted Him when things were good, when life was easy. But in the lowest moment of my life? I didn’t really trust Him.

      I wish I could tell you Jesus showed up in my car that night and I have never distrusted God again. But that is the furthest thing from the truth.

      It would be years before I could say I trusted God again. And even today … I have trust issues with Him.

      Why is trusting God so hard?

      The obvious answer is, you can’t see Him.

      Then there’s the sensible rebuttal, He’s mysterious.

      Or the overused answer, God’s ways are just not our ways.

      But today I’m thinking that trusting God is so much more than just a position we accept.

      Trusting God is a place of response.

      In my desperate situation that night what I really wanted to say to God was, “I need to trust You more than ever.” Yet my soul and my mouth didn’t know how to connect that thought.

      I need to trust You.

      On days filled with uncertainty and fear, this practice of verbally placing our trust in Him can be powerful.

      Today as I learn to trust God more, here are some things I’m saying aloud:

      Jesus, I need to trust You more than ever to believe that You work all things out for my good. (Romans 8:28)

      Jesus, I need to trust You more than ever to fight this battle I am facing. (Exodus 14:14)

      Jesus, I need to trust You more than ever to be my God who provides beyond my limitations. (Philippians 4:19)

      That night part of my lack of trust for God was from my own failure. I had fallen far from God – yet in that painful moment, He was still the One I turned to. I can’t help but believe it is in our moments of complete brokenness we are able to experience God’s faithfulness and presence by daring to turn to Him and learning to trust Him again.

      What do you need to trust Jesus more than ever for today?

      Dear Lord, I am thankful for the trust You offer me. I ask today that You would help me to move towards trusting You more with every detail of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

  • Carin says:

    What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    Worry! I worried when we had money and I worried when we barely paid our bills. I worried about our business. God has put me in a place of “I give up” only you can handle our situation(s).

    What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    I have been praying daily for forgiveness of a “of little” faith life. I loved what Kay said “an untested faith is an unreliable faith. That spoke to me loud and clear!!

    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?
    It is hard to imagine when we go through trials.

    Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.
    My husband and I are going through a stressful time in our business. I consulted our pastor if we are being “unchristlike”. He gave me examples of what Jesus went through. Then I read this from Kay~ The process of refining that makes us like JESUS CHRIST in our character involves pain and stress.
    That spoke to me loud and clear too! This is a good study (book) to be in right now!

  • K says:

    God has always come through for me, even through my darkest trials and when my faith was waning. I know He does things according to His will and in his own timing. However, I don’t think I would be around without prayer. I love the Lord, He is so good to me even when I don’t deserve it. Some people have thought I was weird when I would be happy in the direst of situations. My reason is because I know God will carry me through…

  • simone johns says:

    1. not having what i want RIGHT NOW 🙁 just learning to be content in the god and bad.
    2. faith-its groing stronger every day and for that im quite grateful for
    3. yeah it make me feel happy and his joy is my strenth and the more joy i give him the more strenth i will have
    4. that Jesus was a man of joy, that made me feel so happy to konw that Jesus was the life of the party , it bring so much more insisght into the nature of Jesus character while on earth. Not only was he preacher, a teacher, a healer, a couselor but he was also a fun person to be around. It makes me love him even more. not that he is God but he was human like me as well. thank you Jesus

  • Jeannette says:

    What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    Fear and ultimately fear of rejection.
    What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    This was hard to admit and see. I tend to gravitate to someone else when problems arise. I place God second or third to gain his wisdom and peace. However, I had already allowed rejection and fear to brew. Afterwards, I give God all the credit for taking care of the situation…but truly I never FULLY gave him the problem. This realization that God is useful when I needed..was hard to look at. I am ready to move forward and work hard to dedicate every problem.. or joy to God first and foremost.

  • K says:

    I used to wait on others to bring me “joy” but it never seemed to work. I realized, when I bring or try to bring joy to others, that’s when I found more happiness. Especially when I focused on God’s word.

  • Katie says:

    Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.

    A quote that I loved was “I’m broken, but I’m not crazy.” I can totally relate to that at times. I can read and read and read over and over about how all I need to do is Trust God and everything will be ok, but if I don’t actually put that into practice, it wont happen. “Joy is not a surface attitude adjustment but a settled assurance about God, a quite confidence in God, and a determined choice to praise Him in every situation.” I love this, just have to figure out how to put it to work more in my life 🙂 I am really loving this bok.

  • Katrina says:

    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.

    1. I used to focus on what I don’t have or how I was raised.
    2. Well, the more time I spent praying and reading God’s word, the less time I spent focusing on my problems; and I have found my joy increasing
    3. I believe it. God has seen me through some very tough and dark times. He has always been there for me. I truly believe that when I am in joy, God is in joy with me.
    4. I have to see if I can afford the book, I will try to check online. May God bless you all.

  • Camille says:

    What holds me back from living a life of joy? I definitely have a bit of the rabbit personality in me, in that I get extreme satisfaction when I accomplish tasks and when I can’t (because I’m not MacGyver) I feel totally defeated! Afterwards it weighs heavy on my mind till I find a way to finish/fix it. This also applies to chores! Its not that I love doing them, its that I love having them done. To the point that even though I’m in physical pain, I have a hard time resting. Thought I was OCD or just crazy till Kay’s book. This week I was able to look at things and say “it’s okay, I can leave that for now”. Spent a wonderful day off yesterday, immersed in God’s word, did very little around the house (comparatively) and you know what – The walls are still standing!

    About God dancing over me…. I come from a strict, old-world Roman Catholic upbringing, Laughter, dancing, even singing for joy were never a part of my church life. They are now, but its still weird to me to think of God dancing. I’m workin on it.
    God bless you sisters!

  • Andi. B says:

    What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    Mainly worldly “jobs” that take my time and are not enjoyable. Instead of finding the joy in doing them, I often allow myself to get frustrated, overwhelmed and stressed out. Far less than joyful!!!!

    What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    Much of the time it shows that I have a pretty good relationship with God… but sometimes I just get out of touch and it doesn’t seem so good. Once upon a time, I had a coworker who asked me: “where do you get your joy??” That was years ago… I’d like to be back there!!! I guess I need to keep calling 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?
    It is easy for me to believe!!! I have always seem God as a joyful, loving entity! I do believe that He wants His children to be joyful and that He celebrates with us and for us.

    Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.
    Love the image of Christ as a man of joy!! Love the portrayal of His sense of humour! I get that!! Jesus, the first Jewish comedian!!

  • Alice says:

    3. How it makes me feel understanding that God dances over me for joy, is completely and utterly happy. My heart is warmed by the thought. Is it easy for me to accept it? Absolutely. Why it is easy to accept? It hit home. I felt in the past week with this study on joy, has been the answer and wake up call I’ve needed, and I thank Jesus for this study.

  • Jennifer D says:

    2. What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God? He is always their for us, no matter what we do
    4. Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week. Learning that Jesus had a humor.

  • Katie says:

    Allison M, I couldn’t agree more with your statements, especially when you mentioned that you hinder your relationship with God.

    What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    Without a doubt what holds me back from living a life of joy is my anxiety about one particular relationship in my life. I know in my heart that what I need to do to experience joy is to release all my expectations, anxieties, stress over to God & while I am able to do it for short, infrequent periods of time, I haven’t been able to do it permanently. In turn, I haven’t been able to experience joy.
    2. What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    My faith life reveals that at certain times I am my own worst enemy when it comes to establishing a loving, trusting, fulfiling relationship with God. I know He wants me to release everything to him & I need to do that in order to move forward, I just find it so hard to do so.
    3. How does it feel to know God dances over you with joy?
    It feels God because I know that God wants his followers to experience all the joys in the world.

    4. Share something you enjoyed reading.
    I wouldn’t say I enjoyed reading it, but I found comfort in knowing that Kay has also struggled to find joy amongst sorrow & that she has also struggled with trusting God. I also took comfort in the fact that she has been able to find joy in all situations so I feel that I could possibly do the same in the near future.

  • Brittany says:

    What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?

    Not putting my faith in Jesus Christ. When I put my faith in my feelings and emotions and worries and circumstances I find myself in the darkest of places. But when that spark of light who’s name is Jesus finds me, there’s no stopping the joy that overcomes me! All my failures and weaknesses and fears go out the window, because I know my savior lives!!

    What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    Well I would like to think that I have a deep faith in my relationship with God. But I find that my faith is restored and at it’s strongest when I realize how faithful my God is for me. I find it heart warming to know that his love for me never fails and I could forget him for hours, days, weeks..and when I look to him he’s right there waiting for me. When he tells me that his love for me is unconditional and everlasting, my faith doesn’t even compare. I lose faith in him moment to moment, but he is ever faithful.

    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?
    I can’t deny that it is sometimes hard to believe that God dances over me with joy. When I’m going through painful moments it seems like he is so far away from me, or like he just doesn’t care.
    On the other hand though, when he reminds me that he is the great “I AM” he puts it into perspective for me because I know that he can see my past and my future, and that this present circumstance is not the end nor the beginning. Because God is Alpha and Omega.

  • Allison M says:

    1. What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?

    Parenting dilemmas, relational breakdowns, insecurity, insensitivity, disappointment . . . you name it. When I look into the mirror I see so many imperfections.

    2. What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?

    I am very aware of the fact that I am one who hinders the work of God in my life because of my actions, choices and lack of faith which results in guilt and shame coming between a relationship with God.

    3. 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?

    The noise in my head and heart makes it hard for me to hear God singing with joy over me, but I want to picture God’s blessings pouring out into my life as He sings and dances over me! Believing that God sings and dances over highly recognizable women of faith is easier than picturing Him doing the same for someone like me. When I don’t feel God, I know I need to seek Him and find Him. I need to remember, it’s not God who has moved away – I am distancing myself from Him.

    4. Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.

    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.”

    I realize how easily I confuse joy with pleasure or happiness.  I can seek out joy even when I feel anything but happy. It begins with a choice: My husband and children serve as reminders to choose joy. It is the example I hope for them to follow. Modelling a belief that God is in control and to have faith in Him through whatever trials and challenges come our way- What more valuable of legacies could I ever hope to instill in them than a desire to pursue and know true joy?

  • Dana says:

    1. I think what I allow to hold me back from a life full of joy is forgetting that it is a choice. I tend to get in my own way and wrapped up in the waiting (for things to be better) rather than choosing joy in my moments.
    2. That as I ebb and flow I am comforted by Christ as he is always there for me. My desire is to be more steadfast in my relationship with God.
    3. I love the idea of God dancing over me with joy and I can believe it as he does with all of us.
    4. The beautiful definition that Kay Warren provides for 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.”

  • Cathryn J says:

    1. What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy? Worry
    2. What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God? I know His truth, but I often don’t live it out. I’m good for sharing an encouraging word or verse of scripture with others, but I neglect to apply the same truths in my life!
    3. 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? This made me think of King David. The Bible tells us he was “a man after God’s own heart,” and then tells us that he was “dancing before the Lord with all his might” when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the city. For this reason, I don’t find it too difficult to believe that God dances over us with joy. It’s a beautiful visualization, and it makes me feel happy.
    4. Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in my struggles, and to recognize that there is hope for great joy, even in the midst of the most devastating circumstances.

  • Kelly W. says:

    1. What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    I allow stress and tension to hold me back. I become the protagonist, the glass half empty person. I need to remember that the glass and life are also half full and it is full with wonderful and amazing things.

    2. What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    I still have a lot of trouble with “faith-life.” I don’t agree with the “Sunday Christian” mentality and I am having a hard time bringing God into all aspects of my life. I need to think of Him more often than Sunday morning, at the dinner table, and anytime I’m in trouble. I need to think of Him every minute of my day and continuously thank Him for my life and every miracle he puts in it – the big, the small, the obvious, and the hard-to-find-the-good-in-it miracles.

    3. 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?
    It is hard for me to think this. He (or I, myself) gives me many trials everyday in my life. Does he laugh at my failures? Why does he let me go through it? I read a cute little prayer quote the other day, which, oddly enough, has become my staple. “Lord, I know you said you’d never give me more than I could handle… but sometimes I wish you didn’t have so much confidence in me!” It’s cute and funny, but more often than not, this is how I feel. So to sum things up, to see God dancing over me with joy is still hard to imagine.

    4. Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.
    My favorite part was that Jesus had a sense of humor. It gave me different person to imagine when I read about him. I really like the image Kay Warren gave me of Jesus. He is so much more relatable. And I’m excited to get to know this “new Jesus” better.

  • Cassandra says:

    1.What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy? The pain in my life, and some people.

    2.What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God? It reveal to me that I need more control over the decisions I make in my life.

    3.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? It make me feel great to know that God is dance with joy when it comes to me. It is easy for me to believe.

    4.Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week. I enjoyed reading this week about the parallel train tracks. They are joy and sorrow tracks and when will face them everyday of our life. But putting God in the joy and sorrow it will make you come out with joy in your heart every time.

  • Mindy says:

    1.What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy? Also myself and my own insecurities.

    2.What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God? How much I need Him!!

    3.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? I think it’s awesome… I’m still comin1.What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    2.What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God? That I need Him!

    3.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? It’s awesome and I”m still coming to terms with it.

    4.Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week. I really enjoyed the daily videos I signed up to receive – they complement the readings well.

  • Janene says:

    What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    I would have to say life’s busyness. I wish there was more time in the day to really enjoy life without so many interruptions.
    What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    That I can’t live life without Him. I’m lost without Him.
    How does it make you feel to understand that God dances over you with joy?
    I’m still trying to understand that He is doing this. I’m working on it though.
    I really enjoyed learning that Jesus was a humorous and joyful man. I always thought of Him as being serious, somber and sorrowful. Thank you for shedding the light on Him. Thank you for this study!

  • Jen says:

    1.What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    Focusing on my circumstances, rather than on God’s goodness.

    2.What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    I’ve looked to other things (i.e. control, comfort, health, relationships) to satisfy me. In losing those things, I’ve learned that all my hope needs to be in Jesus, because putting hope in anything else will only disappoint. In retrospect, I am grateful God allowed me to experience loss, because it has strengthened my faith.

    3.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?
    That is amazing! It really encouraged me to think of that this week.

    4.Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week
    I enjoyed learning more about Jesus as a Man of Joy. It made me love Him even more to see this side of Him and to be reminded that He endured the cross for the JOY of a relationship with me and you.

  • Tina says:

    1. What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?

    After thinking about all of the great questions, I have to go with #1 as being the one that resonates most with me.

    I allow ME to keep me from living a life of joy. It’s become a recent & daily (and sometimes hourly) CHOICE for me to choose a life of joy. I had gotten to a place where I knew that I was my own worst enemy and that living a life of joy ALL THE TIME was what I needed and deserved. Sometimes this is harder than other times but the intention is to live like this all the time. Knowing that God DOES dance over me with joy really “pats that down” in my head and in my heart.

  • Courtney VanFossen says:

    What did I enjoy this week? Learning that there are 541 references to joy or joyful things and that there are 158 references to bad or sad things (doom and gloom) . So far, enjoying the readings!

  • Ellen says:

    What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    I allow my anxieties to get in the way, especially when it comes to worrying about my children. They are grown but don’t always make the choices that “I” want them to make and it’s so painful to watch. Reading Kay’s book and the comments shared by all of my “Sisters in Christ” gives me such encouragement and a different perspective on life. I LOVE Kay’s picture of joy/sorrow as parallel train tracks and giving myself permission to have both emotions at the same time.
    This study is a blessing and God gave it to us at just the time it was needed.

  • Amy S. says:

    It’s so hard for me to pick a favorite moment from this past week, because I’m enjoying this book so much! I really love Kay’s definition of joy. I’ve been working to memorize it and always become stuck at the “determined choice to praise God in all things”. (This doesn’t seem to be by chance. I struggle with being determined in my choice to praise God when things aren’t going my way).

    Also, I had a bit of an ah-ha moment when Kay talked about Jesus being joyful and being invited to a lot of parties. I don’t think I’ve ever thought of Jesus as a party guy, but when I think of instances of Him in scripture, I can see it’s true! I don’t think I’ll ever read Jesus’ words again the same in the Bible. He was humorous and charimatic, not dull and mundane. If He could be a man of joy, with all He went through as a man of sorrows, then why can’t I become a woman of joy? 🙂

  • Trisha says:

    1.What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    Myself. My own insecurities. My own personal judgements towards myself. Feel that I am undeserving at times.

    2.What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    That I do have a relationship with God and like any relationship it needs work. In this relationship all the work is on my side. 🙂 I need to remind myself daily to keep my center focused on Him and His word as this is my center for balance to be in my life.

    3.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?
    It seems surreal to me. I find it difficult to believe that He dances over me with joy as there are times when I feel I am definitely undeserving of joy. However, at the same time it is comforting to know that he truly is my salvation and He is dancing over me with joy and with me through the ups and downs.

    4.Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.

    For me the entire weeks reading was enjoyable. The words that stuck with me the most are:

    1. Kay Warrents definition of Joy. I LOVE the 3 bullet points about that Joy is a …settled conviction ABOUT God; a quiet confidence IN God and a determined choice to give my PRAISE to God.

    2. Kay reference and discussion of Hebrews 12:2.

    I have typed up and printed Kay Warren’s definition of Joy and Hebrews 12:2. I have them in front of my computer and read them multiple times daily.

  • Kay T. says:

    Worry has always kept me from joy. I am trying to “Let go and Let God”. I know He is in control, but I often think I am, too. (Ooops!) I agree with Colette’s comments about God dancing over us with joy. I enjoyed everything about the book. Kay Warren made me feel as though she knew my feelings because she has “been there”.

  • Bonnie says:

    What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    Self-focus holds me back from living my life of joy. It’s only when I take my focus off of Jesus and focus on what I want that I don’t have, or why do I always…., or any number of other distractions.

    What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    I like to think it shows that I have a deep, strong relationship with God, but in reality, it shows I have a long way to go. Some days I feel closer to God and other days I feel further away.

    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?
    I have a hard time believing anyone would dance over me with joy. My childhood was the exact opposite and left me feeling that I wasn’t worth dancing over with joy. That’s a hard thing to overcome and something I struggle with daily.

    Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.
    I loved Kay’s definition of joy….and as I deal daily with a diagnosis of cancer (received just before Thanksgiving last year) I find that being joyful really is a choice. I go back and forth sometimes and find I have to keep choosing joy. But, I know that God is good and that all things work together for good. In Him I place my trust. None of us really knows how long we will be here on this earth but I do know that either way, I will have my Lord with me, either here on this earth, or in heaven.

  • Keri says:

    I personally loved viewing Jesus in another light. Seeing him as joyful was an eye opener for me and made me feel much closer to my God. 🙂

  • Sharon Lewis says:

    1. What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?

    I think the whole struggle is in my mind. The things I dwell on or the perspective with which I see my circumstances can hold me back from living a life of joy.

    2. What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?

    My husband uses this illustration that explains it well. If you shake a cup of water, water is what spills out. Whatever is in the cup is what spills out when it is shaken. Just like us. Our true selves are revealed when we are shaken in life. When I have been through struggles, I believe people see someone who takes awhile before she puts her total faith in God. They see someone who whines and becomes anxious at first before she determines to put all her trust in God. However, they will also see someone who is very strong and knows her God will not let her down. I have peace because I know He is going to see me through no matter what.

    3. 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?

    That verse in Scripture has been very comforting for me because I went through a phase that I worried that God is often disappointed in me. It has been an awesome revelation to realize that he rejoices over me. He takes pleasure in our relationship. I am His creation, and He enjoys who I am.

    4. Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.

    I enjoyed the thought of life as a railroad track. We experience joy and sorrow at the same time, and we must embrace both. The way I respond to difficult situations in life shows the world my true colors. I am honored to be a representative of Christ, and I see now my responsibility to choose joy for my life so that others will see Christ through me.

  • Ginger says:

    What holds me back from choosing joy is responsibility. When I think I have to get something done, I get stressed out because I don’t want to let my kids or husband down. I just don’t want anyone to see me as a failure. Then I start approaching things with seriousness and lack of joy. I’m an easygoing person, but I tend to take on too much and forget or refuse to delegate. Then I stop being that easygoing Pooh and become a a cross between Rabbit and Eeyore. I think I carry around the thought that if you want to be taken seriously, you have to be serious. That seems such an ugly thing now that I can read it.

    Joy is a gift of the spirit. It is offered to us and if we want it we must actively choose it. I need to remind myself of this. Loved when Kay said ” . . . joy starts with a new way of thinking that changes how we respond to trials in our lives.” I’ve said similar words to my clients, but never concerning joy. Love it! I don’t work with pay clients anymore, but I can definitely apply this to my life.

    There were several golden nuggets, just in Chapter 4. For instance, “Fallen man is both terrified of vulnerability and committed to maintaining independence.” Boy this really makes me feel like a toddler, but it’s so true.

  • Stephanie says:

    1. What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?
    My constant WANTS! I want a newer updated kitchen, I want new shoes, I want new clothes! UGH! It drives me crazy sometimes! I have to step back and find things that I am grateful for (like my millions of other shoes).
    2. What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    I will say that I do have peace in most situations. If something bad happens I tend to try to find the good in the situation. I attribute that to God because sometimes it’s really obscure things that are really hard to see.
    3. 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?
    I love the fact that God dances over me with joy! It reminds me of how I feel about my kids. Last year I drove an hour to sit outside of an room as my son competed in a math competition. I couldn’t even see what he was doing, but I was so excited that he had made it to the state level I didn’t mind. Afterwards we went out to celebrate! I’m sure I only felt half of the joy for my son that God feels for me. That’s what makes his joy for me so amazing!
    4. Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week
    I loved knowing that I’m not alone in my wants and using them to find “joy”. I thought I had a problem but now I know that I need to find my joy in God!

  • Laverne (Missy) says:

    From Session One (this past week) I have to say I felt validated to read Ms. Warren words on “Jesus, A Man of Joy”. Its not that I didn’t know it because the way He does things in my life it has made me smile and sometimes out right LOL .So many times I have said Jesus clowns His humor is refreshing, but to see somoene else say it I feel much better.

    In the past depending on the audience if I said such a thing folks would look at me with the expresion of OOoooo you gonna get in trouble. But not only does Jesus have a humor I totally believes He is conflict capable…LOL

    I believes Jesus laughs at how goofy I am and then cries with me when I worry about ALL sorts of silly things I know between Him and the Holy Spirit IT IS DONE!!!

  • Arlene says:

    #1 Sometimes when I am offended or I work hard at something and things don’t go accordingly, I let myself be robbed of Joy. Even when prayers are seemingly unanswered. This is why this study is so timely for my life!

  • Mala White says:

    1.What do you allow to hold you back from living a life of joy?

    Condemation!! (guilt) as I look at my life to determine why I dont allow joy in my heart ALL of the time, is my sense of judgement upon myself. Sometimes having a false thought that I shouldnt feel “happy” in times of trouble. Thats where im missing the gift. Happiness is to unstable a feeling for me!! Joy can be a constant. That is what im working toward.

    2.What does your faith-life reveal about the depth of your relationship with God?
    Oh…Im a work in progress the Lord tells me!!

    3.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?

    I look at the Lords feelings toward me in comparison to the way I love my own children. Fully understanding that his love for us is incomprehensable. When i think of my children, my heart dances with joy no matter their behavior or sinnful nature. So if Ifeel that way toward my children, imagine the joy the Lord has for us!!

    4.Share something you enjoyed from reading Choose Joy this past week.
    Im right smack in the midst of troubled circumstances. So for me this book and fellowship time could not have come at a better time! Every word is resonating with me.

  • Angie Searls says:

    Joy is contagious, Jesus was a man of Joy. I love when Jesus showed His joyful moments at party that people thought he’s drunk but no He’s spreading His Joy, laughter around people. I am working on memorize the meaning of Joy that in the book.

    • Laverne (Missy) says:

      @ Angie I am doing the same I just printed a few copies of it from Word and taped one copy on my board at work, and the others will go in my bible and devotion book. It is my plan to read it every morning and if I can use it as my signature tag in yahoo (hooe its not too many characters) I will…

      What a blessing huh?

    • Colette Hope says:

      3. 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?

      I definitely believe that God dances over me with joy. He loves me and accepts me even when I make mistakes. He keeps me and sustains me and takes pleasure in His children. Hebrews 12:2 states that Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him. It was a joy for Him to obey His Father and make the ultimate sacrifice to bridge the gap between us and His Father. I completely accept that God dances over me with joy and I have total joy because of that fact.

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