Today I will choose joy!

So a week or so ago this was the scenario on a Sunday morning:

We got up in time to be on time, but there was a hair snaffoo, a kid that only ate a banana for breakfast, it had snowed, and dress shoes were forgotten. And we were late…. again! Adam dropped us off at the door and we ran into church 10 minutes late for the girls to all sing at service. As I dropped them off at their practice before hand and gathered their coats and boots I walked past a window. It had a sticker that shouted “Today I will choose joy!” It’s amazing how God speaks to us in the most unsuspecting ways with the most interesting situations. That caused me to stop and immediately begin to evaluate my life. Nothing new. I’ve heard it a million times. But today was different.

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The Bible says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” James 1:2. Joy is a choice and I have to say I don’t always choose joy.  The word contentment also comes to mind frequently. I can’t change the circumstances but I can change how I react and I have been convicted of that lately. I’m also learning if I can’t find joy in a particular activity or commitment that maybe it’s time to give up that activity or commitment. And it’s ok to do that with no hard feelings. I’ve been squeezed a lot lately and don’t like what’s been coming out. Sure we all get mad and upset at times, but it shouldn’t be the norm. How do I take care of myself and set good boundaries or let things go so that I can be joyful? Or maybe it’s more a matter of prayer and conscience effort on a daily basis?

Adam and I have had this conversation a lot lately. Here is another scenario. For some reason, I have never really enjoyed the holidays. They make me crabby and frankly I’d be ok with skipping them. Add to the fact that last year we miscarried our fourth baby and lost my mom right before thanksgiving and it just doesn’t feel like the joyous, wonderful time of the year it should. Both my parents are gone now and we haven’t regularly celebrated with my side of the family. Adams family goes in many directions and we celebrate with them, but not on Christmas Day. So I wondered what we should do. I lamented to Adam that I had a vision of what I wanted Christmas to look like. Adam simply said, “Then make it that way!” He was right. What do I have to lose? Why sit here and complain when I can take action and make things the way I want them to be! I can be grumpy about the holidays each year they come up or I can make a choice and do something about it. So I chose Joy! Its funny how when you change your attitude the whole world changes before your eyes.

So for Thanksgiving we went to Michigan to visit our close friends and enjoyed hanging out there. The week leading up to Christmas we have planned with fun family activities. We have started traditions of game nights on Christmas Eve after church and opening gifts as a family Christmas morning. We also celebrate St. Nicks Day.

When life starts squeezing you, what will you respond with? What do you want your holidays to look like? Envision them. Write them down. Don’t stop there. Execute!

Jessica

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