How often have we heard that “joy is a choice”? Yet how often have we tried to be joyful only to discover it only lasts and long as we are trying hard to make it so. Trying to “produce” joy through verbal confession can feel manufactured and artificial especially if we pause long enough to honestly assess the deep turmoil going on in our soul. What we soon discover is joy often remains on the surface of things and is quickly lost for lack of diligence on our part. And yet…choosing is the beginning step to true joy.
I believe joy does begin with a choice…a choice not to pursue joy itself but a choice to embrace and delight in what God is doing. This doesn’t mean that what God is up to is safe or comfortable. It does mean to choose that God’s ways are higher than our and God deals with us according to his compassion and great love for us. True joy is always be firmly grounded in the reality of God’s love.
For example, look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. God “showed up” in an unexpected, unsolicited, disruptive way in her life. Big time. This wasn’t the life she’d hoped for but the life she was given. Once she embraced and even delighted in God’s working in her life, her joy was no longer a “choice” but the fruit of an overflow of God’s grace. Have you read the Magnificent of Mary? Pure, unforced joy.
So come to find out…joy comes not from getting life fixed but from embracing the life we have been given and delighting in the mysterious, creative, sometimes maddening, ways of the One who calls us the Beloved .