How We Feel is up to Us, Choose JOY


We finished our week at church as we do most weeks.  Our pastor asked us how our week was and I really had to think about how to describe it.  

We had a week with a lot of mixed emotions.  Our week was:  my dad had minor surgery, our grandson is healing from an ear infection with an allergic reaction to his antibiotics, we learned of the death of one of my dad’s friends, a cousin announced she was expecting, Doug spent Saturday fishing with our son for a stag,  our daughter threw a surprise baby shower for a friend, the daughter of friends of ours passed away and she was only 21, we learned of a new baby born to another friend who had a tough pregnancy, and that was just the large emotional events.  As I was recalling all of these events, our pastor continued to explain that regardless of what happened, how we felt was up to us and we should choose JOY.

Oh, my that was very powerful for me.  There were moments of sheer joy this week and then moments of sheer pain.  I had moments of so much anxiety and then such relief.  But in the end, with so many different feelings, I was left just whirling.  So I decided that I was going to choose my emotions for this coming week before anything happened and see how I responded.

I have always been a firm believer that you can choose whether you will have a good time at something or not.  When my kids used to groan about going to something or doing something that they didn’t want to do, I would tell them that they were going to have a good time if they chose to.  If you enter an event with the attitude that you will have a lousy time, then you will get just what you expected.  If you want to have a good time, you will find the joy in that event and you will have a good time.

It comes down to how you choose to look at things.  Are you that glass half empty kind of person or a glass half empty kind of person?  I really think that there is another kind of person.  The kind of person that sees that there isn’t a top on the glass and so you can fill it or empty it, if you want, you get to choose.

I am not going to sit here and tell you that it is really just that simple because it is not always that simple.  But, we don’t always have weeks with such turmoil.  Most of us have such bland weeks that they tend to blend into each other and all of a sudden an entire season has passed and it was just a blur.  So if we actually are having a time where there is nothing spectacular going on, then choose Joy.  Make your time filled with joy.  It may take a little practice like anything else, but it will always be worth it.

I have always played ball.  I started as a girl of twelve and over the years have played slow pitch, fast pitch, orthodox pitch, on teams that were really stressful because the win was the only thing that mattered and teams where the drunker the players were, the better they played.  I have played in rec leagues and church leagues. I have played with people the same age as my kids, with my kids, with people a lot older than me, with people I had never met, and people that my friends were on the other team.  This week I played with some people that had been playing together for four years and I learned how truly patient I needed to be.  They had in all that time never actually won a game.  Oh boy.  But, all I wanted to do was play.  Just play.  So I did.  There were so many errors that I couldn’t even count, but these were the most fun people to be around.  

  • I chose Joy.  
  • Hooray, it was not raining.  
  • Hooray, I got to play again.  
  • Hooray, the other team was all young enough to be my kids, and we still played.  
  • Hooray, we actually scored against them.  
  • Hooray, I actually hit well.  
  • Hooray, nobody got hurt.  
  • JOY.  

You can find it in anything if you look.

So this week, focus on Joy.  It may take a little work.  Some of us are going through some really tough stuff.  But, Joy can be found in even the smallest detail.  Remember that your mind can’t tell the difference between a fake smile and a real one, so just smile and you may feel the Joy that you want.

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. – Nhat Hanh


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