24 December 2020

Choosing Joy

Merry Christmas Eve, Chosen Family! Today on Coffee with Chosen, Stephanie reminds us of the importance of choosing joy every day.

 
 

Choosing Joy

 

Hello, I’m Stephanie Motes and welcome to Coffee with Chosen. Merry Christmas Eve to you and your families. This morning, I want to share a word with you about choosing joy. “Just choose joy”, have you ever heard that phrase and it sounded like nails on the chalkboard of your heart–good, I’m not the only one then. Those words make it sound so easy and it’s not. How is it humanly possible to choose joy with the kind of year that we’ve had? You may have seen and experienced great suffering this year and I think we all have to one degree or another, but even with all that I can assure you choosing joy is possible, not easy but possible.

So, what does it mean to choose joy? I’m glad you asked joy is different from the many emotions you may feel on any given day like happiness, sadness, excitement–emotions come and go but joy, joy is a lens through which we can view the world around us. Joy is not the absence of pain and suffering, but a conscious daily choice inside that pain and suffering, to change our focus from inward to outward.

Choosing joy doesn’t mean putting on a fake smile and pretending everything’s okay when sometimes they are clearly not. We have to decide to let go of things we can’t control, which is most things. Choosing joy means having compassion for others with all their strengths and challenges and for ourselves. Choosing joy also means letting go of fear and resting in love. Choosing joy means surrendering our expectations and ideas of what we thought life would—could—should look like and still choosing to be content in all circumstances knowing that bigger things are at work even if we may not be able to see them right now.

Choosing joy takes a lot of practice. It’s a habit that really takes our whole lives to master. I think on reading Henri Nouwen had it right, when he said, “Joy does not simply happen to us we, have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day…”. We here at Chosen pray that you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and that you can find the joy this season represents in the small things. The choice is yours.


Source: Stephanie Motes, MA, LPC-S, LMHC