Year of Calling: Choose Joy

 

Week 35 Word: Choose Joy

Week 35 Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Written By: Carrie Flener

 

“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16 NLT)

 

The past four years have been really hard.

 Our family has moved around the country several times for my husband’s job. Four years ago, God brought us to Kansas City. We were so thrilled to be closer to family again and be back in the Midwest.  

 You might look at my life and say, “Well, Carrie, what is so hard about your life? Everything seems to be going fine!” Yes, that is true. Life is really great, actually. But, I recently realized that I was letting my perspective and attitude steal my joy.

 My husband is a TV anchor and reporter, so he works crazy hours – always has. But, our kids are also at the ages when they are involved in activities at night and are both physically and emotionally needy (especially at bedtime 😉).

 The attitude I have had toward this schedule is horrible. Looking back now, I can see the power I gave it. Yes, of course I want my husband home all the time. But I was looking to our schedule and my husband’s presence to make me happy…to fulfill me.

 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 I had lost sight of THE ONE from whom I get my fulfillment. Instead of rejoicing in the midst of my circumstances (because I do have SO MUCH to be grateful for!), I was focused on the ONE thing that was hard. Instead of praying through the hard, I was trying to control it and use my own strength to get through. And, instead of thanking God for all He’s doing in and through me, I was questioning Him on why He had to make this so difficult.

 You see, friend, I realized recently that, yes, these past four years have been hard. But I have made them harder because I chose to focus on the hard instead of choosing joy.

 Nehemiah 8:10b says: Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.

 I don’t know what’s hard in your life. I do know that God has put something in your life to drive you into His arms, to rely on His strength. It won’t be easy, and the obstacles in your life are still challenging. But our joy and strength can only be found in Him.  

 My daughter recently went through a period where she struggled with anxiety. We would meditate on verses that talk about worry, anxiety, and trusting in the Lord. Our mantra became “don’t let worry steal your joy.” One night she was listening to the Christian radio station and heard a new song. You probably have heard this song too, but when we heard it for the first time, it felt like a little gift…

 When the valleys that I wander
Turn to mountains that I can climb
Oh, you are with me, never leave me
Oh, ’cause there ain’t nothing, there ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy

I got an Old Church Choir singing in my soul
I got a sweet salvation and it’s beautiful
I’ve got a heart overflowing ’cause I’ve been restored
There ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy
No, there ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy

 

 (“Old Church Choir” by Ethan Hulse, Zach Williams, Colby Wedgeworth )

 

Application Questions :

1. What is one area of your life that you are letting fear, worry or your attitude get in the way of experiencing joy?

2. What is holding you back from surrendering that over to God?