Thursday, September 6, 2012

Choosing Joy

We've all heard it or some variation of it, it's all in Your attitude.  It's not the outcome of a situation that decided how you will feel it's your choice to have a certain Reaction to it.  Just choose to be happy, to have a good attitude, to be happy with your surroundings, to be happy with your circumstances no matter what they are.  And that is 100% true, but like so much else it is so much easier to preach it than practice it.  I went to a women's luncheon at my church the other day, I felt pregnant, fat, huge, irritated, edgy, I wanted to stay home and sleep because I was so tired but I went...and no things did not get better as it progressed I got even more irritated and I'm pretty sure I was sending off waves that said "no really...stay away from me".  I didn't feel better once I went it just wasn't happening I was counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds till I could leave.

Then the speaker came up to talk, and in true-to-myself-fashion I pulled out a notebook to take notes.  It doesn't matter if I didn't like what she was saying or just couldn't care less I am a note keeps me from being bored and gives me something to do with my hands.  Anyway she started talking about 'choosing joy' and I'm sure they could hear my eyes roll in Japan at that point...because she proceeded to talk about their home up in the beautiful mountains, it's a huge rustic cabin on 10 acres over looking a lake that could bring you to your knees it's so beautiful, she then spoke of how she even got to redecorate it all to her liking from top to bottom.  So now I am deep in the 'my life is so much worse than yours' game in my head.  I'm thinking...the Top 5 reasons why my life sucks and you have no clue
  1. My husband is unemployed and it's killing him because he's trying so hard
  2. Our unemployment is almost up and I'm pregnant
  3. We live in a 125 sq ft home anytime I need to pee at night *which I am pregnant so it's all the time* I have to walk across the yard and go into my parents house.
  4. We would LOVE to live in the mountains but we won't ever be able to.  Because we are my brother's care takers if anything ever happens to one or both of my parents and with their disabilities they couldn't handle moving.
  5. The Army reserve guy found a way to screw my husband out of some money he had coming to we NEED right now.
Now you'd think this would be the part where she goes on to tell of her trails that would just shock all of us, the horrible things she went through and it would totally put me in my place.  Nope.  She was just straight up unhappy with all of that.  Dissatisfied.  Nothing made her feel the sense of fulfillment she was craving, that really we all crave.  But then something happened, I realized I really wanted to stop feeling so bitter.  I wanted to stop feeling unhappy.  I wanted to stop before I got myself into a depression and got bogged down in self pity...because once you go there it's almost impossible to get yourself out again.  So I stopped focusing on the woman at the front of the church and stopped thinking of her life and my life and started just listening to what she was saying.  I really opened myself up to it and I really liked what I heard.  Here are just some of the points she made that really hit home for me.

  1.  No matter what happens you can choose to rejoice in it, and you will be all the better for it!
  2. Be thankful for every single problem, it is a gift from God a testament to how much he Knows you can handle because our Lord does not give us more than we can take
  3. Don't ever make a decision based on feelings.
  4. Have an eternal perspective not an earthly perspective.  Get your priorities in order!
  5. When you're feeling discontent, when you find yourself complaining Stop focusing on yourself!  Deliberately think of other things.
  6. And if you and your spouse are dealing with a trial, tell each other "I hope this trial brings us closer together and closer to God"

And here are two of the beautiful verses that really stuck out to me.

Habakuk 3:17-18 "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will Rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation."

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; of there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." 

So then I decided to come up with some counter-reasons to the ones I'd made earlier in my head.  Of why my life is wonderful, I mean I have everything I need and really so much more!  Who am I to complain about what the Lord sees fit to give me?  It's not enough to thank him for every blessing he bestows on us but we also need to thank him for every single trial.

  1. Since my husband isn't working it's enabling us to spend the time together we were never able to in the Army, we met online talked for 4months got married he left a week later, deployed, for 3years we barely saw each other and weren't able to talk that much.  Now we're together every day and it is wonderful.  Also it's in the Lord's hands when he gets a job.  God has a plan for him and a perfect job picked out it just won't come in our time it will come in His time.  Nothing like learning a little patience!
  2. We can still try and file for an extension on our unemployment, and if that doesn't work at least we have our insurance paid for.  And I thank the Lord everyday that I am pregnant and that our little one is healthy and strong.
  3. Our little home is PAID for!  And we are living near my parents which is a huge blessing for everyone involved.  We have so much taken care of and provided for us, we're living on the ranch I've grown up on...really I wouldn't know how to call anything else 'home'.
  4. And yes we would love to live somewhere else, but I wouldn't trade my brothers, my blessings, for anything in the world.  I love them so much sometimes it feels like they're just as much my children as my mom's it's not a chore taking care of them or providing for them it's a gift from God that he gave to our family.  Everyday we get to see and experience the blind faith of a child that God tells us we should have.  Those boys teach me so much.  I'd give up a million big houses in beautiful places to get the privilege of being able to be here on the ranch with them.
  5. Well we may not have the money we should've gotten, but we have health insurance and we got it just in time to find out I was pregnant...God always provides.

So that was just my experience with 'choosing joy' have you ever had one?  Have you had a hard time lately choosing to be happy?  It's not always easy but it really is always worth it.  I hope whoever is reading this has the Lord present in their life because really that is the only way to get the sense of contentment we all crave. Have a blessed day ♥

 Linking up with Royal Daughter Designs


Jane said...

I love this post! I definitely think we choose to be happy and thankful. There are so many times in my life I found myself down and then realizing it was over silly things. And, I could either be sad about them and life, or I could choose to be happy in spite of them. Life happens either way. It's definitely better to live it happy.

Malisa Price said...

It's funny that you wrote a post on contentment too! Rewriting the struggles in your life and looking at the positive aspect of them is something I need to do. I'm curious if that took a long time to figure out?

Also, thanks so much for sharing the process you went through in choosing joy!

Adam & Jasmine Zickefoose said...

As always my dear, I am so blessed to read your words, especially when it relates to finding joy. I tend to sometimes find myself in the same situation as you. I tend to not be getting much from a speaker, but it's my own fault. I'm focusing on stupid things that don't matter about THEM, and not listening to what they SAY! I love how you shared your process. It's a good thing to recount one's blessings, especially when they are opposing your complaints! Love you and this post! :D

Amanda said...

What an incredible reminder - thank you so much! I am all about playing the "Glad game" (finding a reason to be thankful even when somethings are not going our way). Thanks so much for linking up, and for speaking truth!

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