Behind my smiling facade there’s a struggle happening.
I can’t even say it’s a fierce struggle, because that would suggest passion behind it all.
Instead, it’s a struggle of apathy.
It’s a word we associate with the holiday season, for sure. We sing songs about it and hang ornaments on our tree that proclaim it. We overlay the word on our holiday photos.
Joy seems to surround us, at the same time never infusing us.
What is joy, exactly? The dictionary says it’s the intense pleasure brought by something deeply valued or appreciated. That’s a good definition, but it’s missing a crucial aspect.
Joy is a choice, not a feeling.
Stop and think about that for a minute. Joy is like love. It doesn’t depend on our emotions, our circumstances, or our results.
We have joy because we choose to have joy.
During this season, maybe you are struggling to find joy like I am. My struggles stem from this being one of the most intense seasons in ministry. It’s far too easy for me to get caught up in the doing and miss the opportunities to cultivate joy. Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, and the darkness and heaviness of your loss is pushing away the light of the season. Maybe it’s been so long since you’ve experienced joy you’ve forgotten what it looks like.
The choice is yours.
You can continue to march right through the season, observing joy around you while never allowing it to dwell in you. You can put your head down and just get it all done, missing the joy that is right in front of you.
Or you can change.
You can choose to find joy in your every day.
You can put up the decorations, and know they are no longer hiding your apathy, but displaying your heart. You can choose the gifts and dwell on the impact they will have instead of simply checking it off your list. You can enjoy the parties and the traditions and the hustle and bustle because you can see past the actions themselves and into the significance.
Joy is where you look for it.
Gratitude is a great place to start the search.
When I am thankful – despite my feelings, I will find joy – despite my circumstances.
Where is your joy?