“Jesus is the truth. Only he can give you the peace you crave” -Rich Wilkerson Jr.
Tis’ the season!
I love Christmas, and have been joyful preparing for my favorite day of the year since October (well, August…). There’s something about the rich scent of pine that fills a room, only illuminated by the lights on the tree that makes this season the most magical to me.
I didn’t always feel this way during the holiday season, and at times I still feel the sadness of Christmases past trying to sneak in and steal my joy. Memories of what was and no longer is, disappointments, and past tensions would desire to overtake my thoughts if only I would allow them.
In this moment, I approach an essential fork in the road: give way to the despair or choose joy.
Currently, I sit on a long overdue coffee date with Jesus. On these dates, I go to my favorite local coffee shop, order a delicious latte and a featured scone (it was weird…I wouldn’t recommend it), and journal or open God’s word to see what He would share with me today. It’s often the same process of spending time with God that I do at home, but there’s something so much more romantic to me about going out. Today, I opened to Psalm 37, which has inspired me to share with you the idea of choosing joy.
The first two words of the Psalm open with a clear command “Don’t worry…” (Psalm 37:1a NLT). As I seek how this applies to the choice I must make with the thoughts in my mind, it is clear the Psalmist has made the decision for me: choose joy.
I would never be so foolish as to say that it is so easy to make and stick to this decision. I know all too well the overwhelming, all consuming feeling of negative thoughts and memories determined to take over and control your mind, emotions, and actions. I believe David knew the same as he wrote this Psalm, because he did not stop with “Don’t worry,” but rather continued with applicable truths to winning the battle at hand.
As I read on, I found three major takeaways to help us choose joy when it’s the most difficult to do so:
- “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 37:7a NLT)
Oh, friend. If you are anything like me (super type A), then you understand that being still in the midst of turmoil can be so challenging. But, I love the Father’s heart in this command. I imagine God saying to us, as a loving father would, “Hang tight, kiddo. I’ve got this!” He takes the burden off of our shoulders, and takes on all the responsibility. We are only to be still.
- “Trust in the Lord, and do good;” (Psalm 37:3a NKJV)
In the midst of waiting and trusting on the Lord to act on our behalf, there’s something we should never stop doing: good. In the midst of waiting on God to bring our blessing, we can be a blessing. In the midst of choosing joy for ourselves, we can help bring that joy to others. Ask someone for coffee, write a note of appreciation, or offer to help wrap presents. These are some simple examples of the endless possible ways we can do good while we wait.
- “Delight yourself also in the Lord…” (Psalm 37:4a NKJV)
The source of our joy is Jesus. He’s the one who knows our inner thoughts, the longing of our hearts, and the pain of our past. He is worthy of all praise! In the car, at church, or getting ready for work, all present opportunities we can take to worship Jesus. He is where our hope comes from, and I believe that as we worship Jesus with total surrender, we cannot help but meet with joy. Verse 7 continues with “…and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
We don’t have to give way to the little, nasty joy thieves. We can call on our God, who is ready and willing to rescue us. We can choose joy!
Note: Check out all of Psalm 37 and Psalm 40 for more encouragement! Have a blessed holiday!