Choosing Joy

This past week has been a pretty difficult one for me and husband.  Maybe I’ll be able to talk about it in more detail someday, but not now. Anyways, I’m sure all of you have also gone through trying periods in your life – where you’ve felt deep insecurity about your work or school or relationships, suffered a loss, felt paralyzed and fearful, been lonely or hopeless, felt completely overwhelmed, etc.

When I was feeling really lonely and discouraged during my first semester of med school, a friend (John Lee, for those of you who knew him) shared some words with me about joy that I haven’t forgotten.  Here is the original email, and I hope that you can be encouraged by it as I have been over the years:

“The hard thing about ‘joy’ is that it’s often more of a choice than a feeling, and it can exist without the feelings in some strange way.  But, man, there are times when you wish the feelings of joy would also accompany the choice of joy.  No matter what happens, Eleasa, I hope you continue to choose joy when feelings and circumstances urge you to do otherwise. Happiness reacts to temporary events.  Joy remembers things that are permanent and do not change — His love for us experienced through His Word, His Spirit, and His people.  So I hope you choose to remember the things that last forever.  I will pray that you choose joy.”

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Cor 4:16-18

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10 thoughts on “Choosing Joy

  1. HUGS. Thank you for reminding me to choose joy today. Reminds me of that passage in Deuteronmy when God says to choose life. Praying that God grants you the strength to choose joy and the grace when it’s hard to choose. Regardless of the effort you can muster, it doesn’t change His love for you.

    • Yes, so true that all of this is despite our own efforts. So glad that God’s love doesn’t depend on us or what we do at all. Thanks for your prayers, Candy!

  2. 🙂 I love this post. Thanks for the reminder and for sharing those words of wisdom when it’s so difficult to make that choice. It’s one that needs to be chosen every moment of every day (and not just once). Love ya

    • I so agree that this is a daily/moment-by-moment choice. I’ve reread this email so many times as a reminder to myself about just that. Love you too Shann 🙂

  3. Great post, Eleasa. It moves me to pray for you and reminds me of good times with John Lee. It’s definitely hard to choose joy sometimes, and I am grateful that the gospel consistently reminds us that we are loved and God is faithful despite any circumstances in life. Love you, friend!

    • Cher-bear! I know, every time I read this it brings me to tears (usually because of circumstances and then because it reminds me of John Lee). Thanks so much for your prayers, Cheryl. We need to do another phone date sometime soon 🙂

    • I know, I have definitely treasured this email ever since it was written. Awesome that he is SUCH an encouragement, and now to many people, even now. Thanks so much for praying for us, Alice Anjo! Love you 🙂

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