Are your circumstances stealing your joy? Despite what we see and feel we can choose joy. And when we do, we will see just how powerful our choice can be!

What Happens When You Choose Joy

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We make literally hundreds to thousands of choices daily, many of which impact our future. We may not even be aware of their effect in the moment.

But choices are powerful.

One of mine, in particular, has had a lasting impact not only in my life but many others.

I chose joy.

A cloak of grief and sadness covered my life. I lost both Mom and Grandma within weeks of each other and it sent me reeling. After a year or so of navigating the heartache, I longed to be free of sadness. My life was ahead of me with a young family who I needed and needed me.

So, I chose joy.

At the time, I didn’t recognize it as joy as much as choosing to let go of negative. I was tired of grief and regret and craved happier. I chose to purposefully seek positive.

When younger, my glass skewed half-empty with negative go-to reactions and worry as the norm. But in my twenties, I had shifted to being more positive. It was a willful choice, but soon I was seeing the world as half full.

Then in a blink, the two most influential women in my life were gone.

It was a deep, bruising blow and revived my negative nature.

In the midst of their brief illnesses, my nurse mentality kicked into hyperdrive. I was busy navigating, treating, educating and helping them both.

Only at the end of Mom’s brief battle did I allow myself to truly be present simply as her daughter.

How I regret not doing this sooner.

Precious time spent managing could have been spent being meaningfully present.

This regret only compounded my grief.

But God and time helped me to again seek positive.

I knew then and even more fully now, how God was always present; speaking, acting, and moving me to seek and accept His joy.

Now, I truly believe our joy comes from God and He offers it to us as a sacred gift.

Accepting His gift and choosing joy amid my heartache seemed like a small step, but its impact has been profound.

In the ten plus years since, countless other choices brought joy not only to my life but also to others. Medically serving others across the world, rediscovering my love for writing, and finding a new career path are just some of the opportunities that arose because I chose joy.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Joy is a gift from God we choose daily.” quote=”Joy is a gift from God we choose daily.”]

The apostle Paul puts it this way:

“Always be joyful.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16 (NLT)

We all have issues, turmoil, or strife in our lives.

Are your circumstances stealing your joy? Despite what we see and feel we can choose joy. And when we do, we will see just how powerful our choice can be!

How we respond to these twists in our life roads matter.

We can choose to wallow in the negative or embrace the positive. We can choose to see life as empty regrets or see the fullness of His joy in every moment.

Psalm 30:11 (NLT) summarizes my experience:

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy”

In my darkest moments, I always knew His presence and strength. This strength helped me choose joy and I pray it will help you too.

I’ve learned some things about choosing God’s joy, no matter our circumstance:

  1. The joy of the Lord is our strength. There’s a great song on a loop in my head and its volume raises when choosing joy seems difficult. I grab onto His strength, belt out the song and choose joy!
  2. The joy of the Lord is eternal. Things, issues, and problems of this world are temporal. God’s joy is lasting. Grab hold now and forever.
  3. The joy of the Lord is available to all believers. Jesus’ death and resurrection secured it. It’s our choice to accept this gift and live in it daily.
  4. The joy of the Lord is strengthened by prayer. I can be as simple as one word uttered in a dark moment, but prayers to our God are never wasted. They only serve to strengthen our resolve to choose Him and His joy in every moment.

Our life choices have lasting consequences. Choosing God’s joy in any circumstance can have eternal impact, not only for ourselves but many around us.

Don’t wait. Accept the gift. Make the choice and choose joy.

About the Author:

Jill Hoven is a nurse who loves to write faith-based encouragement on wellness in soul, mind, and body. She is the founder of MemoryMinders providing memory wellness services to motivated adults. When not cheering her teens at sporting events, she can be found golfing, cooking or by the water. Her writing has been published by Proverbs 31 Ministries and can be found on her blog Follow His Footprints Connect with her on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.



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  1. We so easily forget that we have a choice. Thank you for this reminder.

  2. Thanks Alisa for sharing my words with your readers, what an honor to share how I found joy in the midst of my heartache and how it’s changed everything!

    1. I so appreciate you, Jill! Your authenticity and the truths you discovered were so valuable! I know this has helped many women to choose joy in the midst of the hard!

      1. Thanks Alisa! I love how God always uses all things for His good (Romans 8:28 is a favorite verse of mine). I pray He will continue to allow me to share His messages in my life. Thanks for the opportunity!

  3. Amen, Jill! Joy is a gift but we have to choose to “unwrap it and use it”! It changes our outlook on the world, our lives, and how we respond to them. Thank you for a great post!

    1. Thanks Esther, it DOES change our outlook on the world! Here’s to more joy!

  4. Great words of encouragement Jill, and so grateful it is never too late!

  5. I agree, joy is a choice and can be found even in the midst of great pain. You also gave me an amazing thought for the week ahead of me. It is easy to lose our role in the middle of caregiver. I do wear many hats but I think this week I am going to make sure I am being Mom, just mom..thank you for that reminder.

    1. Life is about seasons and priorities and yes, when we find those moments when we need to choose one over another or in a greater portion, that can bring us and others great joy! Thanks Maree Dee!

  6. Jill, I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability more than you know! My heart shattered when my dad died. Yet, as hard as that was, I can’t even imagine the sorrow when my mom dies. She’s 93 and the thought of losing her has terrified me for years. Your post brings me hope and reminds me that I won’t go through that time alone. “I knew then and even more fully now, how God was always present; speaking, acting, and moving me to seek and accept His joy.” Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Thanks Marlene-Even in the midst of the pain and heartache, I was always so aware of God’s presence with me and my family through it all. What a comfort in my hardest place to be able to find His joy. Thanks for your thoughts!

  7. So good, Jill. Just that mental shift of remembering it’s a choice makes all the difference, doesn’t it? And, it’s a such a worthy choice. Love your emphasis on the eternal aspect of joy and on joy being strengthened through prayer. Beautiful words today, friend, thanks for sharing. And, thank you Alicia for being a sweet host to Jill today. ((hug))

  8. Thank you for sharing your heart. To be thankful in the difficult times illustrates our trust in God. When we trust and believe, He will comfort us. I need to remind myself in the storms of life to remain steadfast and hold onto my joy. Thank you for the encouragement today!

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