Some days we just need to choose joy because, let’s face it, many times we do not wake up with the bluebird of happiness on our shoulder; in fact, we could have a load of bird poop. Alas, life is tough, and we can easily get sucked into carrying the weight of the world if we do not make a conscious choice to focus on the good. I tend to be an optimist now that I am an adult but that was not the case when I was a child. Most of the people in my life were pessimists; therefore, I was trained to be a pessimist. However, I loved to read books all throughout my childhood, and the more I read about the rest of the world, the more I came to understand that my story could have many different endings. I discovered I could write a lot of my story on a day-to-day basis by making daily choices to look for joy. I did not have to live out my life the way I was taught as if I were a victim stuck in a storybook in which there was no way to exit. So, how does one look for joy on a daily basis? One way is a simple habit that involves choosing to look for things that make me smile and embracing them as gifts from God that I hold onto when I move through my day. By the end of the day, I know exactly what I am thankful for because I choose to hold onto each moment and meditate on those moments as the joy that carries me through my day. On one particular day, it might be sunflowers that made me smile, and I buy them because they make me smile. Or on another day it could be a text from a friend that says affirming words, a beautiful bird perched outside my window, or today it was a stop at a Goodwill store on my way to work to look for Legos (my never ending preoccupation). There were no Legos at the Goodwill store, but there was the Fisher Price farm set from my childhood; the old red and white barn that makes the sound of a cow mooing as you open the barn door. I opened the barn doors, and there were most of the contents of the farm; the little white fencing, the tractor, the tractor cart, the cow, and the horse. It was lovely to find and discover, and it made me smile, and I didn’t need to buy it to find joy. I only needed to delight myself in the discovery and savor my memories of playing with all my Fisher Price little people toys with my brother. And then I say to myself, “God, You show Your love to me in the strangest places, including Goodwill and I love You all the more for choosing to take the obscure and make me feel loved.” The Bible says that God is love, and wherever you feel healthy love, there He is there with you. When you focus on whatever is good you create a different ending to your day.
Philippians 4:8-9New International Version (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.