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  • Writer's pictureJamie Holden

May 4 Bible Reading Plan

Have you ever noticed that some Christians seem to be unhappy about everything?

Whatever the circumstances, they are miserable.

They are constantly angry, upset, and annoyed.

Like sulky teenagers, they are always too cool for school. Even though they may have many things that others can only dream of having, they don’t seem to enjoy them. Everything is a hassle…too much bother.

Others want to play the victim in every situation. No matter the circumstances, they are the Debbie Downer who tries to drag everyone down with them. Consistently angry, they love to share their misery and try to drag you into it.

Whenever I run into people like this, I have to admit that my first thought is always, “Dear God, please don’t let me be that way.”

It’s a choice I made years ago, primarily because I had someone in my life who always acted this way. They were miserable on every holiday and every celebration, whether the situation was good or bad. And they loved to share their lack of joy.

As I entered adulthood and realized that my life would not follow my carefully sketched-out plan, I realized I had a choice. I could choose to whine about everything, or I could choose to enjoy the life God gave me. I could focus on the negative or extract every piece of joy I could from every situation in life.

I determined in my heart I would choose joy. I don’t regret it.

I’ve learned that when you choose to enjoy each moment, you start to feel joyful.

Over the years, I’ve learned you can choose your attitude about many things.

You can unhappily focus on everything you don’t have, or you can choose to enjoy what you do.

You can dread a big job or project or find a way to make it fun.

Even in the most challenging times, laughter really is the best medicine.

You can focus on the negative, the nasty, the drama, and the angry mob, or you can turn on the radio and sing along.

Admittedly, it’s a choice that has to be made over and over again.

Just recently, I once again found myself at a crossroads. Because of truly difficult circumstances, I was tempted to fall into the trap of wallowing in misery. I was truly unhappy with the direction God chose, and I was sliding into the depths of despair.

Then I eavesdropped on some of my conversations (you know you can do that) and heard someone I didn’t like on the other end. I was complaining too much. I was feeling too sorry for myself. Focusing on the negative rather than choosing joy, I didn’t even like myself.

It was time to make a change, so I did. I purposely chose to change my attitude. I forced myself to have some fun. (Sometimes, you have to do that.)

The more I changed my attitude, the easier it became to fall back into the habit of being joyful.

That’s the thing about joy—it doesn’t happen automatically. You have to choose to put it on like a piece of clothing. You have to want it.

If you wait until every circumstance is perfect, every relationship is mended, your bank account is full, you have everything you want, everything is going your way, and nothing in your body or heart hurts, you’ll always be miserable.

You find joy when you choose that no matter the circumstances, you will get the most out of it, enjoy it, and have fun.

That’s why you’ll often see Adessa and me celebrating the little things. We dress up for Christmas, Independence Day, and even Election Day. We create silly traditions like sitting on the back porch listening to music. We have contests and play games like “Who can do it the best” when working on projects. We laugh at our silliness and openly share our failures so others can have a good laugh.

It’s our way of choosing joy so we can be joy-filled people who fulfill their calling of being a light in a dark world. Because news flash: no one will be drawn to Jesus by miserable, always angry Christians. Why would they want to be constantly unhappy, too?

But joy is contagious. It draws people in. It makes them ask, “How can I be like him?” and gives you the opportunity to share Jesus. That’s the most important reason to choose joy.

Plus, you are obeying the Bible, which is a good thing.

So, my encouragement today is to obey the Bible and choose joy!

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.” (1 Peter 1:6, NLT)

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, NLT)

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