Friday, February 05, 2010

Choosing joy

Boy, I've been quite the happy camper over the past week or two, haven't I? It is so easy to fall into the habit of complaining and worrying. I'm particularly prone to worry. If I were Anne Shirley, I would most likely call it my besetting sin. It's as if I believe somewhere deep down, that if I worry about something enough, I can stop it from happening...that to not worry shows distinct irresponsibility. The rational part of my brain knows this is ridiculous, but it is often shouted down by my more irrational side.

But, worrying is really merely symptom of a much larger problem. I believe it shows a fundamental lack of faith. If I say I believe God will take care of me, but continue to worry, do I really believe that God will do as He says? Of course, the other side to this is will I like how God chooses to take care of me? I know I do not always know what is best for me, but am I going to like what is best, at least in the short-term? Recently I have been feeling like a small child, alternately pouting and raging at my Father trying to get what I want. And the ridiculous part is that I'm not even sure what it is I want. I know I want us to be out from under these grinding taxes. But I'm not sure I really want that bad enough to give up this house. But often the house itself is a huge source of worry....leaking roof, bad plaster because of leaking roof, bathroom which needs to be reconnected to the water source, two third floor rooms which are completely uninhabitable, the list could go on and on. Do we really want to spend all our extra income on a house? I go back and forth. One day I'm ready to call the realtor. The next day I think there must be some way to come up with the extra money because I can't imagine living somewhere else. But the day after that, I'm thinking perhaps moving to another part of the country might be exciting. Sometimes this process happens hour by hour instead of day by day. Let's just say I'm not doing a very good job of waiting patiently for the Lord. I know that at some point He will incline to me and hear my cry, but we're evidently still in the waiting patiently part of the verse.

Since whining, pouting, and worrying have not been overly successful, I guess I will have to move on to a more Scriptural way to deal with my anxiety and worry. I have a friend who uses a great line when faced with less than desirable situations. She will announce, "I'm going to choose joy." I'm learning that like love, joy is more than just how one feels. It is a conscious choice to act and behave in a certain way. So, I will take a page from her book and I'm going to choose joy and thankfulness. I am going to try and focus on all the things I have to be joyful and thankful about every time the panic I have about the future threatens. At the beginning, this could be a fairly constant process.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

2 comments:

Jena said...

ask a "chooser of joy" myself- when I really get down to it- I am grateful that joy have NO-THING to do with circumstances. Because circumstances may honestly, ALWAYS be difficult at best, and truthfully horrific at worst.
When I am walking in joy it is a gift(fruit) of the Holy Spirit because I choose it.

LawMommy said...

I'm losing someone who might as well be my father right now, and it is a horrible and painful and wretched thing. I am angry with God and the universe, at the gross injustice that is this cancer that is eating him alive.

What strikes me in your post is this: J~ (my uncle/father-figure/boss, the one who is fighting this wretched disease) chooses joy every day. He has chosen joy every day of his life, and even now, as he lies in a hospital bed covered with tubes and IVs - he chooses joy. His joyful spirit cannot be beaten down by this. This joy seems to come to him naturally - it is his natural state of being.

The only thing I can hope to take from this horrible time of watching him fight...is to figure out how to choose joy like he chooses joy.

I'm not sure if any of this makes sense. I'm not really functioning very well right now. But I'm glad you wrote this.

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