A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to share in a farewell luncheon for a friend of mine. Her family was moving away. She made the comment that she was "choosing joy." She clearly wanted to remain where she was, but she believed that God was moving her on to another place, so she chose joy. She repeated the phrase over several times throughout the course of our luncheon, and it continued to echo in my mind for days afterward.
Of course, it is based on the passage in Philippians 4, which states:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (vv. 4-7) NIV
I have heard that the first part of this passage could be literally translated "Choose joy!" This idea echoed around in my head so long that I put words to paper concerning it. (There actually is a simple tune in my head too, but I don't have the skills to put that down anywhere.) (Since I have no training in this, I have instituted a strict no-money-back policy in this blog, so if you don't like my poor attempt at poetry, you're out of luck! ) Here's what I wrote:
When hope eludes
When sin intrudes
You give joy
I see God’s grace
I seek His face
I choose joy
I choose ‘not me’
I know I’m free
I sing joy
You who give joy in the trials
You who offer hope for the miles
I thank You, I praise You, I cannot believe
That You chose my heart, that You came to me
When life is sad
Or makes me mad
I choose joy
My day is hard
When I am scarred
I have joy
I want all You
You chose me too
You give joy!
You who give strength for this journey
You who alone are praise-worthy
I love You, I worship, I offer my all
And in adoration fall...and choose joy!
I am captured by the thought of choosing joy. I am trying to wrap my brain around the idea of choosing what is often the antithesis of where I am. But I suppose that makes perfect sense in a way: It goes back to the idea of a God/relationship of contradiction. (If you haven't read that blog from a couple of days ago, you really don't know what I mean. This is meant in all the best ways. Please go back and read that piece.) Isn't that part of the beauty of His strength? I can be, do, behave, think in ways that are completely opposite my 'natural' responses! How beautiful His way is, isn't it? How truly free we are in Christ!