The times in my life I’ve been the most joyful, it hasn’t really been a choice.
It has been against my will.
People say that love is a choice and I’m confident that’s true. And I guess that joy can be a choice in the same way. For example, I choose joy over self-pity, happiness over sullenness and delight over disdain.
Yes, sometimes joy is a choice.
But more often for me, joy has often been a symptom.
This is the kind of joy when the lady in the candle store asks me why I’m smiling. The kind of joy that makes me truly care about how the barista’s afternoon is going. This kind of joy oozes and bubbles over but not in a way that makes you bite your back teeth because it’s too sweet. No, because it’s real.
It’s part of me.
This is the kind that remains even when I know that my husband is wrong, when I have a difficult morning with my preschooler, when I’m alone, left out, and broken.
Joy is a symptom of the heart.
It’s like when a baby laughs and her whole face carries the joke – as if she doesn’t know what else to do with her smile. It has to erupt through her face because her heart is laughing.
That kind of joy doesn’t come easily. It’s not as simple as a choice.
It comes with the hard work spent devoting a heart in submission to God. It comes with the discipline of waking up each morning and handing over a selfish life to a God who desires selflessness. Joy like this is a symptom, an overflowing of a heart that walks in close intimacy with a Creator.
I have to be honest and say that I don’t have that kind of joy today. But I remember what it feels like. I remember what the smile tastes like on my lips and I remember what made my heart leap.
I can choose joy for right now, but to have it in a lasting way I must mend my heart.
Joy comes from,
A heart that is solid.
A heart that is directed toward heaven and not earth.
A heart that seeks the best from each day.
Joy can be a choice. But the best joy is the symptom of a heart that’s full of it.What do you think? Do you agree?