Joy. What is it exactly? Many view joy as just another word for “happiness,” but any Christian who has suffered significant losses in their life would know that a Christian’s joy runs much deeper than mere happiness. Rick Warren defines joy as “the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.” Choosing joy happens in two ways. First, you must be willing to live joyfully despite circumstances, and second, you must choose to live joyfully.
My guest, Dawn Barton, knows what it’s like to have to make a conscious decision to choose joy. Dawn has a story that would have caused many to lose all hope and give up on joy. From losing a child to being raped to battling cancer, Dawn could have quickly fallen into a deep depression and never climbed out again. But that’s not what happened. Her story didn’t stop there. Dawn worked hard to climb her way to the #7 top salesperson in Mary Kay. Then, unexpectedly, she felt God calling her to take a step back from the career she had poured so much into to write a book. That choice wasn’t easy. Dawn learned that sometimes the thing you think you would be doing for the rest of your life is only what God intended you to do for a season, to prepare you for the next season.
The word “joy” tends to conjure up images of everything in your life being perfect, and all your plans and dreams being fulfilled. But that’s not where joy is most readily found. It is far more often hardships that lead you to find true, abiding joy. Finding joy will take effort and energy, but when you gear up for it, it never fails to bless you. Dawn’s remarkable story of overcoming pain and loss is an inspiration to us to shift our attention away from our problems and difficulties and redirect them to a loving God who is the essence of joy.
Choosing joy means letting go of things you can’t control. Holding on to those things will only bring misery, sadness, resentment, and anger–and God never intended us to live that way. You must get to a place where you choose joy. You must make a habit of looking past your current circumstances and focusing on the bigger picture. As you listen to today’s episode, I want to encourage you not to wait for things to get clearer, more comfortable, or convenient but to make the decision every day to choose joy so that you can live a life that you love.
Highlights from Today’s Episode:
- Choosing joy in painful circumstances
- Trusting in God’s direction
- Navigating change
- Responding to God’s calling
Resources from today’s show
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After you’ve listened to the podcast, I’d love to continue the conversation. Be sure and leave a comment!
- Have you ever experienced pain so deep you weren’t convinced joy was possible? If so, how did you overcome that situation?
- What are some ways you choose joy daily?
- What do you do when you don’t feel like choosing joy?
- How can you encourage others to choose joy?
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