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  • Gladys Childs

Creating a Storehouse of Joy

Joy is my favorite word. Many years ago, I watched Oprah as she talked with Kate Hudson. Oprah mentioned how Kate seemed joyful and enthusiastically embraced each project she worked on. Kate stated her mom, Goldie Hawn, made it a point to focus on joy. I remember thinking that if I had a child, I would concentrate on joy too.

When my son, Scott, was born, I couldn’t wait to teach him about choosing joy. I selected Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) as our family verse. I began singing him a song about the fruits of the spirit so he could learn them: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” As Scott grew, we often spoke of joy. Every morning I would ask him who was full of joy today, and we would race each other to see whose hand could shoot up in the air the fastest. He would say, “Mom, look! My toes are so full of joy they can’t stop moving.” He would giggle, and I would watch his toes wiggle away.

Fast forward to today, and my son is 15. He wakes up every morning with a smile and in a good mood. Scott genuinely is a joy-filled teenager. Why? He chooses to live a joy-filled life.

Why is Joy Important?

Joy is essential because it is at the heart of scripture. Did you know the word “joy” appears approximately 430 times in the bible. When something is repeated in the bible, it is because it is crucial to understand. In Philippians 4:4 (ESV), we are commanded: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.” Joy is a mark of a deep abiding relationship with Christ.

Happiness is not joy. Happiness is dependent upon our circumstances and feelings. Happiness is a temporary shadow of joy. Joy is a choice that is independent of what our current circumstances are.

Joy is a Choice

Joy is a command, and choice is at the heart of every order given by God. We have to choose to accept the truth underlying the command, and then we have to decide to act. God will never force us to accept anything, even His abundant joy. Joy is a gift from God through Christ. When we know who we are in Christ, joy is manifested.

Most people have heard the phrase, “Choose Joy,” because joy is a choice. A choice not rooted in our circumstances. It is a decision to accept what the current day brings, whether good or bad. It is looking for the good, being thankful for existing blessings, and acknowledging pain and mourning are temporary and just one aspect of life.

I tell all my college students the story above about my son Scott. I tell them we only have two choices; we can choose joy or choose to be grumpy or miserable. Every day we should seek to choose joy over being grumpy.

Things Which Make Choosing Joy Easier

  • 6 Spiritual Habits. Daily devotionals, Christian community, sabbath holiness, tithing, missions, and witness. I have written blogs on these; you can read them for more in-depth information.

  • Count Your Blessings. Literally, count your blessings. (Phil. 4:8) Start a gratitude journal or spend time each evening at dinner or before bed thinking about all the good things that happened during the day. (Breathing, still alive, having a job or happily retired, home, food, toilet paper, etc.) My mom grew up in a four-room shack with an outhouse. Even in her 80s, she still mentioned how much she loved indoor plumbing. If everything in your life is falling apart, be thankful you have an indoor toilet.

  • Take Care of Yourself. Eat healthy whole foods. Stop drinking sodas or reduce them to one a day. Begin working out, even if you walk for thirty minutes daily.

  • Remember Victories. Look back on your life and where God has brought you. It is incredible how God works and changes a person’s life.

  • Nature. Get outdoors. We were not meant to be inside all the time. God created us to be with nature. (Job 12:7-10)

Activities: Commit for thirty days to choose joy. It takes thirty days to form a habit. (My son did two thirty-day commitments by the time he was four. If he can, you can too.) Use the list above to help you plan what you will do each day.

Also, memorize Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV): “This day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." Recite it each day to yourself. Please put it on sticky notes where you can see it as a reminder.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for being on our side and offering peace and joy to us. Please help us to accept these gifts. May we understand how Your joy is our strength.

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Image by 5688709 from Pixabay

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Jul 26, 2023

Yes, the fruit of the Spirit is... joy, and the joy of the Lord is our strength! Thanks so much for this reminder. Many blessings to you!


Jul 17, 2023

What a great reminder for us all! Though I tend to be a joyful person, I don't always make a concentrated effort to choose joy. Thanks!


Jul 17, 2023

I love that you say that joy is looking for the good and accepting what the current day brings. Joy isn’t always happiness, but it is recognizing blessings and living in hope.

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