You Can Choose Joy

Dr. Dobson said if he were 22 now and looking for a wife, knowing what he knows now, the number one thing he would look for would be someone who is a happy person. Who wants to come home every night to someone who is generally unhappy?

"After being away for a speaking engagement, I stopped to buy gifts for the family before returning home," Nancie Carmichael said. She found a gift for her daughter  and was wanting something for her husband, too, although she knew he would rather she didn't buy him anything. Then she had an idea. "I'll bring him me--happy! Novel thought, for sure. True to my analytical nature, I can be melancholy. Bill loves it when I'm happy. As I stood in the gift shop poised over the card rack, I wondered, Is it possible to choose and give happiness...just as I choose a gift for someone?"

She went home to find plumbing problems, company because of a family wedding, her daughter lost a contact lenses.

Later that week her husband said, "You have been so sweet lately."

"I have?" she asked, surprised. And it occurred to her that she really was happy. But it was a consequence, not a pursuit. She was learning to say like Mary, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). It is obedience and submission to God that are the keys to receiving and giving joy.

In circumstances we choose either joy or sorrow. Two victims of the same accident--for one it's a source of resentment, for the other, gratitude. Some become bitter as they grow older; others whose lives are harder are joyful. It means that different choices were made, inner choices of the heart.

Dear Jesus, help us to remember that at every moment of our lives, we have an opportunity to choose joy.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4).