For a very long time, maybe a little longer than I’d care to admit, I thought that if I made a plan and stuck to it, life would turn out just as I wanted. I kept thinking that if I just worked harder or was more determined I could change things. Needless to say, my journey thus far has shown me otherwise. The reality that I wasn’t the one running the show left me feeling like a victim of circumstance, as though I had to wait for better days to come. And then I realized something.
I could choose to be upset that life wasn’t working out the way I had planned OR I could choose to embrace my life right now. Either way, it was my choice to make. Have you ever thought of it that way? That even though you can’t control life, you still get to choose how it plays out? That was a life changer for me. Understanding that regardless of what was going on in my life I would always be able to choose how I reacted to it, set me free. I could choose to be bitter about what wasn’t or I choose to find joy in what was. I chose the latter.
One of my favorite quotes is this one by Marjorie Pat Hinckley, “The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.” I don’t think truer words were ever spoken. Once I made the choice to embrace my perfectly imperfect life, a whole new world opened up to me and I began finding joy every single day. What about you? Are you choosing joy every day?
Heather Hamilton is our *NEW* Inspiration contributor. She’s the wife to one and the momma to three; two that live in her house and one that lives in God’s. You can find her sharing her journey to becoming the girl God created her to be over at her blog, Life Made Lovely, and sharing her love of handmade in her new shop, The Paperie.
She’s the founder of the Joyful Life Library and is the curator of The Joyful Shop, which uses 100% of it’s profits to support the library project. She’s also the Creative Director for Beautifully Rooted, a site for creative Christian women. And every day, she chooses joy.
love this post, and it’s sooo true!!
@Revlie, Thank you Revlie!
amen! and i’m finding that joy is my only option. not to survive, but to live. it’s a must.
praise jesus for providing the choice, complete in him. praise him for JOY!
love you xo
@hannah singer, i have a tattoo on my right wrist that is Japanese for joy. so — i totally agree :)
@hannah singer, I’m so grateful He gives us that choice, too. And when we choose it, even though it isn’t the easiest thing to do, He changes our hearts so they can hold and experience more joy than we’ve ever known before. xoxo
I love that quote! It’s so loverly!
@carrian, me too! it’s one of my all time favorites. :)
I’d add to your choose joy motto: trust God. His plan is always right. How amazing is it that we don’t have to worry — He is in control! I know first hand how hard it is to wait for His answer to prayer, but I know He always answers! Sometimes it’s just wait :).
amen! Love that Hannah!
@Miranda, You are so right Miranda! Our God is an amazing God!
that a reply to Hannah’s comment above, ha :).
Wow! Very powerful post & very inspirational! Thank you for inspiring me today.
@Melanie Werner, thank you so much for your comment Melanie! xo
Eeek! You’re amazing Heather and that’s a super cute pic of you;)
@Carly, you are too sweet to me friend. xo
This is what I have been needing to hear. Thank you for a great post!
@Cari, That’s so good to hear, thanks Cari!!
What a great message for you to share. This website (http://www.lilblueboo.com/choosejoy) is where I first came across. It’s quite inspirational.
@Julie, Thanks Julie! Choosing joy is so important and I love how Ashley shares about her own joy journey at LilBlueBoo. In my own life, making the decision to choose joy, after loosing my son 5 years ago, has helped me each and every day.
So true Heather! I love and agree with everything you wrote. perfectly put!
and congrats on being a new contributer…. YOU ROCK.
@Amy, Thanks Amy!!
Lovely, lovely post Heather…i’m continually encouraged every time i read your post…whether here, on you’re blog, or Beautifully Rooted. You speak the truth in love. Thank you !!
@Elizabeth, You are so sweet Elizabeth, thank you so much!
Marjorie Hinckley’s middle/maiden name is Pay :)
I loved this post so much. I flat out adore joy. It is my very favorite fruit of the Spirit. Can’t wait for more posts from Heather.
@Lauren Cunningham, Me too Lauren! Thank you for kind words. xo
Choose Joy is what I have lived by for many years now.. Being a single mom and caregiver to both of my parents was a blessing and difficult at the same time. They are both in heaven now but through and the trials of being a single mom I choose joy.. I have always told my kids .. Its your choice to be happy or sad.. I choose happiness every time.. It takes alot more energy to always look at things positively or find joy in circumstances but its well worth it I am speaking for myself. Also there is a wonderful blog by Ashley Hacksaw called Lilblueboo this is also what she lives by and has a necklace, bracelet and posters you can print out with Choose Joy on them. I highly recommend visiting her site she has a line of kids clothes as well. .. I am so blessed by both of you wonderful women of God. Thank you for sharing your heart everyday.
@Gweny, Thank you so much for sharing your joy story. I’m so sorry for the loss of your parents. I know though that they are rejoicing in heaven with my son, and when we all get together again it’s going to be wonderful! xoxo
YAY! Heather, I am so pumped for you!
@Kate @ Songs Kate Sang, thank you friend!
i used to be so cup half empty it became a habit. these days i choose half full. joy. peace. and happiness. but realizing that it is a choice the battles already won.
great post heather.
@kelly, Thank you Kelly!! I feel the same way, just acknowledging to choose joy is half the battle.
i love this, heather. you choose joy & it totally shows. it just oozes out of you whether you like it or not ;) i need to choose a little more joy today. i’ve been a big whiner today in this heat. thanks for the reminder. love you!
love this. so well articuated and a beautiful reminder. joy is a choice we make (or don’t make) every day. love the pixie by the way – cutie!
You are so right. What a timely reminder for all of us. Thanks for sharing!
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This post totally hits home for me! Jesus has been showing me that if I put my hope in my circumstances (i.e. how well life is going) then I will inevitably lose hope over and over. It’s only if I put my hope in HIM that I will always have hope. My word for 2013 is CHEERFUL and the whole idea is to remind myself to choose a happy heart, even when it might be easier to be not so cheery. Thank you for sharing!
(my post on being cheerful: http://happycandido.blogspot.com/2013/01/one-word-for-twenty-thirteen.html)