Seize the Opportunity for Joy

I'm not even slightly surprised that after I wrote this post on joy I was immediately tested in that very area.
My husband whispered to me in the middle of the night last weekend, and it wasn't because he was feeling romantic. "Don't flush the toilet," he said when he heard me climbing out of bed to do that very thing.
He explained that our well pump was broken, meaning our house had no water. These sort of things happen when you live out on the very edge of civilization. Let's just say it made the next two days interesting, in a caveman sort of way.
Then, bright and early that morning I opened the back door to let our Australian Shepherd out and was stunned to see two pine trees snapped in half, leaving a wreckage of limbs and pine cones scattered across our back yard. Apparently the windy day turned into an insanely windy night.
I won't even mention job issues that have catapulted my husband's stress level into the stratosphere, or several other situations that threatened to turn our home into Mount Vesuvius on steroids.
But I held strong, sweet friends, and with the exception of one small incident which may or may not have included a telephone sailing through the air in exasperation, I truly held on to my joy.
No, I wasn't happy when our well pump switch had to be repaired not once but twice. But I can tell you I'm thrilled that the sparks hot enough to completely melt the switch box didn't catch our house on fire. And I have a profound new appreciation for water and all things related to indoor plumbing.
And I'm not happy that we lost two trees, but I'm unspeakably grateful that they fell away from our house, and nothing was damaged.
And though my husband's job-related stress levels have multiplied, we're truly, truly grateful he is gainfully employed.
I guess the moral to the story is the enemy will always try to steal our joy. And truthfully circumstances can sometimes make life flat-out hard. But joy is still an option. In fact, it's a necessity. Because if the joy of the Lord is our strength (see Nehemiah 8:10), why would we even try to do life without it?
Are you enduring some rough times right now? Is your joy level plummeting as the high winds of life leave a broken mess of things?
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1: 2-4)
Clearly God has given me a lot of opportunity for great joy this past week. Maybe you're experiencing lots of opportunities for joy, too. Let's make a deal. Let's continue to choose joy--in spite of our circumstances--this week. And next week. And the week after that.
In fact, let's just make the decision that we will learn to recognize opportunities for joy--and seize them. Sort of like Carpe Diem (Seize the Day). Only it'll be Capere Occasionem Gaudium: Seize the Opportunity for Joy.
Are you with me? Leave me a comment that about why you want to seize the opportunity for joy, and you'll be entered for a chance to WIN a $10 Starbucks gift card. {Because really, I just want to spread a little joy!}


Susan said...

Oh Julie, bless your heart! I'm so sorry you had so many joy-suckers after your post. You're right -- once you decide to walk in truth, that is the way we're tested.

I choose joy because of all the right spiritual reasons (honor the Lord, bear fruit, be a good example, etc) but I have a selfish one too: I don't want my face to be marked with frown lines. I think about the kind of old lady I want to be, and I want to be a sweet one!

Just keepin' it real ;)

Elysa Henegar said...

The past few months have been really tough ones with my kids(I have 3...two are on the autism spectrum, two have diabetes, and one has epilepsy), and I need to choose joy so that I can be the mom they need, the mom God chose especially because He is glorified in my weakness! I actually wrote about this very thing this week:
Thank you for adding the encouragement of your posts to all that God has been saying to me on the subject!

Cheryl Barker said...

Oh yes, I want to seize opportunities for joy. After reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, I started a "One Thousand Things" journal of my own. Every time we notice something we're grateful for, it can help us seize a little bit more joy. Gratitude is a great joy enhancer!

Sheila said...

I want to have joy, because I've been living without it for almost 2 years. I was blindsided with something that totally blew me out of the water and I haven't been able to grasp joy since.

I'm reaching for His hand. I know He will be faithful. Life can be so hard.

Tammy said...

Julie, even while going through some excruciatingly painful years on so many levels, I have found that joy and laughter are God's wonderful gifts to me. I always look for a way to giggle through everything (yep, I AM the one getting the "parental look" at church for giggling!!) Since my childhood, I've always been known for trying to get people to laugh and find joy, even if just a glimmer! Though sometimes it might not seem that we're in a spot where joy would dwell, look harder, it's really in there! Love your post today!! As usual! :-)

Julie Gillies said...

Precious Sheila, I just prayed for you. May the Lord grasp your hand and pull you toward Him--enveloping you in His love, His strength, and a double portion of His joy! He IS faithful, and He is our healer. :-)

Karen said...

Oh my goodness, Julie! Things do seem to happen at once. You are so right-joy is a decision. And you know what, sometimes I just don't feel like it. Then the spiral starts. Happiness is fleeting, our Joy is in Him. Thanks for sharing your tough week-I love your honesty. Blessings

Tracy said...

I happened upon your post today and truly felt as though God was speaking to me through your words. Recently I experienced a complete and total nothing I've ever experienced before. I've been "white knuckling" it for a long time...barely hanging on through one life event after another. Finally I just broke. I was angry at the world...angry at God. I've never ever experienced such a distant feeling from my Creator. This morning I was able to spend time in prayer before my feet ever hit the floor and later was blessed by reading your post. Thank you for allowing the Spirit to work through you Julie.

Ginny said...

I choose joy, because it is Lent and if ever the evil one wants to rob us of our joy it is the time of great prayer, self denial, fasting, and preparation for Easter.

Financial needs have been our cross to bear, and when things get tough, it is easy to lose hope and joy. I too, started the 1000 gifts journal, and it really does help put things in perspecive.
Thank you for your blog.

Josey Bozzo said...

Choosing joy is the only way.....It changes your whole perspective in every situation.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I must confess that Starbucks brings me so much joy. You totally pushed me over the edge to leave a comment by using bribery!

Secondly, I must make the point that joy is my most favorite fruit of the Spirit... and the one I struggle with the most.

So, in conclusion, THANK YOU for the reminder to keep choosing joy. It was well-timed and is so very appreciated! :)

Julie Gillies said...

Sweet Tracy,
I appreciate your honest comment. Life is not always fun nor fair, but I'm glad you met with God and found your way here. May He fill you to overflowing with His remarkable JOY! :-)

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