Friday, June 15, 2012

choose joy

 i think i've always been a relatively cheerful person.

gosh, as soon as i typed that, i thought....
is that what my girls would say?  that mama's a cheerful person?
shoulders slump a little...
how 'bout we go with upbeat.
or positive. 
that sounds a little
i'm not a bubbly giggly person though.
a realist
a positive, usually in a good mood, loves life most days, realist.
that's what i am.
i can tend to swing in to over-emphasis mode when things are good.
like...i LOVE {fill in the blank}
and ....oh my gosh, that {whatever that may be} is the best.

but i'll be real honest with  you.
choosing to be joyful
during the midst of a crisis
when i'm awaiting medical test results
when my checkbook is getting close to empty
when a relationship is going through a rough patch
when i've hurt one of my girls spirits
when i need to learn to better manage my time.
whatever the "negative" or the learning time is
that's when i struggle with the choice of a joyful spirit.

the good days, well those are easy.
i'm great fun on those.
wow. amazing character quality huh?

i recently read Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't Enough
by kay warren.
kay is a two time cancer survivor
passionate HIV/AIDS advocate
wife of "Purpose Driven Life" author, Rick Warren
& close friend of one of my favorite people,
susan hillis.

i'd love to share a few things i loved most about kay's perspective of joy.

let me start out with kay's definition:
"joy is 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 all right,
& the determined choice to praise God in all things."
"settled conviction about God
quiet confidence in God
& a choice to give praise to God"

joy is a choice.
the level of joy you & i experience is completely up to us.
not dependent on anyone else & what they do or don't do.
she could have ended the book right there. page 21. 
end of story. for me anyway.

she goes on to say that we often times look for our spouse, our children
& even our friends to fulfill us.
when they don't, we get angry.
we pick up our weapon of choice ( detachment, sarcasm,tears, emotional manipulation)
and use against them, whatever our weapon of choice is.
"as we hold our weapon of choice, we justify our attitude.
we decide if they'd change, we'd be happy.
because we're expecting the people in our lives to meet needs
that they were never supposed to meet".

let that one soak in a while.
i read it over and over again.
i went out for my run after i read that & thought
how many times, especially with my own daughters 
have i made them feel that way? ugh...
i prayed that i would just stop it.
stop acting as if they're obedience, their joyfulness, their communication
their sensitiveness towards me, their whatever
is what determines how i act. my level of joy in our home.
which, my friends
( im assuming most all of ya'll are women)
we, the mamas, truly set the thermostat for the mood of our home.

i had a couple pages of personal notes,
 a dozen tabbed with red post-it pages 
sprinkled throughout my
yellow highlighted to death book
to share with you
but i don't want to steal any of kay's thunder.
( page 128 she talks about treasures stored in the dark places. awesome.
& page 234 joy is rooted in gratitude
are two of my faves)

"choose joy" is a great read
with real & practical and powerful ( not syrupy "just be a happy girl" ) words
to remind us how to choose joy
with whom to choose joy
& how to love well with a joyful soul.
i needed help with all the above!

i also asked my good friend, susan
 (mom of the trevor, savannah's beau. a US government official 
and leading infectious disease expert-among many of her titles)
 to send me her endorsement, which reads:
"If I were to recommend one top pick for men and women of all ages for 2012, it would be Choosing Joy. Kay writes authentically, from experiences we all share and relate to, about the hard struggles of life, and goes on to convey the real joy that is available to each of us daily through the Lord's presence and promises and provisions! This book actually changed my dear husband's perspective on life to the degree that when I try to pull him into my own turmoil, he looks at me with that twinkle in his eye, smiles, and says, "I am gonna choose joy." Not that's something for a pessimist to say! I wholeheartedly recommend it!"
Dr. Susan Hillis
& co-author at Hope at Home

Available now at your favorite bookseller from Revell, 
a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Kay Warren, author, speaker and international HIV/AIDS advocate. Kay and her husband, Rick, began Saddleback Church, now one of the largest churches in America, in the living room of their condominium in 1980. Since then, she has founded the HIV/AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church in 2004 and spoken around the world as an advocate for the weak and vulnerable. She chronicles this in her first book “Dangerous Surrender,” originally released in 2007 and revised, expanded and published as “Say Yes to God” in 2010. A two-time cancer survivor, Kay knows firsthand how a life-threatening diagnosis alters one’s daily life. Her own bouts with suffering have motivated her to serve those who are sick. She is passionate about using her personal experiences to encourage others, which is why she wrote “Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough,” released this spring


Beki - TheRustedChain said...

I'm so glad you blogged about this book! :) On my list now...

Unknown said...

this is just what i needed to read tonight...I have always loved the word "JOY"..will have to look for this one..thanks

Shannon said...

sounds like an amazing book and perfect timing for me to read a post like this. thank you! :)

slip4 said...

Putting this on my summer reading list! Thanks for sharing.

Paige said...

Just ordered it!! Thanks so much, so need it:)

Home: Inside and Out said...

Thanks Paige! Sounds like that one moves to the top of my "to read" list. I totally relate to the way you described yourself, especially the not-so-glamorous parts. That's SO me. Can't wait to read it!

Beth Templeton said...

Susan HIllis is one of my main sources of reading material! I haven't read this yet, but I am looking forward to it. There is a youtube of Kay telling about it and you can actually see/feel the Joy she is talking about as she speaks. Thanks for this post Paige.

AndeM1 said...

Paige......I needed to hear these words today.....the book is ordered, I can't wait to read it. Thank you so much for posting....

Stefanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Paige, I have so struggled with this notion that "....God is in control of all the details of my life...." It is such a simplistic statement made by SO many believers. If you really stop and think about it, you really must come to the conclusion that He is NOT in control of all the details of our lives. We need look no further than the gospels...John beheaded, Peter crucified upside down, James and Paul both beheaded, Jude was crucified, Luke was hung, etc. To say that our Lord is in control of the little 8 yr. old boy in NY that was abducted and brutally murdered, or the girl that broke up with her boyfriend and had acid thrown in her face which melted her entire face away, or the little 10 year old girl that was raped and is now pregnant, or the little boy riding his bike and run over by a drunk driver, or the woman who was threatening to divorce her abusive husband and he shoots her point blank in the face, blowing over half of it off (on Oprah two yrs. ago). Or the brutal deaths of so many of our missionaries? The death of Jim Elliot, which Elizabeth Elliott writes about? I could go on and on, and we all have stories of our own. The point being that this notion that God is in control of all the details in our lives is complete lunacy and completely false. I just ask that we allow ourselves, as westernized evangelical christians, to think beyond the westernized evangelical christian thought that our Lord is in control of all the details and that everything will always work out...This thought is so very, very misguided, and dare I say almost heretical. I'm so sorry to unload here Paige, I love you and your blog...and choosing joy is indeed a beautiful concept, and I am sure it is a beautiful book. Bless you....

Avery M.

Privet and Holly said...

Beautiful, Paige.

Someone who has
traversed the valleys
has to have a distinct
voice on JOY.

Just downloaded
it to my Kindle....

Thanks, friend!

xo Suzanne

Unknown said...

So we do not look at what we can see at this moment, the troubles all around us , but we look forward to the joys in heaven which we have not seen yet. The troubles will soon be over but the joys to come will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18.

This book is definitely on my list!!

Between You and Me said...

first of all, you know I love you even more now because you said dude. (my favorite all time word that I use WAY too much everyday)

I can't wait to read this book...this is something that God has been on a personal mission in my own life to teach me. JOY IS A CHOICE.

He IS in control...even when it doesn't seem it. I can lay my head down at night and go to sleep ONLY because I fully trust that He is in control.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, "Avery" love it!!! I follow Paige everyday, and today decided to read the comments on the "Joy" book. You are absolutely right. I get into this argument all the time with my sister. Just because you believe something to be true, and just because it gives you comfort to believe that it is true.....doesn't mean that it IS true. Seriously, stop and think about the ramifications of that. It is a question that believers are so very afraid to ponder, to really and truly allow themselves to think about, because they are afraid of what the answer might be. I belong to one of the largest Christian churches in the midwest, and it is a topic of discussion often...God "causing", God "allowing" etc. I totally challenge you all to think, really think, outside of your comfort zone. God is sovereign and not to be mocked, His name not to be taken in vain. Which, contrary to popular belief, does not just mean swearing. It means, (and please do your own research) not attributing something to God which He has not done....good or bad. If you all think that He truly is in control of everything, please carry that thought process all the way through...did He control which Anthro mug you used for coffee this morning, which MAC gloss or mascara you used, which Essie polish slipped off the vanity and broke on the tile floor, causing you to have to use a different color??? Do you see how ludicrous this kind of thinking is. This thought process must begin and end somewhere. Please just think about all the "pat" Christian answers we all use. This is NOT what the Gospel is about. Amen "Avery"! Wow totally unexpected comment lol!

Deborah said...

Thanks for stopping by. I'm the lucky one. I have the best nieces ever.

Choose Joy is the next book on my list. That's my
"quote to live by" for the year.

Loved your great Father's Day pictures. What a blessing
in Dan you have.

Susan Hillis said... heart went out to dear Avery and Anonymous as I read their thoughtful replies to this post. I would love for them to read the book, especially chapter 6 about darkness, and see if this helps. I also would love to offer a few thoughts in response:
1. Man's free will (which can lead to horrifying evil, as Avery so aptly describes) and God's control are inextricably and unfathomably intertwined in the Scriptures, like a beautiful heaven-bound thickly intertwined vine. Acts 4:10 says "this Jesus whom you killed (evil use of free will), God raised (glorious triumph over that evil). I like Acts 2:23 even more, "this Jesus, God delivered up, you crucified, and God raised!" (God going before and behind, and bigger than the evil in the middle!).
2. God is never the author of evil, James 1:13 "God cannot be tempted with evil and He Himself tempts no one." (particularly not those who do all the evil listed in Avery's heartrending catalogue)
3. God leads His children, as He led Jesus above in 1, and even in the desert in Matt. 4:1 "Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil," and Job, into circumstances that allow them to be tempted, and even horribly mistreated. We are blind to what is occurring in the heavenlies, as was Job, when God says to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the face of the earth."
4. God excels, as shown by a painstaking crucifixion culminating in a glorious resurrection (Rev 1), in doing what is called in wrestling, 'reversals.' That is, in taking evil and using it ultimately for a higher good. As Josepsh says to his evil and murderious brothers in Gen 50:20 "you meant it for evil bug God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people would be kept alive." It was a horrible evil when I had to watch my son of promise run over and killed by a car in front of my very eyes, literally. Yet God used it for good, ultimately healing my heart and bringing me joy in Him, as many children came into loving families directly or indirectly through Jonny's untimely and tragic death.
5. God is bigger than all our storms, than all evil, and can use them for ultimate good. We rejoice in that truth, whle we hate the evil.
6. I believe God's definition of the worst evil, is to be separated from His love for us. That is an evil, we are assured in Romans 8:38-39, can never happen to those who believe.
7. So as we walk through life, and are daily in the evening news bombarded with the deepest evil we are confident of a higher good, as in Romans 8:28. It is because of this that we, with Habakkuk in 3:17019 can confidently say, basically, even if I lose everything, "yet I will take joy in the God of my salvation [because I can never lose His love and grace for me]. God, the Lord, is my strength, and He makes my feet like a deer's; He makes me tread on the high places [ultimately above all these storms of life].
8. The story does not end with our sufferring. It ends with resurrection hope. As in I Peter 5:10, after that description of the devil's terrifying attacks, similar to those of a roaring lion trying to devour us, "After your have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you."
9. Lord, we pray for ourselves, that you would give us eyes to see our lives and the lives of those around us as you see them, that we would find strength in You that enables us to choose joy even in darkness, and that we and many believers would be willing to pray those people entrapped in the clutches of evil, free from that evil and into a transformed life that serves You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

traci said...

thanks for the recommendation. i am getting this one!!!!!

RachelRAdams said...

this book is on order! thanks for the recommendation. can't wait to dive in!

Anonymous said...

This is good stuff! Thanks so much for sharing. I can't wait to read this book.

Kate said...
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Anonymous said...

Dearest Susan, thank you for your beautiful and thoughtful comments to me "Anonymous", aka Linda. I am so very very sorry about your son, I cannot even begin to imagine your pain. I do absolutely agree with each of your points. I accepted Christ when I was 13 at a Billy Graham crusade, and have been following Him as my Savior for a little over 30 years. I too have had deep suffering...losing our first baby, losing my healthy, athletic father two weeks after a devastating cancer diagnosis, and myself having gone through (and survived) cancer twice, with the Christ's healing and with years and years of chemo, radiation and surgery since age 36. I only state this because, while yes I do agree with your points, I feel they do not speak to the original comment that "God is in control of all the details of our lives". I find it very naive, and self-centered to believe that God is a "puppeteer" pulling all the strings of every minute detail of our lives, of MY life. That is not what the gospels speak of, no matter how we try to twist them into doing so, for the sole benefit of our comfort. After much questioning and all of the "whys???" of my, of our suffering, I have come to believe that much of our suffering in life is just LIFE. As Jennifer Anniston stated in a Vanity Fair interview..."life can be hard, put on a helmet". I do completely believe that our Lord grieves with us as we suffer, but that He does not cause, nor does He always allow our pain. It is just life, and suffering as humanity.

Anonymous said...

Whoops sorry! I had to delete and re-post my comment above because I was on my daughter's google user name and didn't realize it. I don't have my own google blog etc. So I have to post as anonymous, which I hate doing.

Jodi said...

I am definately going to be reading this book! Thanks so much for the recommendation!