Six months into my word and I am almost, almost ready to give it up. My life wasn’t easy and it mold me in a way that I tend to be pessimistic when things don’t go my way. I am impatient. It’s a flaw that led me to decisions I made in the past that I never really thought of the consequences later on. I knew that kind of attitude will make choosing joy a struggle but I never thought it will be this difficult.
For years of doing this, it was the first time I felt my word is draining me, stressing me out in levels I don’t want to go back to. Just like my previous words, there are times that you’ll forget it, that it would somehow take a backseat. With all the changes and things happening in my life, I lost track of my word. I lost the battle of choosing joy when things get tough—when I could choose joy but I did not.
What happened last night made me ask myself two hefty questions, what the hell am I doing? Why am I not choosing joy? To give myself a little credit, I’d say that the events the past months weren’t easy, it was far from the life I thought was right for me back in 2016. The last few months were hard. They were life changing. They made me see the mistakes I did in the past and it made me think of forgiveness, of mending burned bridges, of what happens now. It made me question, why only now? All I want is to find joy, why is life making it so damn difficult? In the midst of all the chaos, I forgot my word. It was so easy to let the days just go by, be a bitch and ruin everyone’s day because mine is not going as planned. It was easy to forget joy than choose it.
So were would this lead me now?
I’m not giving up. I have to remember and constantly remind myself that joy is not a feeling, it’s a choice that has to be made. It’s not just happiness. It’s a battle to let not pessimism get the day. It’s the courage to find joy when things get harsh. When it gets too much, I have to remember to choose joy in His name.
A friend had this word a few years ago and she did tell me that joy is like this. She shared to me this quote from her favorite blogger:
Delighted, overjoyed – we so often mistake those words for happy, or, more honestly, for naively cheerful or optimistic. We think that if we name those adjectives, we’re making it sound like we (or God or both) aren’t taking hurt seriously. That we have missed suffering. That we have lost sight of the ache of the world and are applying a pink band-aid to the gaping wounds.
But it is the work of delight and joy to come close to suffering, even closer than the so-called serious realism. It is through joy, not cynicism, that we approach the unspeakably difficult.
Because joy and delight are not happy feelings: they are the choices to let love win. They are the choice to trust love triumphant. Joy is a choice to believe God when He calls what He has made very good, and a choice to draw near to that very good world in its ache and terror and sadness.
I’m letting love win, to trust love triumphant. The first half of 2017 is over. In just a couple of months we’ll be counting the days before the year ends and I decided I won’t let my word go away anymore. There will be days it will be difficult. I would have to make the conscious effort of not letting hardships to get the best of me.
For the second time this year, I’m choosing joy. And I’m keeping it.
– wl, a