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Today I Choose Joy

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by Kristin Fuhs, Set Me Free Ministries Connections Director and Board Member

Years ago, I took a paperweight to college that read: God Never Panics. Likewise, for many years, I have kept a note from a friend tucked away in my Bible that reads as follows: "I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical … the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God."

I just sent Caleb, our fifth child, to college. Many emotions overtake you as you send a son off to start the next chapter of his life. We took him to the airport to board a plane from Florida to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. My “mom emotions” were on overdrive!

You see, in the past, we have always taken our kids to college, moved them in, and helped them get settled. A sense of peace comes over me when I see they're settled and ready to start their new adventure. But this time, it did not happen like that.

We are in a bit of a financial bind, as my husband has been without a job for a couple of months. So, paying for an additional plane ticket just didn't seem to be a responsible decision. As I watched Caleb walk through security, my lip quivered and, yes, tears rolled down my cheeks. And for some reason, that silly paperweight statement popped in my head—God Never Panics. A sense of peace came over me that allowed me to pray for Caleb, his trip, and the next chapter of his life.  

I was reminded that prayer is the most important gift we can give our kids. And even though my heart was a little heavy as I left the airport, I was feeling confident and assured that Caleb was not traveling alone. Our great God was with him, and I felt joy. 

I tell you this story because I realize that sometimes it is very easy to be joyful. Other times, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by circumstances surrounding us, and being joyful just does not come easy.

Every day in life, joy is a decision. Choosing joy is a sacrifice, and daily choosing joy goes much deeper than having a happy day simply because your day is going well. Choosing joy is only possible when you have a daily relationship with Jesus and a faith that is rooted in His Word. 

I must admit, choosing joy has been a daily struggle for me over the past few weeks due to the uncertainty of when and where my husband will find his next job. But when I begin to waiver, I remember "God Never Panics,” and I choose joy and find strength through Jesus.    

I hope you will choose joy with me today. Reflect on God's wonderful blessings and keep your eyes fixed on Him. Invite Jesus to be your strength when you are weak. God loves us, and His plan for us is good. Hold on to His promises and trust Him during the good times and the tough times.
"You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Psalm 16:1; ESV) 

"The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanks." (Psalm 28:7; NLT)

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 16-18; NIV)

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