Sunday, April 03, 2011

Choosing Joy

It was a conversation with my sister that started it all. I had bought, if not sent, a Mother’s Day card and I wasn’t quite sure where to send it. Mum had been in hospital a while ago and I didn’t know whether she was back in her sheltered housing flat or in some convalescent home.

My sister was on her way to a day out with swimming, massage and drinks by the pool. It was her Mother’s Day present. She and her daughter (both mothers) and a friend (another mother no doubt) were being treated by husbands and children to a day of fuss and pampering.

Not being a parent, I don’t get Mother’s day treats. I don’t get cards or flowers or a day of fuss and pampering. I am on the outside and excluded and sometimes I find Mother’s Day a bit of a trial. Last night I took a mood dive downwards and grizzled for a while.

“I know it's Mother's Day tomorrow but please take some time out to think about some of us ladies who aren't mothers - not through choice, but flawed biology. It can be a rough day sometimes.” I wrote on my Facebook status.

This morning my Bible reading instructed me to “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4) and to “Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!” (Ps 32:11). It wasn’t quite the direction my heart was willing to travel but as I read my perspective changed. It wasn’t so much the Bible verses that touched my heart, but the devotional from Lucas on Life. I am a few days behind (on account of being rather enthralled with my new kindle) and I am reluctant to just miss a few days out to catch up just incase there is treasure to be had. I should have read the words on Wednesday, not this morning – but they were designed for today.

The opening sentence of the devotional began with “in my past battle with depression” and went on to comment on the “snap out of it” advice. This is a person who has been there. It is not always possible to snap out of anything leastways depression. He went on to say “I have discovered there are times when we can choose joy…We can make decisions about the way we will think and act…We are not called to be victims of our thoughts but rather to take authority over what we think and focus on.”

Psalm 32 begins “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.” The Message puts it this way “Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean. Count yourself lucky - God holds nothing against you and you're holding nothing back from him.”

I can choose to focus on what I don’t have…or think about the things I do have and be grateful about those things. If I choose to consider “things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Phil 4:8 The Message) there is a good chance that joy will colour my day.

I choose joy.

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