People ask me all the time why I write “Choose Joy
” on my hand every day or why I have Natural Life flags
that say it above my bed. It serves as a reminder for the outlook I strive to have. Every morning, I strive to choose joy. I was 17-years-old when a doctor told me that I had chronic Lyme Disease, mold toxicity in my blood and my doctor made claims that my conditions could worsen, leading to a weakened immune system and the possibility of being wheelchair bound by age 25.
I received IV treatments every day for eight months straight after school. I took up to 30 pills and vitamins a day. My hair started changing colors, my skin starting peeling off and I had IV marks on my arms all the time. I began to recognize that I wasn’t going to be able to fight this thing with a negative attitude so “Choose Joy
” became my mantra when I recognized that the trials in life are temporary.
Happiness is earthly but joy is eternal. Joy is not, “Yay, I ate a donut!” or “Yay, I actually managed to brush my hair today.” Joy is a choice. Choosing Joy is recognizing your struggles and limitations but choosing to view life from a positive perspective. It’s setting aside things that matter to the world and relying on the unveiling grace of Jesus Christ. Its recognizing that all you need is the joy found in Jesus.
One of my favorite Bible passages is Isaiah 40:29 that says, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Christ gives me the strength to live joyfully on days where I may not feel my best. He gives me strength to choose to look towards the bright side of things when I want to sulk in the troubles of this world.
During my freshman year of college, I was medically released from school due to my condition. When I came home, my sister organized a support effort where people took pictures with "Choose Joy
" signs in encouragement for me and to help me realize that I was not in this fight alone. I was overwhelmed that a small phrase could impact such a large number of people.
Since then, we started “The Choose Joy Movement
”, a forum for encouragement and inspiration. We want people to experience the joy of Jesus and have a medium where they can share how joy changed their lives. I’ve seen people come to Christ through it. There is actually a guy who got a quote from the blog tattooed on his arm because he was so inspired. I’ve heard stories of people who are broken, ill or recovering and have taken on the challenge to choose joy.
That’s what joy is, it’s choosing to focus on what really matters in life. True joy is in Jesus Christ.
We all have struggles. We all have instances in our lives that seem to completely rid us of our happiness. It may be a physical limitation, emotional illness or just unfortunate circumstances. Despite all of these things, I invite you to choose joy with me. I invite you to seek the joy in Jesus. I invite you to find hope in the joy that is set before you.
Live Natural Life JOYFUL. Choose Joy.