Choosing Joy

Life’s turns aren’t always predictable are they? You could be contendedly gliding along when all of a sudden – twist – God takes the wheel and makes a 90 degree turn to the right. All seems confusing, off-course, and your first reaction is one of fear of the unknown. I’m familiar with the sudden change in course and the accompanying freedom my imagination takes with all the newfound territory to cover. It is all at once unsettling. Once the imagination is reigned in (and I can vouch, that is no easy task) you’re left with the sentiment, “now, what?”

I think of Our Blessed Mother at the moment of the Incarnation. The Angel Gabriel announced to her that she would conceive a child, not just any child but the Word made Flesh – with no husband, no clearly defined plan with bulleted priorities, no stash of diapers waiting in the chest – with only the reassurance that it was God’s Plan. In her fullness of grace she is able to make the Fiat that we all try so desperately to emulate when God asks us to receive a Gift of His with no explanation. In her “Yes” – her Fiat – she chooses joy.

How did she do it? It wasn’t simply an, “Ok, Lord. I’ll do it.” It was an, “I surrender all that I am for You, for Your Plan, for this Child, for this Gift – even though I’m simple, humble and don’t understand.” That’s how she did it. It was joy through obedience, joy through surrender. She chose it. She didn’t have to, but thanks be to God that she did – God’s plan of Salvation was set in motion the very moment she chose to give herself freely and completely to Him.


Gift of Self.

Totus Tuus Sum.

When you distill all of the theological wisdom down it really all comes down to that, doesn’t it? Fiat. Totus Tuus Sum. I give You all that I am, do with me as You will. I surrender.

We invite God into our lives, our family, our homes, our decisions – everything that we are and we ask Him to transform us in Christ. Why then, must I always react in fear when He does just that? It is a choice. But fear and confusion and worry are not of God. He tells us so very clearly. We are to rejoice always. Be joyful — always.

Imaginations are a wonderful thing. They transport us and our thoughts and ideas to wonderful places often inspired by the Creator, by the Greatest Imagination of all, but if left on their own to wander they can quickly transport us into fear, angst, worry and confusion. Taking back the reigns is no easy task and once reigned in the imagination is much like a high spirited horse always needing firm guidance lest it takes off again for parts unknown. Faith is necessary alongside the imagination to guide her to always inspire within the realm of God’s Plan. There is freedom there – freedom to once again choose joy. In freedom from fear and confusion I can choose to offer my own Fiat to God and His Plan for me, for our family.

I crave simplicity, but life is complicated. I crave quiet, but life is full of noise. I need peace, yet imagination threatens. I long for joy, yet it does not always present itself as an easily opened gift to experience. It is sometimes beautifully covered in thorns and the wood of the Cross. There is only one way to experience simplicity, quiet, stillness, and peace in a world of complication, and noise. There is only one Source of Joy. It is only found in Him, through Him, and with Him. It is found in the Covenant my husband and I made in front of Him to surrender everything in our marriage to Him. It is found in my children’s eyes. It is found in a claimed moment in front of Our Lord exposed so vulnerably in the Most Blessed Sacrament. It is found in surrender – complete and total – to His Plan.

I’m looking into the eyes of my daughter. She’s smiling and clapping her hands. Her life is cherished. How glad I am that we chose joy. How glad I am that we chose it over and over again in spite of how painful it was sometimes to continue surrendering and choosing joy.

God’s Plan for us offers many challenges, many bends in the road. But, I choose joy because I cannot exist without it.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice…Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philipians 4:1-7


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  1. I have come to visit your beautiful blog from Elizabeth’s. I am so glad I did. Your post resonates in my heart and spirit. We have, and continue to, experienced very difficult times in our family, but the choice to surrender to Him is the only thing that has brought peace and a joy I thought I would never know again.You have said it so very well.Thank you.

  2. Well done JenIt’s so hard to identify the tough act of faith, the eyes-clenched “Yes” (mine’s so often a rotten <>“fine!<>“) with choosing Joy.. So easy to forget when accepting a cross that the Beloved comes with it. (almost as easy as forgetting in the happy moments what, with his “yes” he chose to unite himself too and still comes attached)I can almost hear the hapless apostles giving their backhanded assent ” where else can we go? You have the words of eternal Life.”

  3. I have recently discovered your blog from Elizabeth’s and this post was so much what I needed to hear. Life has been difficult for me recently and I’ve struggled and been down hearted. When I first read your post I thought “Yes. I’ve chosen to follow Jesus but I’ve forgotten that that means I’ve chosen joy.” Since then I’ve been saying “I’ve chosen joy” many times a day and it has transformed my life. The problems are still there but I can be joyful through them, I have Jesus. Thank you so much for reminding me and for giving me back my joy!

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