I Choose Joy

I am continuing to repost my journey of many years ago following a devastating stroke that my father had right before Christmas. It seemed appropriate since so many are experiencing loss since 2020 and now beyond. Jesus offers peace in the storm, not the normal peace but power to overcome the storm. He did a great work in me and continues to do so everyday. If you know me personally, you will see how some of the things below have definitely changed.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”                Isaiah 61:1-3a

Now let’s go over a few practical ways to put a smile back on our faces.  It takes effort to be happy again when going through a trial, but we must do it.  Some of these may not work for you, so be selfish: ignore the ones that do not and cling with all you have to the ones that do.

  1. Eat more chocolate.  I highly recommend Dove brand chocolate, but any kind will do.  I do not care what the Atkins or the South Beach diet say; work a little chocolate into your day.
  2. Buy something for yourself.  Spend some money on you.  We are not concerned with quality necessarily, so the nearest Dollar Tree or Everything’s A Dollar will do.
  3. Eat at your favorite restaurant.  Find a positive, encouraging friend for company, order your favorite dish and enjoy.  Again, Dr. Atkins and Dr. South Beach are of no concern to us right now.  When going through a season of despair, we are on the “Choose Joy, Eat Big” diet.  Of course, as I am writing this we are considering buying a treadmill, so this way of thinking must come to an end, but not right now.
  4. Pick up your favorite food from one fast food restaurant, and then proceed to the next fast food restaurant, picking up your favorite food from there.  Mix and match your meal. In times of crisis, one tends to eat a lot of McDonald’s, Wendy’s…so, let’s face it.  McDonald’s drinks are better than Wendy’s, but, in my opinion, Wendy’s fries are better than McDonald’s.  It’s o.k.  You are an adult, so you can do stupid, time wasteful things if you want.
  5. If possible, rent a good movie.  Rent a series.  Did you ever really see all of “Roots” or the eighties saga “The North and the South”?  For a while, this will take your mind on a mini vacation.
  6. Focus on a project.  Start planning some much needed home improvement.  Paint a room, or check out some wallpaper books and wallpaper something—anything!
  7. Read a good book.  Find a good, clean Christian romance novel.  I suggest those by Francine Rivers.
  8. Get some sleep.  If you are losing sleep, you are losing energy that you need to keep going.  Try an over-the-counter sleep aid of you must or even better…
  9. Get some exercise.  If you are out of shape, start with a fifteen minute walk and slowly build up to thirty minutes.  Before you dive right into Pilates, consult your doctor.  The exercise will be a great time to listen to praise music or have a good talk with God.
  10. Bring on the praise music.  Whatever type praise music you prefer, have it playing in your car or house constantly.  Wear a portable CD player around if you must, but fill your mind with praise.  Then, when in those moments you do not have the strength to pray or praise, that sweet music will come back to you carrying you through like only God can do.
  11. Pray.  Pray, pray and pray some more.  Let it continually come out of your mouth.  Have a constant conversation with God who knows exactly what is going on in our lives and loves us very much. 
  12. Do something for the kid in you.  Have you seen the latest Barbie?  Buy it!  There are some really innovative toys out there now, so, go ahead.  You do not need you mom or dad’s permission. 
  13. Get a facial.  They can be expensive, but salons vary in price.  It will be worth every penny. 
  14. Lastly, journal.  These words that you are now reading were penned at my father’s bedside.  Journaling can be very therapeutic.

So, let’s find our smile again, even if that smile quickly fades. Then, we will just go in search of another.

Taken from “And This Ain’t Hollywood Either”, available on Amazon.

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