Choosing Joy

This week I got covid. I suspect it was from cuddling my 21-year-old on the plane back from a mother/daughter weekend in Melbourne. We left on the last Friday of the school holidays to go see Hamilton. Less than 24hrs earlier I got off another plane, having spent the first two weeks of the holidays in Bali, kid-free with my husband. I was first off the plane and the first Perthian to touch Balinese soil in two years. I have been so fortunate. However! How did I feel when I saw those two red lines on the RAT? I was despondent and angry. The week I tested positive was the week I was booked in for a hair appointment with a curly hair expert and I had planned to go back to Melbourne to visit my best friend. Do I sound like a spoilt brat or what?

It’s easy to only see our immediate circumstances before us and allow our emotions to be governed by that. It’s harder to choose joy, no matter our circumstances.

The word joy is found over 150 times in the Bible. Their overall point is that joy is a choice. We can all feel happy, sad, lonely, angry, or hopeful, but joy is the constant “knowing” that grounds, nourishes, and keeps us centered. Choosing joy means believing what Jesus promised – that his work to reconcile us to God will make our joy “complete.” Joy is continually stepping out in faith, not just feeling happy in the good times.

One clear-cut directive to choose joy is in the letter written by Jesus’ brother, James. He writes “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

Seeing even your hardest trials as pure joy is not a knee-jerk response. That requires making a choice. As I type this on day two of my covid isolation, my symptoms seem mild. I am very tired, sore, and have a chesty cough. Many of you are going through far greater trials. But we can all choose joy. I don’t say this because it’s easy – in fact, it’s easier to wallow in misery. Choosing joy is worth it, and Jesus has made it possible to make that choice. So I choose joy – how about you?

Marsha Dale
Secondary Chaplain