Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Joy, joy, joy

It hasn't been a banner day. There was the *free hair color* I got this morning after getting a nice haircut. That was certainly unexpected! I am now a dark auburn. Thank you, Ulta salon.

However, a disappointment came today that made me second-guess myself and others, too. I was just a little bummed about something that fell through, and it seems to have colored this 24-hour period, this entire day.

The day that the Lord has made. The same one I am supposed to rejoice and be glad in.

And, tonight, I am profoundly grateful for this week's choice reading materials. I picked up a copy of Champagne for the Soul by Mike Mason at 1/2 price books last weekend. (I love and cherish another of his books, The Mystery of Marriage, and would recommend it to anyone.)

The subtitle of the champagne book, though, is Celebrating God's Gift of Joy. Mike Mason, an introspective fellow who sometimes tends toward depression, decided to all-out celebrate the joy of the Lord for 90 days. It wasn't easy--and it wasn't that bad things didn't happen in those 90 days. It's just that Mason learned joy is "a response to the Lord's presence." And he claims just as happiness is a choice, joy is, too.

And something I'm finding quite insightful, since I have experienced my share of depression, too, is that in these pages he talks about how joy often comes when suffering is present. Indeed, Mason found a permanent joy could be experienced even when he was sad, confused, melancholy, or afraid. He points us to Matthew 28:8: "So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy."

We are complex creatures, and though the fall and sin color our emotional landscape, we can choose joy. We can respond to God's presence, and we can choose to change our thinking, to move toward the assurance of our position and relationship with Christ. "Though there be clouds in the sky," Mason notes, "the sun can still shine brilliantly."

Tonight, I choose joy. Tomorrow, by God's grace, I shall do the same.

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