1) Choose joy.
Yes, this is something you determine! Choosing joy doesn't mean you ignore tragedy, trauma or challenges. It's about making a decision to choose joy despite obstacles.
Choosing joy even in the midst of struggle is important because the Bible says, "the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10) Especially in the throes of problems, we need strength more than ever. Making a decision to choose joy even in trials brings us greater strength which in turn helps us with issues we face.
That's easier said than done..." you think.
And I'm not naive.
I say this from the perspective of one who has overcome what therapists term, "complex trauma, significant loss and complicated grief."
Yes, choosing joy is possible, even when going through all that.
2) Be thankful.
1 Thessalonians 16-18 says, "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
We aren't expected to give thanks for a bad circumstance or tragedy but we continue to choose joy and be thankful in the midst of it. There's a big difference between giving thanks for something and giving thanks in the midst of it.
I don't have to be happy that a tragedy occurs but I can choose joy knowing that God is not the author of evil, and He is with me through any difficulty in life I might encounter.
3) Find joy in everyday things.
What we find joy, besides in God Himself, varies from person to person. Some of the items on my joy list are a quiet day at home, taking a bath, a bicycle ride, or reading. Discover every day low cost or no-cost things to do that bring you joy. Then do them!
4) Be Generous.
Giving brings so much joy. I am honestly hard pressed to think of even one stingy person I know who is happy or joyful. On the contrary I can instantly think of many happy generous people.
5) Ask for help.
There are seasons it is more difficult to choose joy than others. We are not without help and hope! Ask God and trust Him to help you. Psalm 28:7 says, "The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy."
Photo Credits: Deanna Doss Shrodes