Choose joy.

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Racism, shootings, political division, human trafficking, disease outbreaks. These are the things headlining in our news outlets. It’s no wonder anxiety is running rampant in our society. (The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates there are 40 million adults experiencing some form of anxiety in the US alone. That’s 18.1% of the population. ADAA) Now I don’t want to simplify anxiety by any means, but I have to wonder if that big percentage has a little bit to do with the negative and fear-inducing news pushing its way onto our screens every day. I don’t believe we were built to handle knowing so many of the terrible things going on at one time in our vast planet. There’s so much to worry about and so much sadness; we start to feel defeated and we find ourselves boxed into a crushing depression.

In for KING & COUNTRY's song, "joy." they describe this phenomenon:

Lately I’ve been reeling

Watching the nightly news

Don’t seem to find the rhythm

Just wanna sing the blues

Feels like a song that never stops

Feels like it's never gonna

One solution would be to find a rock somewhere and hunker down and live under it. But I have a feeling that’s not an option. Take a minute, and read what David wrote in Psalm 23 below.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23

Man. That sounds amazing. I want to live in that picturesque green meadow and sing “Just Around the Riverbend” every day with my pet raccoon. Do you think that oil was from doTERRA? I mean, transport me there, right? Think of the peace David must have been in in order to feel so much joy. The trouble is, I don’t think David wrote this while sitting in a perfect meadow as described. He felt this joy by CHOICE. He had fallen in love with God so much that by merely being in close relationship with God, his surroundings and troubles dissolved around him and transformed into beauty.

The time has come to make choice

And I choose joy

for KING & COUNTRY’s music video for "joy." reminds me how contagious joy can be when we use our platforms to share our stories. Our stories can be ones of triumph or failure, but if we share our stories prayerfully, God can speak to others through us. The video starts by showing two newscasters talking about a fictitious storm that has swept the nation. One newscaster, Nancy (Candace Cameron Bure) dwells on the fear the storm has created, while the other, Randy (Joel Smallbone) tries but fails to refocus the topic onto something more positive. The scene breaks to Randy grabbing a megaphone. Everytime he uses the megaphone, a bright blue light streams out of it, projecting the infectiousness of joy. (“Give me strength to raise my voice, let me testify.”) The people affected begin to lose their fear and just can’t help but display their joy through dancing. It displays the value of sharing our stories and our joy, not only for others, but for ourselves to be reminded of God’s faithfulness in hard times. As the video wraps, Nancy feels the effects of Randy’s contagious joy and says, “On a brighter note, while our circumstances haven’t changed, I guess our perspective can.”

The song paraphrases Psalm 23:4 (Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me [KJV]) like this:

Though I walk through the valley in the shadow of night

Oh with You by my side, I’m

stepping into the light

I choose Joy

While we may not be resting on a hammock in a green meadow, we can feel peace and joy when we walk with Jesus. He is the master of transforming ugly things into beauty, of setting captives free, and of protecting his sheep. No matter what terrible things may be happening around us, Jesus leads, guides, protects, and provides. There is an invincible joy when we allow him to shepherd us.  

So how do we choose joy?

My favorite part about this song is that they incorporated bits of the children's Sunday School worship song, “Down in My Heart.”

I need that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart

Down in my heart to stay

I need that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart

Down in my heart to stay

It is so fitting because out of our entire population, children are the ones who have firmest grasp on what joy really means. In my previous blog post, “Help Wanted,” I mentioned the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Joy comes from the Holy Spirit. Having a child-like relationship with God can allow you to be influenced by the Spirit and to experience the joy we are after. Jesus taught us that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like children when it comes to their faith and relationship with him. (Mark 10:13-16) While there are different versions of the song, “Down in My Heart,” one version I love says,

I have the peace that passes understanding

Down in my heart,

Down in my heart to stay.

The peace that passes understanding. Boy, that would be great. We spend so much time trying to logic our way into joy. While that may work for a moment, it’s guaranteed not to last. It is not enough. We need to try to do what Nancy said in the end of the video and change our perspective be more childlike. Kids find joy in simple things. They don’t worry about what’s on the news and what could go wrong. They feel protected. They are very aware that they aren’t in control; the difference is that this knowledge gives them freedom, not worry. They pray boldly, honestly, and whole-heartedly. They experience God in the little moments. That is joy.

***I want to clarify that I truly believe Jesus can heal us of anything. And walking in close relationship with him can do big things for our mental health. However, I also believe that medicine and medical professionals are a gift from God that he wants us to use if warranted. If you’re struggling with anxiety or any other mental illness, please talk to your doctor about it. No one should ever feel stigmatized for their mental health. You and your mental health are so important to God.

Ashlee G

75 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All