Do you find it difficult to have joy when you are surrounded by difficult circumstances?
This sparrow sits on a bare branch and is basking in joy. I find that when I'm feeling like nothing is blossoming in my life and I'm going through a difficult time, I can choose to focus on the negative or Choose Joy.
The Lord brings joy in all circumstances, which is different and more fulfilling than happiness. I find it's hard sometimes to choose to focus on and receive the joy. In a difficult season, I find that I AM able to fully experience the Joy of the Lord and here is something that helps me and I hope it helps you as well.
Focus on His Attributes Instead of Your Circumstances
When I'm feeling overwhelmed by the apparent realities around me, I physically get up, walk out the door and spend time outside praising God, focusing on His character instead of my circumstances. Does it change my situation at that moment? No. But it does get me into a space where I change my perspective and I've found that is as powerful as changing the circumstances. If it's too cold to be outside, go somewhere you can spend time and physically get out of your space.
Don't Travel in the Negative Fast Lane
Anyone else know what I mean? You think about one negative aspect of what you are going through and then all of a sudden you are on a fast track of demise, thinking about all the ways this could go from bad to worse and your emotions get tangled up and you start feeling anxiety over thoughts that you created. Maybe it's just me.
But if you ever find yourself there too, what I have done is get out a piece of paper or my journal and write down something positive. Then I write something I'm thankful for. Some days it's just the bird chirping outside, or a beautiful oak tree blowing in the wind. Other days it's a family member or friend. Then I write down a more realistic version of my concerns and thank God that He is using it all.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
May this image remind you to choose the joy that comes from Christ even when your circumstances look "bare".