Choose Joy

I was so upset I was literally shaking. My heart was racing, my stomach hurt and I was starting to sweat. My first instinct was to grab my phone and text my husband. I’m afraid what I texted wasn’t very nice. The catalyst for this extreme reaction? My in-laws had just called to say they would be a few hours early to our planned Christmas celebration. Crazy, huh?

No, not crazy that they would dare arrive so early (well maybe a little…), my reaction was crazy. I mean really out there. What was the worst thing that was going to happen? The table wouldn’t be perfectly set? The food not ready? My hair not done? Who cares? The problem is I care. In the quest to have a Pinterest worthy holidays and look good doing it, many of us have put pressure on ourselves and our loved ones that no one can hold up under.

As my irrational burst of anger subsided I weighed my options. Unfortunately the not so nice text had already been sent (Sorry honey, thanks for the grace!). I could continue to let my ugly nature get the best of me or I could step outside my selfishness and consider the big picture. I asked myself, “what really matters today?” Today wasn’t about centerpieces. Today was about gathering with family to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Today was a day for joy.

The first thing I did was call my sister. She listened to me pour out all my irrational emotions like only a sister can, and then spoke God’s truth into my heart. She reminded me that I didn’t need to lose it just because my carefully constructed plan went askew. She also pointed me to a book she had just ordered, “Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions” by Lisa TerKeurst, and suggested I stop that second and order a copy too!

I also remembered the words of a dear friend on Facebook the other day when she was hosting a truck load of relatives. Her post simply read, “More Mary, less Martha, more Mary, less Martha.”

I swallowed my pride and called my sister-in-law back to apologize for being so short with her on the phone. I was honest and I let them know that they had caught me off guard; the table wasn’t set, the food wasn’t ready, and I wasn’t showered, but my house was always open. And I texted my husband a quick apology.

During this season of chaos, it is easy to get caught up in all the little details that are so very temporary. Let’s focus instead on the things that last. Let us focus on joy. Joy is finding a way to be happy, even when things don’t go your way.

The next time you feel your focus slipping away, choose joy. Push the laundry off the couch and welcome your family and friends into your home with open arms. Take that call (maybe from a sister!) that interrupts your schedule and speak words of comfort and peace. Post some encouragement on Twitter or Facebook. Get alone and open your Bible. Put on some worship music, extra points if you dance, and choose JOY!



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