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Choose Joy

Originally published Wednesday, 05 March 2014.

I’m the happy one. In pictures, I mean.

I’m the one with the biggest, cheesiest or maybe I should just say “toothiest” smile!

No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to master that camera ready—perfect—mouth slightly-open type of smile.

Instead I have the in the moment—silly—wrinkled red cheeks—eyes shut—mouth wide-open—say CHEESE kind of smile!

I can’t help it. When I am happy, I know it, you know it and so do all of my facebook friends.

But I have to admit that until very recently, this bothered me. A lot. I would look at pictures and think, “How come I look so happy all the time?”

I even started to make it a point to say to myself, “not too happy” right before the flash in order to avoid having proof of my joyful moments!

Silly, right?

I know. But there was something about me seeing myself in a truly happy moment that would make me feel slightly ashamed.

It sort of felt like I was invited to a costume party, arrived, and I was the only one who actually dressed up. Everyone is staring and wondering why I would do such a thing...awkward!

Showing happiness, cheerfulness and joy subconsciously makes me feel exposed and dare I say, vulnerable.

Vulnerable in my realities and left wondering what others will think.

It means that I, a wife and mother of 4, can find joy in the moments I am actually living in.  

It means that I am content with where and what God has done and is doing in my world.

Showing happiness may actually mean that I am happy. Oh my!

Sadly, we live in a society that delights in focusing on the negative. For most, the glass is half empty with a slow leak. If we, God’s people, are not careful we find ourselves being drawn into a world full of “not good enough” moments, feeling too embarrassed to actually share our joy. 

Am I the only one who is guilty of this? Is there any chance you've struggled with appearing to be unhappy because it feels safer and a little more “normal?"

Well friends, on the count of three, I am smiling big and I am putting it out there.

I am happy.  

Despite what is happening around me, I am choosing to show that I am grateful and content with who God is, who I am, and who He is making me to be.

In my captured moments and in my daily realities, I am choosing joy.

Are you?