Finding True JOY is a Choice

Finding True Joy is a Choice by Gayla GraceA few years ago, seeking to put some joy in our life and spend quality family time together, we decided to go camping during our kids’ spring break. Going to the highest peak in Arkansas to hike, fish, and spend family time around a campfire sounded great when we were making plans.

But we didn’t plan on rain.

Or a flooded tent.

Or wet food.

Or grumpy kids.

Where do you find joy in these things?

Where do you find joy in RAIN?

We know that JOY is a Fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. But how do we FIND joy in stepfamily life when our plans get rained on? And let’s face it, our plans WILL get rained on!

I think it starts with our focus and changing what we focus ON. We can choose to stay focused on our negative surroundings or find nuggets of positive change.

We can make the best of difficult circumstances or stay fixated on our problems.

As a child, I learned an acronym for JOY that can be applied as an adult:

J-Jesus
O-Others
Y-Yourself

If we look to Jesus for help and guidance, we gain wisdom in our decisions and can find joy in our circumstances. If we consider our stepchildren’s needs over our own, we build long-term relationships.

Joy describes an inner peace

It’s a sense of satisfaction that can be attained, regardless of our circumstances. Joy is a choice. We may not be happy with rebellious stepchildren or difficult ex-spouses, but we can choose joy in our heart as we look to the Lord for answers and contentment.

James 1:2-3 tells us to, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Trials are hard and long at times. Our family has experienced custody battles, disharmony in relationships, and the unexpected death of my stepchildren’s mother—events that threw our relationship-bonding backward and spiraled our family downhill for months, even a season at times.

I can’t say I always found Joy in the midst of it. I don’t like my faith to be tested. But I’ve learned that changing my focus matters.

Our camping trip didn’t turn out as we’d hoped.  Drenched sleeping bags and a leaking tarp put an end to our outdoor adventure.  We chose to start home a day early, opting for a movie and nice dinner out.

Since we couldn’t change our surroundings, we chose a different path—looking to find joy in the midst of disappointment.

I’m certain we will experience rain again on our stepfamily journey. It may be a drizzle or a downpour. But we can experience JOY in the midst of it if we maintain the proper focus.

Are you experiencing rain today? Where is your focus?

How can you find JOY in the midst of your rain?

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2 replies
  1. Jenn T
    Jenn T says:

    What a great thing- to choose JOY despite our circumstances!
    When I saw my step-son’s poster on the wall at school and he mentioned loving his dad, his mom, and his dog, it felt like a soggy sleeping bag in my heart. But then I remembered that he asked ME to have a Nerf-gun battle when we got home. 🙂

  2. Gayla Grace
    Gayla Grace says:

    Beautiful example of choosing joy when the circumstances aren’t what you’d like, Jenn. And good for you that you got asked to play Nerf-gun! Blessings to you in your stepmom role! God is faithful.

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