Today, I Choose

Is life just plain hard for you right now? Do you have trouble dragging your weary self from bed? Are troubled thoughts bullying your peace? Me too. I think we all have days like that, but sometimes, those days turn into dark seasons that threaten to steal our hope and our perspective.
Here’s the thing. When we let ourselves get all bent-out-of-shape, it doesn’t affect only us. The people we love suffer. They may even wonder if it was something they did that messed us up. Our influence suffers. People watching us may think, “Jesus doesn’t seem to make much difference in her life. I’m in better shape than her. I don't need Jesus.” Christ Himself suffers. Like the prodigal son’s father grieved his son’s rebellious absence, Christ longs to have us near and well.
It’s so much easier to wallow in our shame and self-pity than to bathe in His grace. It’s so much easier to focus on what’s wrong than on what’s right. It’s so much easier to stay down than to stand up.
Sometimes, we just have to make a decision that today, things will be different.
Today, I choose joy.
Today, I choose to trust God.
Today, I choose to behave like the free, blessed Child of God I am.
Will you join me in giving this “today” to God? Even if you’re in the middle of a bunch of ugly uncertainty? Even if you're rejected or misunderstood?  Even if you just don’t feel like it?
I can’t get over how easily I get off-track. Forgive me for allowing less-than-stellar circumstances, other people’s behavior and my own fickle feelings have so much power over my life. Enough! Today, I will choose differently.
Today, I choose joy.
These trials I’m facing will show me Your face like nothing else can. Test me however You need to, Lord. Make me strong through struggle. Keep me reaching my empty hand into Your bottomless bag of wisdom. Keep me practicing my faith until it’s doubtless, single-minded and solid (James 1:2-8).
I resolve, right now, not to let another human being steal my joy. Why? Because the joy is not mine. It is Yours on loan to me. How dare I allow other people play keep-away with something so precious? I will cling to Your joy like priceless treasure. I will not let it out of my sight. “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Though I feel like retreating, I choose to charge forth in joy, knowing You are my shield and my defense against anything I’ll face. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12 NIV).
Today, I choose to trust You.
Lord, You see the decisions I need to make and the things I need to say and the changes I need to make and the challenges I need to face. I choose to trust in You with my whole heart, so there’s no space for doubts to creep in. With my gaze fixed on You, I can’t go wrong (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Though You’ve lavished my life with supportive people, none of them are as trustworthy as You. We hurt each other with careless words and cold shoulders. We fail to show up when it matters most. We get so caught up in ourselves we can’t see the needs right in front of our faces. But, You, Lord, see us. You understand us. You meet us in our muck and lift us out. Forgive me for demanding God-like devotion from people made of clay. I will trust in You, and You alone.
When I trust in You, fear has no room to roam. When I trust in You, anxiety has no leg to stand on. When I trust in You, my feelings are tools not taskmasters.
Today, I choose to behave like the free, blessed Child of God I am.
Forgive me, Lord, for slamming closed prison bars You died to fling open. I am free, and I will live free.
Forgive me, Lord, for letting sin weeds overrun my soul’s garden. Let’s get our hands dirty, Lord. Help me pull every last weed, Lord, and plant the fruit of Your Spirit in their place. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).
With those qualities growing lush in me, I’ll represent You well, no matter my circumstances. No matter how other people behave. No matter if I’m in the mood or not.
My circumstances are the same today as they were yesterday. But, today, I choose to be different. Today, I choose You.
In the joyful, trustworthy name of Jesus, who gives me hope, I say, AMEN and AMEN

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