Choose Joy

Sunday, February 19th, 2023

I want to pray that your spirit decides to connect with God instead of feeling miserable, and instead of thinking about all the things you'd rather be doing.
Lauren Koch


Do you know that you carry the life and the contagious joy of Jesus with you, even when you don’t feel like you do?  A few years ago, I was studying on a Friday night at the university library. There was no one in there. I know I had friends out, hanging out, getting food, going to parties, and I had a paper to write, because I procrastinated. Have you ever been there?

I was sitting there kind of moping in my feelings and just thinking about how much I didn’t want to be there and how frustrated I was that I had to do this, and I felt like I had all these obligations.  I realized I had a choice in that moment. I could spend the next three to four hours feeling sorry for myself, or I could choose to partner with what Heaven was doing.  And it didn’t feel like Heaven was doing much. I was just in a quiet, dark library, and I didn’t even see anyone around me studying.

So what did I do? I decided, reluctantly, to turn on my worship music and start writing my paper.  And after a few minutes, I felt the presence of God break down through my walls of frustration and kind of a little bit of anger.  And as I sat there writing, I was filled to the brim with the joy of the Lord. I was sitting there alone, smiling my face off. I honestly was looking around like, I know no one’s in here, but I’m embarrassed if anyone saw me, because I’m just so happy right now.  And as I sat there, a few more minutes went by and a guy from my history class walked by. I didn’t even know his name, and he kind of looked at me and then very quickly walked towards me and he said, “What are you doing?”  And I just got to say, “I’m writing a paper.  I didn’t wanna be here, but I just started listening to worship music and I’m so full of joy right now. Like, do you wanna feel this with me?”  And he kind of, he just accepted it.  I didn’t know anything about this person, but he was like, “Yeah.”  So I got to sit there and just ask Holy Spirit to fill him up, and he got to encounter the presence of God.

And I’m sharing all this to say that I didn’t go into the library feeling joy. I didn’t go in that night feeling excited to be there, or even like I had a piece of Heaven to share with others. But the truth is that I did, and I got to extend it to my classmate.

So I just want to pray for you today. When you go to your workplace, when you feel like you’re at home and you’re just doing chores and you have no joy inside of you, I want to pray that your spirit decides to connect with God instead of feeling miserable, and instead of thinking about all the things you’d rather be doing. I just pray right now that you encounter the presence of God and that you get to just send that to your family and to the people around you.