I recently finished reading a book that Court recommended. 'You Gotta Keep Dancin' by Tim Hansel is a perspective changing book that 'in the midst of life's hurts, you can choose joy.' 

This book came at an extraordinary time, that may seem cliche - dead week and finals.
The University of Washington has this incredible capacity to completely break you down: academically, emotionally, and mentally. It gives you tunnel vision, and gives you the perception that these classes are and always will be your entire life. These are not exactly joyful circumstances. 

But that's the point that Tim Hansel beautifully manages to express throughout the entirety of the book. 
Joy is not a circumstance. Joy is not your physical health. Joy is not the relationships around you. But rather it is found in an intentional, direct, intimate relationship with the Lord. 

There is a chapter in Hansel's book that I could (and need to) read over and over again because there will never be a day where I am able to fully and successfully live it out. The chapter is titled 'Choose Joy'. He gives five sections to this chapter that are essential to realizing about the concept 'Choose Joy'. 

1. Joy is a choice
2. Joy doesn't depend on circumstances
3. Joy is free, not cheap
4. Joy is a choice
5. Joy is based on being

Yes - 'Joy is a choice' is in there twice. That was not a typo. "Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. We cannot avoid pain, but we can avoid joy," (page 33). 

I am not going to say that choosing joy is easy. I am no stranger to pain and this is the last thing I often want to hear, and I also know that there are others who have a far more painful story than mine. I am not going to say that I have it completely figured out because trust me, I am no where near close. But we can not ignore the fact that pain is a part of our lives, and we can not ignore that life is short and unpredictable.

So I for one am going to choose a life of joy (and trust me, it's a lot more fun). 

xx Syd