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Did you know that you can have joy right now? Every moment of every day, there’s a tray of feelings for you to choose from. It’s right in front of you.
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
Bless Online Discipleship For Women
You have the power to choose whichever feeling you want.
On the tray, offered to you are such feelings as misery, anger, bitterness, resentment, frustration, fear, indifference, passion, doubt, confidence, rage, jealousy, anxiety, hatred, love, peace, and joy.
Which one do you choose as your habitual everyday feeling?
Imagine the future and the quality of your life if you were to choose joy every day.
You see, there was a time not long ago when I had no idea how my decision what to feel every day impacted my health, life, and future.
My suicidal depression.
I remember how unnoticeable my negative feelings of doubt, dissatisfaction, jealousy, and anger were to me after my husband of just a few days started rejecting me.
Michel showed me that he prioritized his hobby over our marriage. He told me that his IronMan bicycle was his “other wife.” He admitted that he cheated on me.
I wanted to be graceful, patient, forgiving, and loving. But I justified feeling angry, bitter, resentful, and victimized.
I didn’t realize that my daily choices of my primary feeling impacted my health, my quality of life, and my future.
I failed to notice how quickly I was becoming who I didn’t want to be. What I chose to feel on a daily basis was shaping my future but I didn’t pay any attention.
“All of a sudden,” I found myself in bed, without any energy, indifferent, and sick, falling a victim to a severe suicidal depression. Why quotations? Because I didn’t become suicidally depressed all of a sudden.
I became suicidally depressed because of my everyday choices regarding how to feel. It had such negative impact on my health because negative feelings became habitual.
At the time, I didn’t know it, so my suicidal depression felt sudden to me.
Where joy comes from.
In my mind, I couldn’t be joyful when my husband was cheating, lying, overspending, and dishonoring our marriage.
I subconsciously thought that my joy was dependent on how Michel treated me.
Giving Michel all the power to influence my feelings daily led to my learned powerlessness and helplessness. Soon, helplessness led to hopelessness. The result of hopelessness was my suicidal depression.
Was Michel actually in charge of my hope, peace, and joy?
Romans 15:13 says this:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Reading this verse, I finally realized where joy was supposed to come from. I unintentionally misplaced the source of my hope and joy.
I somehow started drawing my hope from Michel’s behaviors toward me and our marriage and his actions.
My hope was in Michel instead of “the God of hope” like Romans 15:13 references.
The ultimate healing.
I realized why I had no joy. I saw how my easily-justified negative feelings became habitual and got me to where I was: depressed and suicidal.
I took responsibility for misplacing my source of hope and joy. I accepted the liability for giving away my power.
Now, that I felt empowered again, I wanted to be helped and healed. I wanted to choose to feel hopeful and joyful every day.
What was my first step out of depression toward joy?
Psalm 28:7 says this:
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
Based on this verse, I created a plan of action for getting myself out of depression.
My ultimate depression healing recipe:
- Draw strength from Christ
- Trust in the Lord
- Praise God
- Be thankful
I placed Philippians 4:13 in my bedroom to be the first thing I saw in the morning and I began drawing my strength from Christ.
picture of the verse
I started developing a habit of trusting in the Lord. It required my complete surrender to the truth: God has a plan for me and He is guiding my walk.
No matter the circumstances, I can have joy based on my hope and faith.
video how to trust in the lord
Getting to know the Lord helped me trust in Him. I discovered that He gave us over 3573 promises in the Bible!
As I began to study His promises, trusting Him became easier and easier because I saw that He never failed me. At that point, I concluded that He won’t ever fail me. I had my history with the Lord and His promises to validate that conclusion.
standing on God’s promises poem video
I realized that trusting my emotions to define my feelings, behaviors, and actions was foolish. I noticed how easily and quickly my emotions were influenced my external circumstances.
I had a breakthrough: my subjective and ever-changing emotions are not a reliable source of information for daily decision-making, but God’s promises are objective, solid, and reliable.
That breakthrough led to the birth of my favorite poem. Can I share it with you?
“Standing on God’s Promises” 9/12/2017
Life is a series of seasons,
With moments of sorrow followed by happy moments.
To question God we have many reasons,
Especially when facing some devastating disappointments.
Sometimes we question God’s very existence,
Or just His presence in our lives.
We may confront the idea of God’s goodness with resistance,
Especially when grief our daily emotions drives.
Our emotions are not a very reliable source of information.
How we feel changes often too randomly.
That’s why to confidently walk toward our destination,
We need to immerse ourselves in truth extendedly.
We need to understand and believe God’s faithfulness.
We need to embrace His eternal promises.
We don’t need to make them up or guess –
Reading His word is what confidence encompasses.
In the Bible, there are 3573 promises,
The word “promise” itself occurs 50 times.
End of suffering, protection and forgiveness,
Peace and joy are guaranteed to us always and not just sometimes.
God’s promises are the only solid ground to stand on.
Everything else is unstable and temporary.
His word is the truth for us to lean on,
So that our lives can be for His glory and extraordinary.
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After I got in the habit of trusting in the Lord, my next step was to develop the habit of praising Him out of gratitude.
I started looking for things I could be grateful for and just that one desire led to the overflow of gratitude in my heart.
I began a habit of writing at least a page of grateful thoughts in my gratitude journal every day.
Practicing gratitude changed my attitude, and the “gratitude poem” was born.
Life is an incredible journey of growth and learning.
Having realized it, I begin with gratitude every morning.
Giving thanks for all my blessings is very healing.
This one habit changed completely the way I’m feeling.
The fear I used to experience was replaced with calmness.
The anger I used to feel was replaced with warmness.
The depression I was suffering from was replaced with joy
As my mind to its full capacity I’ve learned to deploy.
When my mind is filled with gratitude, I can’t feel fear.
Thoughts of gratitude prevent anxiety and keep my mind clear.
Dwelling on my blessings leads me to experiencing genuine joy.
Practicing gratitude every day, I can finally my life enjoy.
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From depression to joy.
The 4-step action-plan I shared with you here led me out of depression toward joy. I realized that the power to choose how to feel every day is mine!
Worshiping the Lord for all His goodness filled my heart with gratitude which in turn changed my attitude.
I wrote over 200 Biblical poems from my actual conversations with God. They became my “joyful songs.”
Psalm 100:2 says this:
“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
And so I did. One of the “joyful songs” I wrote was called “God, I praise you!” and I’d like to share it with you.
Remember though that my circumstances at the time were not any different than they were before. Michel was still disregarding me and dishonoring our marriage. The only thing that changed was my source of joy.
It was my one decision that changed everything: my health, my quality of life, and my future. The decision to take charge of my daily feelings.
That’s all that changed.
“God, I praise you!”
God, I praise you with my words and thoughts.
Glory to you for all your goodness!
I’m in awe to see blessings lots!
I reach out to you for life’s fullness.
Satisfaction comes from finding grace.
You reveal the path in the Bible.
For your truth and wisdom I shout praise!
I worship you, experiencing clarity revival.
God, I praise you for the good and the bad.
For all my trials and tribulations.
I praise you when happy and when I’m sad,
For both my accomplishments and frustrations.
I praise you at night and when I’m eating,
When driving or walking or going to bed,
When cleaning, cooking and when I’m reading,
And in the morning – for the day ahead.
I praise you, God, it’s my act of worship.
I feel your love and I’m soaking in it.
Getting to know you is like courtship:
The closer you draw me, the more I commit.
Are you aware of what your habitual everyday primary feeling is right now?
What would be different about your future if you decided to choose joy every day?
If you believe that the God of hope can fill your heart with joy, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and practice it daily.
I am joyful.
The God of hope fills my heart with joy.
I am giving Him all the glory and thanks.
With gladness I serve the Lord and my every effort deploy.
I praise Him for blessing me with my many strengths.
How will your health, life, and future be different now that you decided to choose joy?
Share with me in the comments below so that I can cheer you on.
If this devotional was helpful, download all #52Devotionals now.
Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.