AUSTIN GUTWEIN

Founder of Hoops of Hope. Selected as one of the top 10 most "Caring Americans".
Author of Take Your Best Shot and Live to Give.

Choose Joy

January 29, 2013

Choose Joy

When I was younger, we lived in beautiful Southern California. Driving throughout the state was always spectacular, but one drive I especially loved was my drive home from elementary school.

I still don't know if I enjoyed the drive specifically because school was done for the day or because of the conversations I would have with my Mom as we drove home. Maybe it was a combination of both. Mom, if you're reading this, it was definitely just because of our conversations.

Looking back, I can still envision what seemed to be a rare, cloudy day. I remember the gloomy blanket of clouds as we drove. But as we reached the top of a crest, I looked down into the valley. I could see that the sun had burst through the clouds and was casting a bright light onto the valley.

In Indiana, there are many cloudy days when the sun doesn't shine at all. One day, as I thought about the cloudiness and lack of sun, I began to wonder whether the sun still shines on a cloudy day. It didn't take long to realize that yes; the sun really does shine all the time, 365 days a year. Even on days when it's a downpour and you can't see a glimpse of light, if you were to fly just above the clouds, you'll see that the sun is still shining.

As I've gotten older, I've realized the majority of the way I live my life comes from:

  • My relationship with God
  • Conversations/advice from my parents

One thing that I've really been thinking about a lot lately is something my Mom has always taught me. It's to find joy in everything, or simply, to choose joy.

My first semester of college, away from home and the abundant Arizona sunshine, caused me to realize just how much I love and miss being at home with my family. Being 3,000 miles away can lead to a lot of figuratively cloudy days.

But even though life can seem gloomy and cloudy, it's really just a choice about whether or not we choose to see the sun behind the clouds. No, we can't change the weather or many times our situation, but we can change our attitude towards them.

I love this verse from Psalms 5:11:

"11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you."

What if each day, no matter what life threw at us, we turned to the true giver of joy, God? What if we each day, we chose to look beyond the clouds to find the sun? I'm working on this a lot in my own life. Speaking from experience, I can definitely say it is a choice to rejoice. I find that even on the worst days, choosing joy can enable me to see sunshine thru the clouds.

What about you? What clouds your vision and keeps you from seeing the sun? Please leave a comment below. 

Tags: Joy, Sunshine, Family, Choices

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