Right now, I am reading the book, “Beauty Begins.” Recently, I came across this line, “We don’t get to choose what we struggle with, but we do get to decide how to deal with those struggles.” Isn’t that the truth?! If given the choice, I would never have opted to be infertile and childless. But I didn’t get to choose. God gave those burdens to me. Because of free will, however, I get to decide how I deal with these difficulties.
Dealing with Difficulties
For a long time, I was really, really sad that my struggles included infertility. In my mind, I would be happy when we got pregnant. I’d be happy when we had a baby. I’d be happy when we adopted. I’d be happy when…
But the pregnancy, the baby, the adoption never came. And I was tired of waiting to be happy. So, I decided to choose to embrace my life, my infertility, my childlessness. I decided to choose joy.
Happy vs. Joy
Now, you probably noticed that I didn’t say I chose to be happy. Being happy and being joyful are two different things. Happiness is an emotion and it is fickle, often based on our circumstances. But joy… Joy is not based on circumstances. It is not a feeling, but a choice. I realized that I could find joy even in the midst of my struggles. And finding joy helped me to feel happier.
So, what exactly is joy? Well, I’ve heard it explained this way… JOY is an acronym, reminding us to put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. When we take the focus off ourselves and our own struggles, we are able to look towards others. This allows us to celebrate the good with them and to help them with the bad, the difficult, the sad… And we are able to do this—put others’ needs before our own—because we have Jesus at the center of our lives. We put Him first.
And isn’t Christmas the best time of year to put Jesus and Others before Yourself? It is the season of giving, after all. And when we give, we spread joy. And when we spread joy, we feel happier.
If you are struggling this holiday season, I encourage you to change your focus. Despite the fact that many childless have every reason in the world to feel sad, try to turn your attention to others. Join a private saferoom for the childless (Several closed Facebook groups are listed on the Resources Page), and give encouragement to others in our childless tribe who are struggling this holiday season. Pick an angel from the tree and buy them a gift. (There are senior citizens who need gifts too, if you just can’t shop for a little.) Or simply smile at the retail worker and ask them how their day is going. Just spread joy!
And you know what? I bet you’ll discover that as you spread joy to others, you find some for yourself, too.
Fabulous one, tell us how you plan to spread joy this holiday season. Let’s inspire one another!