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Posted by Michelle Bezet on with 10 Comments



    Guest Author –
    Pastor Rick's Wife, Michelle Bezet



The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. - Psalm 126:3

Over the past year, it has been a bit of a whirlwind for me. My oldest son got married a little over a year ago, and his brother is now halfway through college. My oldest daughter recently graduated from college, got married, and moved to another state. At the same time, her sister finished high school, moved out, and began her first year of college. After 25 years of nurturing four of the most precious people on the planet, I was facing an emptier nest. (It’s not quite empty yet, but I clearly see it coming!)

Empty. I don’t like that word.

I needed a different word for this season, a word of encouragement to endure this transition. Just one word, God! I believe He began whispering in my heart one simple word - Joy. This word was later reinforced by three different people in three different ways. (It’s wild how God confirms ideas that He sends us, isn’t it?)

Facing a looming empty nest is the season I’m challenged with, but what about you? Whether you are planting a church or you have a newborn that just won’t sleep through the night (or both...at the same time!), you may find yourself in a season of challenge that can feel overwhelming at times. Maybe your daughter is dealing with relationship difficulties at school, or you have an aging parent who needs ongoing care. What season are you in where you need joy?

Since that moment when the Lord began gently dropping joy in my heart, I have stood firmly on Psalm 126:3, quoted above. The Bible uses the word “happy” about 30 times, while “joy” and “rejoice” appear over 300 times! Why does the Bible focus on “joy” over “happiness”? What is the difference?

Here’s what I have learned. Happiness is based on circumstances. It’s externally motivated. What makes me happy? What gives me a warm feeling inside? Warm chocolate-chip cookies, most definitely! Warm cookies are great, but when I’m finished eating them, then what? They’re gone! They’re temporary. Oh, I can always cook another batch and eat some more. And then some more. But then what? They’re not gone at all! They’re now resting on my hips in a not-so-attractive way. When the thing that temporarily makes me feel all warm and cozy inside is gone, (or has produced an unwelcome result!), then what? Will I still be happy? Great question!

You see, happiness depends on what happens, but joy depends on the Lord!

So what are some practical ways to choose joy on a daily basis?

Choose Jesus

Philippians 4:4 challenges me with this: “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice!” Joy does not simply happen to us. No, joy is actually a choice we make. One amazing quality of joy is that it is a fruit of the Spirit. So, as I choose to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in me every day, I am allowing Him to release a new wave of joy in my heart.

Life happens and circumstances change. If our security is based on our circumstances, then when circumstances change in a way that we don’t like, we might not be happy anymore. But Jesus? He never changes. The Bible says that He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. He even set the standard for me in Hebrews 12:2: “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Regardless of what happens, He loves me, He is always there with me, and His joy in me is complete.

Choose to Smile

Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 6:10, “Our hearts ache, but we always have joy.” The Message puts it this way: “[We are] immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy.” Practically speaking, I have to choose to put on joy. Just like I choose what clothes I wear each day, I choose what expression I put on my face. Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, and sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy!

Choose to Serve

The thing I love about serving the needs of others is that it takes my focus off of myself. It almost doesn’t matter where you serve. Just serve somebody somewhere! Here’s the litmus test of that: When you’re doing something that benefits someone else and it doesn’t benefit you personally, that’s serving! And it will benefit you, because it will get you outside of thinking about yourself. Serving helps bring a healthy perspective to the challenges we all face.

Choose to be Thankful

At some point every day, choose to simply thank God for His goodness and kindness towards you. I find that an attitude of thankfulness releases more of God’s joy in my heart. It builds an upward spiral of encouragement, versus the downward spiral towards emptiness that I was tempted to allow in my heart earlier this year.

My prayer for you today is that the Lord bless you with joy in your journey. As you choose to make room for Him in your heart, and as you choose to smile, serve, and be thankful, may He fill you completely with His presence, because in His presence is fullness of joy (Ps 16:11).

– Michelle


Jackie Childers December 10, 2015 11:18am

Timely, accurate and uplifting. Thank you

Corey Eremea December 10, 2015 11:59am

Perfect and so encouraging at this very moment... Thanking the Lord for speaking thru u

NLC Searcy December 10, 2015 1:19pm

Michelle you are such an inspiration as a godly woman and mother! THANKYOU for sharing these wonderful words!!!

Tonya Branch December 10, 2015 1:42pm

Love this! Thank you :) #joy

Kristen Stark December 10, 2015 1:46pm

Love button! Especially the last section about choosing to be thankful!!

sherri December 10, 2015 4:55pm

Enjoyed getting to visit with you at the leader's dessert this week. Your warmth brought me joy!

Heather Vaillancourt December 10, 2015 5:03pm

Such a blessing to read this! We choose Joy!! Thank you Michelle!!

Linda Travis December 10, 2015 11:18pm

Thank you for this. I enjoyed meeting you tonight.

Mary Walker December 11, 2015 12:43pm

Loved this, Michelle. I can even choose joy when people "just don't like me!" hahaha Now i gotta figure out a way to pass this along to Josh for encouragement. Love you!

Anonymous December 13, 2015 1:30am

This is a word of encouragement I needed tonight