I Believe in Choosing Joy

When we wake up every morning, we are presented with a choice on how the day is going to go. We can choose what seems like an easy path of rational reactions to whatever situation is thrown at us, or we can choose joy and take on the situation with the confidence that God is good.

I do believe choosing joy is hard. How many times have I let my joy been ripped out from underneath me though sitting in traffic jams which never seem to end, communicating with others who clearly woke up on the wrong side of the bed, a bad day at practice, or even if my coffees not hot enough. Its hard to choose joy when family hardships, uncertainty, or heartbreaks come full speed into your life. These feelings have the power to overwhelm and disrupt any sort of joy, but I believe it doesn’t have to be this way.

I’m not saying I always actively and intentionally choose joy. I have had my fair share of hardships that presented me with a fork in the road – one way to throw myself an ongoing pity party and one way to rejoice and trust in God’s sovereignty - despite my circumstances.

Happiness comes and goes. Joy does not. Joy is something we constantly choose to live out. Fixing our eyes on how good our God is through the good and bad situations is choosing joy.

In choosing joy, I get to wake up everyday with a smile on my face and know that I’m unconditionally loved by our Creator. In choosing joy, I face all types of circumstances with the assurance of God’s goodness. In choosing joy, I get to experience this hard life we all live with God’s promise of eternal life. In choosing joy, I choose Christ. 

 

I'm back attending class, and I have to sit through a three hour long class called, "Crafting a Meaningful Life." It's heavily physiological and philosophical based, and the idea of one's purpose and life's meaning has already been brought up full flame since this class began three days ago. 
We were asked to write an individual "This I believe" essay, and we had the opportunity to share in front of the class. I first of all believe I am in this class for a reason, and I believe I could have an impact on informing some of the class about God and the sweet gift we have of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
 

Following Jesus as a Busy College Student

College: A time to 'find' yourself. A time to be who you want to be. A time to make faith of your own. 

My freshman year of college was the year I fully decided to walk with Christ and never look back. Choosing to accept the greatest gift in all the world, came with a fire in my heart to want to pursue and begin an eternal, deeper relationship with my God... That lasted for about a week until life got in the way. Classes, lacrosse practices, friendships, and everything above and in between was taking first priority in my life... Not Jesus. 

I've read previous blog posts about how to spend time with Jesus as a college student, but they all say the same thing - get up earlier to have a quiet time, or stay up a little later and do your quiet time right before bed. But for a student-athlete like me who has practice at the break of dawn every morning, and can barely keep my eyes open past 10 o'clock every night, those tips don't exactly help.  

Through the past couple of months, I have found ways to honor my busy schedule, but more importantly honor the God I live for. 

  1. Talk to God. You're thinking well, duh... But its something that has caught me by surprise a few times. When your driving in the car, or walking to class, talk to God! He is always there, wanting to spend time with you. Whether its two minutes or two hours, it's time spent growing in a relationships with the God of the Universe. 
  2. Find Community. Seeking out a Christian community will be life giving, whether it's from the local Church or one of the Christian groups on your college campus.
  3. Devo. On top of all the books you already have to read, I know, not another book! One of my favorite places to get my devotionals are from She Reads Truth. They are made solely for girls and women, and are fun reads. There is an online option and also a physical book option, and both are wonderful. If you want a good first one - start here :) 
  4. Knowing that We are Not Perfect.  Old habits can ease their way back into our lives, and sometimes we give in. It happens and its a part of life. It's easy for us to believe the lies we then tell ourselves - I'm no longer good enough for God or He could never love me the same. But sometimes its funny how stumbling can ultimately help us remember God's grace and His faithfulness. 
    (1 Corinthians 10: 12-13)
  5. Accountability. Between you and a friend, hold each other accountable with spending time with Jesus. Accountability partners are special. Give each other the right to be forthright and true. 
  6. Sing.  Sometimes, new things about the Lord are made most known to me through worship. Put on music at any time - in the car, studying, cooking dinner, cleaning - and praise the Lord!
  7. Pursue those Godly friendships. God has made us to have fellowship with brothers and sisters of Christ. When you are going through a dry season, or a incredible fruitful season, those friends are the friends who will speak truth to you or celebrate with you. 
  8. Light Up the Darkness. God has called us to go into those deep waters and pursue the lost.  Serving as a light to your lost friends is a form of worship in my eyes. Without the direct mindset of "I want to show my friends Jesus," you are doing just that. Your friends are seeing a difference in you, and I can guarantee some of those friends wonder what you have that they don't.

Being a Christian on a college campus is hard, but knowing that no matter what you do, where you've been,  what you say, or how you act, He will always be walking right by your side, waiting for you to grab on. 

Back to school: Planners

Yes, there is only one week until the new school year begins. I'm both crying and cheering thinking about my junior year of college and what it's going to entail. BUT, what is a better way to start the school year then with a cute, new planner. 

1.  'I Am Very Busy' - ban.do ($20)  
2. Leather Academic Planner - Gallery Leather ($26)
3.  Polka Dot Academic Planner - Sarah Pinto ($15)
4. 2016 Toile - Rifle Paper Co. ($34)
5.  Large Agenda, Black Stripe - Kate Spade ($36)
6.  Large Agenda Spiral - Lilly Pulitzer ($36)
7. Simplified Planner App - Emily Ley ($4.99) (For the tech lover)
8. Wise Words Planner - 1Canoe2 ($44)
9.  Simplified Planner - Emily Ley ($58) (Available Sept. 9)

My freshman year of college, I used a Lilly Pulitzer agenda. It is  great - lots of room to write, cute designs on every page, and it comes in all the popular Lilly prints.  Come my sophomore year, I wanted a planner that was a little more professional looking. I decided to use the Leather Academic Planner. I absolutely loved using it - professional yet youthful, durable leather, and double space to write. 
This year, I am going for the classic professional look, the Kate Spade Black Stripe Agenda. I'm always looking to change it up, and go for a new look.

What agenda are you using this school year?

(P.S. the Annual Lilly Sale is today and tomorrow only. Get shopping!)