Choose Joy

 Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to CHOOSE JOY and keep choosing it every day!

I have taken a little break from this blog over the last 2 week. After being told some tough news, I needed a break to process and think. Then I remembered that we must always choose joy in the hard times. Life is not always sunshine and roses, it’s hard and can change in a blink of the eye but if you choose joy you can get through anything.

Life’s Hard

There is a part of me that I do not talk about very often….It’s the part of me that causes my central nervous system multiple scars, otherwise known as Multiple Sclerosis. I do not talk about it because I have seen the faces of others when I tell them about this small part of me. The look of sympathy because I am a 24-year-old who has been told that I have an incurable disease. A disease that I do not talk about on this blog because I do not want to feel sympathy through the computer screen.

If you knew me personally you would know that I am as stubborn as they come. I believe that when life pushes you down you get back up and push harder. Well, let’s just say Multiple Sclerosis has humbled me. You see, I used to be able to get back up but now some days I rely on other to help me up when I fall. That is hard for me.   Acceptance is not easy…In fact, it is the hardest thing I have had to face. Accepting that my 24-year-old body will fail me. It will give out, I will fall, I will feel tired quicker than others, and I will have to become selfish in the things I choose to do.

Becoming mentally strong enough to hide my disease was easy. I like to appear strong to others, it’s where I thrive. I wanted to appear unstoppable with a disease that tries to stop me every day.  Turns out that is also where MS thrives when you try to out do your MS it turns the tables on you. When you hide it and use all of your energy trying to hide a disease that feeds on your body is when you start to lose the uphill battle.

And trust me, I am acutely aware of all that I have lost, physically, mentally and emotionally. I don’t need any reminders, I know it when I get up in the morning and stumble my way to the bathroom on stiff legs and feet. I’m reminded when I go to drink my coffee and pour coffee on myself or furniture several times before I can figure out how to grasp it tightly enough without shaking too much or when I have to hide the fact that I have an MS hug so others do not see my pain. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give up and lay around and wait for my body to start being nice to me again. Quite the opposite actually. In my mind, if I slow down I could lose what I have left and I’ll fight for that. I muddle through most days, slow at times, but always moving forward.

Choose Joy

This brings me to my two choices I have in life…To quit and let the downsides to life win or to choose joy. I have chosen joy. Joy does not simply happen we must choose is…How do you ask?

Live with the understanding that life is a choice. Stress is a choice! Busy is a choice! Joy is a choice! I think we all know which one we would choose over and over again. For some, this is a hard concept to learn.

Everything that happens to us in life is a result of our own choices. Whether or not we go to the gym, hit the snooze button,  or even talking to someone new who could have changed your life. The choices you make today will impact your tomorrow but remember that since everything in life is a choice you can choose to change things up. You can look for a new job or start eating healthier or go out and meet someone new. You can choose to change things. But more often than not we choose to complain instead of making a change that can lead us to the unknown.

Now here’s the thing, I didn’t choose to have MS…it kinda choose me. The only thing I can control is my attitude towards MS. I’m not saying its easy to choose joy every day. Somedays I simply cannot. But instead of complaining, I remind myself that tomorrow isn’t far away and tomorrow will be better.

So I will leave you with this reminder….When you choose joy,  you feel good and when you feel good, you do good and when you do good it reminds other what joy feels like and it might inspire others to do the same!

33 Comments

  1. I love you for writing this! Even when your reason to fell down is valid, choose joy. You have learnt a lesson at a young age that many who have reached their golden years have not yet. You cannot always control the circumstances but you can control your role in it. Amazing insight. God bless you and keep you.

  2. Kim

    I am reading a book that talks about making choices that improve our lives and make us happy instead of choosing to stay in our funk and accept the same old, same old. It’s so true that good thoughts lead to more good thoughts and to a more positive outlook.

  3. Beautiful post! I do not feel sorry for you but I am proud of and inspired by you. You are a wonderful, strong young woman and it’s great to share that with the world. Lovely site, graphics, and writing. Keep up the great work.

  4. Kay

    I care for a sweet lady who has MS. She lost her sight when she was even younger than me, when she had a whole career ahead of her which she then had to give up. I look at her and see her quiet strength and gratitude and am so inspired. I wish her situation was different for her own sake, but as far as “feeling sorry”, I only feel sorry that I’ve taken so much for granted in my own life and that I can’t do more to help her keep her physical independence.

    I’ve had some health issues this year and I remember thinking the same as you. No ONE thinks about their body giving way at all and to any degree in their twenties and thirties. It feels like betrayal! This should be the prime of our lives!

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’m really encouraged|challenged, and I feel like it helps me understand my friend a bit better too as to what some of her inward struggles might be.

  5. Claire

    Very inspirational and a hard post to write. You seem like a very strong person – you have great courage to battle so many unknowns if a terrible disease.

  6. Choosing joy is a choice. And from someone who in the past who didn’t look at life that way I can honestly say, choosing joy is so much better than the alternative.

  7. I definitely need to read this this morning. It is so hard sometimes to choose joy especially with 2 little kids. I have to constantly remind myself to enjoy these moments because they won’t last forever!

  8. Kamille

    This is great. I am a positive person overall, but there are days when exhaustion kicks in and I’m frustrated with myself. I start to doubt, feel insecure, and question wether I’m doing enough for my family. Articles like this one does help me a lot to put myself together.

  9. Hi Jenn,

    This is a fantastic inspiration for the day, and for life really.

    I do believe that joy is a choice. And it always amazes me when someone is sooo joyful and you wonder how is that possible? You can think that, “oh their life is perfect,” or maybe it isn’t but they’re smiling anyways.

    Smiles and joy truly are infectious.

    For me even when things are crazy and I’m stressed and freaking out about all things blogging related, I just smile, throw on some tunes and do it with joy. The alternative does not appeal to me. I refuse to be miserable.

    Thanks for the encouragement,

    Nadalie, It’s All You Boo
    My New Post: What’s Your Superpower?

  10. I love this! I’ve often talked about creating your own happiness on my blog and in life. It seems to be that the people who struggle the most recognize that we have control over our feelings and that it’s a choice to stay down in the dumps or get up and choose joy/happiness. I especially love the last sentence, “When you choose joy, you feel good and when you feel good, you do good and when you do good it reminds other what joy feels like and it might inspire others to do the same!”

  11. This is so good, it can really apply to all of our situations. Thank you for sharing the hard stuff of life. Even though I may not struggle with the same thing, I can relate in the lesson you teach.

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