I choose joy. No matter what the situation. Whether I fail a test, or receive a gift card to Taco Bell. I choose joy. Whether I wake up late, or sing well in my voice lesson that day. I choose joy. Whether I am discouraged by my own failure, or have a great conversation with my friends. I choose joy.

I choose joy because I need to.

I think it is amazing that God, our creator, has created us with different qualities, talents, and different perspectives. I believe with my whole heart that God has created me with joy, and to have that joy in all circumstances. However, that does not mean I don't ever get mad or discouraged or sad, but it does mean that I choose joy even in the hardest situations.

Something important to realize is that there is a difference between being happy and being joyful. Throughout my life I never realized there was a difference, but there is and it is important to understand how they are different.

"Happiness is a feeling based on our circumstances, and joy is an attitude that defies circumstances."

Before you get too excited about how wise I am, I received it from someone else, so unfortunately I cannot take credit for that quote. However, I believe this quote summarizes the difference well.

Happiness is a feeling you receive entirely based on our circumstances. If we get an a on a test, or a raise at our job, that is us being happy. Happiness is not a negative thing, but is defined by the success of whatever situation we find ourselves in.

Joy however, is on a different spectrum. Joy is a decision that no matter what the situation—refusing to settle at what is. If you fail a test, or get fired from your job, joy is studying hard for the next test, or asking your teacher about it, and not worrying about your grade. Joy is even if you are unemployed, you know that you will get a job in due time. Joy is choosing to be content even when the situation requires you to be everything but content.

And I believe that Joy is a trait given by God to us here on this earth. For myself, I believe that God brought me into this earth to be an encouragement to those around me. There are so many days where I am not having the best day, but there is something within me that motivates me to change the way I am feeling even if the circumstance cannot change.

That voice within me...that is joy, and I am grateful that God has blessed me with joy.

I do not say all this to brag or "toot my own horn." I say those things because there are people in each of our lives that are the joyful and encouraging—maybe you are one of them. And they are what keep a lot of people going when they find it hard to choose Joy.

Continue to choose joy so that people can begin to see that there is indeed hope in this life.