"We can't control what happens to us, but we can control our attitude." I'm sure you've heard this before in some way, shape, or form. I used to roll my eyes at these kinds of sayings, writing them off as too simplistic or "Pinterest-y." (For the record, I adore Pinterest). However, over the past few years, I've learned just how true this sort of mindset is. You never know what's around the corner or what curveball will be thrown your way. We obviously can't see the future and honestly, I don't know if I'd really want to. What we do have complete control over is our response to our given circumstances.

A couple years ago, I was struggling with feeling constantly worried and burdened by different circumstances, fears, what-if's, and so on. And then out of nowhere, while walking to the kitchen, it hit me: there will always be something to stress about in this crazy life, so why not find rest and peace in submitting these worries to a God who can handle them with much greater ease? Why not find beauty in the chaos? Why not choose to be joyful when there are a hundred reasons to be anything but? This simple realization that I can choose joy has been one of the biggest defining moments in my life. This one was a game-changer.

It's so easy to develop a cynical attitude towards the world and towards people. And honestly, I totally understand. We experience some heart-breaking things in our lifetimes; you may have every reason to be pessimistic and negative and I certainly wouldn't argue that. But cynicism will consume you from the inside-out. It will affect the way you speak, the way you treat others, and, of course, the way you view the world, even God. Here's the bottom line: whatever takes root in your heart will affect your thoughts, which in turn affects your actions.

Remember that you choose to be cynical--you allow yourself to sink deep into negativity and misery. But you can also choose to rejoice amidst less-than-ideal circumstances. It takes just as much mental and emotional energy to be negative as it does to be positive.

One Christmas morning, when I was about four, I received a pack of gum in my stocking and I was on Cloud 9. I paid absolutely no attention to any other festively-wrapped surprise under the tree. And that's seriously all I ever wanted as a gift when I was little: a pack of Bubbalicious Bubble Gum. I was pretty easy to please! I share this with you to encourage you to find joy in the ordinary and focus on the little things in life, things that make a difference. Maybe it isn't bright pink bubble gum, but find what makes you smile. My difference-makers, amongst many others, are wildflowers, cozy blankets, laughter, curling up with a good book on a rainy day, funny cat videos...honestly, it doesn't have to be anything too extravagant!

Though it may seem counterintuitive, there are so many reasons to be joyful. Find the good in the routine, in people, and in the world. You might be surprised by what you discover.