A few years ago, I took my daughter Chloe on a three-day trip to Mobile, Alabama, for a combined birthday/high school graduation trip. She knew we were going but not the destination until minutes before we hopped on a bus in downtown Atlanta. The biggest treat in store for her — for both of us, really — was concert tickets to see one of our favorite bands at the historic Saenger Theatre.
I didn’t tell Chloe about the concert immediately. I love surprises and couldn’t wait to see her face when she discovered this one. We strolled around town the evening before the show and I even walked up to the front of the theater, thinking that might give it away, but she didn’t notice the poster.
Just hours before the show, I told her where I was taking her, and she was as excited as I’d hoped she’d be. We arrived early, bought our souvenirs, found our seats, and then walked around the beautiful old theater. We sat down and pulled out our phones, eager to notify the world where we were and what we were doing.
I noticed a couple in front of us trying to take a selfie, and I smiled at how happy they seemed to be there, just as we were. But when the concert began and we jumped to our feet, I realized how big the man in front of me was. I envisioned a night of shifting and straining to peek through the gaps and get glimpses of the stage.
I knew right then I could fixate on the challenge before me (literally) or decide to wring every drop of joy from a night I’d anticipated for four months.
I chose joy.
As it turned out, the guy in front of me may have been a big man but he was also a big fan. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone enjoy a concert so much. His enthusiasm was infectious, a contagious source of joy to those around him.
My daughter FaceTimed a friend when the band performed one of our favorite songs, and our happiness took wing, flying through the night and across the miles, back home to Georgia. The man next to us got such a kick out of Chloe’s friend laughing and dancing on the other end of that line, two friends sharing a moment and a song — joy multiplied.
In spite of the visual obstacle, I enjoyed this concert the most of the four times I’d seen this band.
At the hotel, we took the elevator with a different couple who’d been there too. The woman’s experience was the exact opposite of mine: total disappointment. Her problem wasn’t the performance but the company. She had sat in the balcony surrounded by less-than-avid fans, and it stole her joy.
Not only is joy contagious, but its absence leaves a void.
While we can’t control the people around us or our surroundings, we do determine how we react to things beyond our control. Choosing joy when anger or frustration comes easier takes both work and intention. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he instructed them to choose joy, which is only possible if its source is the Lord and not our circumstances:
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
Philippians 4:4 (KJV)
Sisters, let’s not only choose joy but chase it too. What a brighter world we’ll leave in our wake if we open our hearts to true joy, let it fill us up, and then fling it wide into a waiting world.
Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Your post is a breath of fresh air!! I think there are some people who could literally be in paradise and still find something to complain about. There’s quite a bit to complain about these days, but we can choose to focus on the one gift we have that no one – not even the enemy can steal – the joy of our salvation. I’m so thankful that I am destined for a world that is nothing like the one we are living in. As believers, we have the promise of living with our Savior in paradise. We will get to attend the concert of the Ages that will be completely awesome. Joining with you, today, in choosing joy and being intentional in spreading it. In this world we will have trouble, but take heart Jesus has overcome the world. That’s something worth smiling about 🙂
Dawn Camp says
Bev, I love the visual of attending the concert of the Ages. Everyone has a good seat!
Dawn Camp says
Thank you, sister!
Tricia Sweeney says
I imagine choosing and sharing joy to be like a flower girl throwing out rose petals as she skips down the isle before the beautiful bride.
Dawn Camp says
You ladies have some amazing visuals today: love this!
i’ve got the JOY JOY JOY JOY down in my heart!!!!’
Dawn Camp says
Beth Williams says
Thank you for writing a post about happy. These days everyone seems down & out. No one shouts for joy anymore. I know there is a lot of strife & stress these days, but we have a lot to be thankful for. We can rejoice in God our savior as we know in the end we win. This life here & now is not the end of our story. One day Jesus will come back for his elect few & we can fly away on wings of eagles into the heavenly realms. Don’t let the world’s problems, racial strife, or election brew ha ha steal your joy. Focus on what matters-the everlasting love of Almighty God. Praise Him & thank Him for small goodies in life-like a nice concert with your daughter.
Dawn Camp says
Thank you, Beth! I needed a post about joy today as much as anyone. A big shelf broke loose in the middle of the night in our closet and I’ve got a lot of clothes dumped on the floor. My day was already busy. I’m choosing to think about the people who will be blessed by the items I’ll choose to donate instead of keep, and I expect to find at least one item that had been missing. Looking for those silver linings!
Becky Keife says
Dawn, I absolutely love this story! Thank you for sharing it and challenging us all to choose and chase joy in all things!
Dawn Camp says
You’re welcome, Becky!
Rosanna Thomas says
Loved this…great reminder!! Thank you…
Hi Dawn. I read your post before starting work this morning. As a result I chose positivity/joy over negativity as much as I could. Thank you for reminding me that I have a choice and that we have a source of forever hope and joy in God.
Nancy Ruegg says
Kudos to you, Dawn, for finding the joy in a disappointing situation. “Things turn out for the best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out”–Art Linkletter. Your evening at the concert proves his point!
Thank you for this!
Theresa Boedeker says
We have a choice, choose joy or not. The other night hubby and I were waking and all of a sudden three young women came walking towards us chatting loudly and excitedly in a foreign language and erupting into giggles. Their joy was so spontaneous that we burst out into laughter, not even knowing what they were saying. Although my husband said they had to be talking about boys. But we ended laughing the last two blocks home. Joy. Contagious joy. It intersects our life and we need to grab it. Passing it on to the next person.
This blog brings home the truth about joy or lack of joy in our lives. Often women succumbed to feeling inadequate, not enough, or good enough. Feeling of being judged by others. That may be true that we are being judged, however, if we stop to take stock of our own lives we begin to realise the incredible individual we truly are. Lack of Joy robs us of enjoying our present moments. Lack of joy keep us prison to our own feelings of inadequacy and many times it’s all for no good reason at all that we feel that way.
The key is looking to God and His purpose for our lives on this planet earth. I believe that looking to God takes our eyes from judging ourselves by comparing us to others.
Julita Galleguillos says
When Ezra said, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) he was speaking to the remnant of Israel who has returned to Judah to rebuild the city and its temple. It was a time of restoration, not only of the ruined city, but also of obedience to the law of God.
There was sorrow and weeping when the people heard God’s law and realized how far they had gone away from its teaching. But Ezra told them to rejoice and celebrate because of the restoration (Nehemiah 8:9-12).. That’s when Ezra said, “The joy of the Lord is your strength”.‚—Simplybible.com
Yes, JOY should be a main ingredient of a Christian life and it comes from the Lord Jesus. Hallelujah!