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Daily Devotional

Choosing joy

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Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

I spent one summer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan planning and leading children’s activities. Before I arrived I imagined that the other staff members would be friendly, that the children would behave angelically, and that I would spend my free time at the lake.

As it turned out, the staff rarely acknowledged me, the kids refused to listen to directions and ran wild, and the weather was cold, overcast, and rainy most of the month. I became bitter and discontented as I longed for the summer that I had imagined and felt I deserved.

I went for a walk on one of the rare sunny days, bundled up in sweatpants and a hoodie, and stood on the bridge over the cove. As I looked at God’s creation, I was astounded by the contrast between the tiny detail in the flower petals and the massive hundred-year-old trees. I exchanged my discontent for gratitude and joy.

Every moment of the day, we have a choice: to compare life to our expectations or to thank God for what we have been given. We can rejoice in the small adventures and surprises that God hides inside every day for us to discover if we only give that day a chance.

Daily devotionals from The Upper Room

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