3 Steps to Take When You Feel Like Giving Up

 

Ever feel like you’re almost to the end of your rope and you just cannot hang on another minute? You’re not alone. Everyone goes through seasons of self-defeat, pain and anguish.

cat on a rope

It’s no wonder that we feel that way. What with the economy, the current state of unemployment and rising prices—to say nothing of global uncertainty and rumors of economic collapse in daily headlines—it really is enough to make you want to pull the covers up over your head and sleep until everything gets better.

Just so you know, that is not an option. Instead, here are three proactive steps you can take  that will give you the courage to keep going:

1. Verbalize how you feel. I would caution against making this a public dissertation. Write it journal style where you can keep it private.. Tell God how you feel. Say that you are angry and bitter or that you’re afraid to face the day. However you choose, find a way to pour out your heart. It is cleansing to get it all out because that helps to release swirling negative thoughts. While your situation may not change, the way you feel about it will.

2. Accept help from others. You really do not have to go through this by yourself. Once you determine where you are stuck, seek out help. If you are struggling with credit card debt, for example, go to NFCC.org to find a certified credit counseling organization in your area. Make the call. Ask for help. If it’s a medical situation where you cannot afford the cost of meds, reach out for help. Simply asking for help is going to guide you to resources you may not know exists.

3. Choose joy. Even when you are at the end of your rope, you still possess something very valuable: Your attitude. You can choose your thoughts. You can default to pain, fear and anguish or you can proactively choose joy. You can focus on all that you do not have and all the stuff that’s coming at you, of you can choose to rise above that and focus on what you do have—even if that is just the air that you breathe. Embrace it. Choose to think only about  things that are lovely, true and pure.

I do not personally know anyone who has a perfect life. On the contrary we’re all on this journey and the road can get rocky from time to time. I’ve come to realize that what I’ve been through can either beat me down and make me bitter, or I can choose for my experiences to make the difference in someone else’s life.

Kay Warren, has written a wonderful book, Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough. If the name sounds familiar, Kay’s husband is Rick Warren of Saddleback church. Recently, tragically—and since writing this book—Rick and Kay lost their son, Matthew, to suicide.

Surely, Kay’s determination to choose joy no matter what, has been severely tested. Still she is determined, through tears and sorrow, to choose joy. What a powerful message!

Choose Joy

I have one new, hardcover copy of Kay’s book to give away to one of you today! Join the conversation by clicking “comment” below. How are you choosing joy in spite of … in the middle of … even if … ?

At the end of the day, I’ll randomly select the winner. This excellent book could be in your mailbox in just a few days.

Check back later as I will be commenting with the winner’s name.

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  • Mike Daniels

    I definately need some Joy lately.

  • Tina

    Thank God for free will and the ability to choose which direction we will take in life.

  • Linda Crowder

    Now that I am in my “Senior” years, the thing that gives me joy is knowing that whatever happens to me here on earth, when I leave this life, I will join my lord. I have faith that he will open his arms to me and say “Welcome my child.”

  • Carol

    The joy of the Lord is my strength! Joy comes in the morning!

  • R England

    Mary you give me joy just by your article everyday would love the book

    • Mary Hunt

      🙂

  • Janet

    Timely article Mary. We all know folks who are struggling to hang on.

  • psherman115

    Just read Philippians 4:8 in a devotional—fits this so well.

  • disqus_HzihHx8fuz

    I try to always choose Joy, because it is really always the best choice. However, when you are in the midst of an overwhelming situation, it is much more difficult to choose joy, it is easier to slip into what I call my “pity party”. Right now I am waking up each day asking God for the strength to find Joy and ignore my troubles.

  • Lynda Mota

    I have a small poster that I have hanging in my bathroom that happiness is a choice and we all have choices and I choose happiness. It helps start the day off right. I have also been known to use “fake it till you make it”. It helps on the really bad days.

  • Ginny

    The joy comes from knowing with God all things are possible. In one month we will make our last payment on our home and we will be debt free. This is going to be a joy filled day!!

  • Joan Groe

    Even though we are restricted because of medical problems, my spouse and I thank God for the many good things in life. We attend concerts, listen to good music at home, and try to help others as we can. Keeping active helps us to focus on the joy in life.

  • Vicki

    I definately could use more joy and look forward to reading this book.

  • Jane

    From Paul’s letter to the Romans:For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life,nor angels,nor principalities,nor powers,nor things present,nor things to come,nor height,nor depth,nor any other creature,shall be able to separate us from the love of god.I keep this scripture on my bathroom mirror
    and read it every day to try and keep me focused on what’s important in my life.

  • Carol Hynes

    After 3 big household calamities ,including flood one year and fire the next, we’ve been more determined than ever to live with joy. We’re both okay so everything else is (almost) trivial.

  • Cathy

    Your article could not have arrived at a better time. Battling cancer and the devastation it has caused in my husbands’s small business I “hit the wall” last night and woke up very depressed. Your column was a reminder to look at the good things I have and continue to battle the bad. Thank you Mary

    • Mary Hunt

      Cathy … It’s a beautiful new day and I say that knowing that in the Northeast humidity the humidity is at 91% (Yikes!), that today could be another roller coaster ride on Wall Street and here on the West Coast it is still dark. Despite everything in the news that would try to make us believe otherwise—it is brand new, beautiful day!

  • Barb

    I often need reminders to stay positive when times are hard. Rather than dwell on negative things, I know I should count my blessings and be gracious. I have so many things to be thankful for. Even if I don’t win this book, I’ll put in on my “want to read” list!

    • Lisa

      This book is so timely. Joy is a choice and we can choose it to face all of life’s situations. God has promise that He will never leave or forsake us. He is ENOUGH for me!

  • Donna

    I share so many of your great tips and ideas with family and friends. My husband and I took and early retirement after 30 yrs.of service. One year later our pension checks have been chiseled down by negotiations of our former employer, as a result, we’ve went back to work to supplement our income. Thank you for your guidance in helping others and steering us in the right direction…you are a blessing! I’m sure I speak for many of us who read your e-mails daily. We appreciate you Mary!!!

    • Mary Hunt

      Thank you, Donna. You’ve recharged my batteries.

  • Kristie

    Whenever I am feeling down or even angry, I stop and thank God for what he has done for me and given me. A spoken or unspoken prayer can do so much!

  • Faye

    It certainly is a battle of mind. I will be forwarding this email to a friend who is suffering from depression and is receiving professional help. It is a challenge when a person no longer feels they have the energy to continue to fight. This is a great reminder that joy needs to be continually chosen.

  • Steven D

    I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for over 50 years. Now I’m also facing on-going physical pain from PMR. stenosis, arthritis and degenerative disk disease. It is extremely difficult to choose joy when I’m constantly having mental and physical pain. But on the rare occasions I experience serenity and joy, I am extremely grateful.

    • Mary Hunt

      Steven, your comment has given me a moment of joy—simply realizing that you took the time to post your comment here. Thanks!

  • Ron Fox

    I am a 71 year old Navy Veteran of the Cuban Missile Crisis, cancer survivor (so far), and disabled, Lost my Dad, wife of 33 years died unexpectedly 2 years ago, then Mother-In-law recently died. Positive thinking is a chore for me. I could use some “Joy” about now!!!!

  • Princess

    I have lost my mother in law, mom and husband of less than 3 yrs in a 12 mo. span. My 9 yr old grandson has a terminal disorder. I choose to cherish each day with him, find joy in little things, and “in everything give thanks-for this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning you!” Love this verse! Also Jer. 33:3! Make wonderful memories while you can!

    • Mary Hunt

      Princess … My heart aches with you. As I read that your grandson has terminal cancer, my mind went immediately to my grandson, Eli, age 3. How you are facing this with such wisdom and grace just speaks to the power of choosing joy. Yesterday Eli took my face in both hands, pulled me close and said, “Ahma, you are so beautiful and I wuv you!” Just melt my heart already!

  • Sandra

    A timely post and I am grateful. After 19 months, perhaps one would think the grief has abated, yet, it lies hiding, waiting until it returns almost full force. Maybe that’s the secret to going on…the grief returns but isn’t as horrible as it once was. Perhaps, in time, the grief will be manageable all the time, perhaps, in time, the grief will fade totally.
    As to happiness, I’m content and that’s far better than happiness, which is fleeting. Choosing joy is a constant goal and experience has taught me keeping busy helps; it helps a lot.

  • Belle

    I choose Joy everyday I have chronic pain and my husband has dementia. But I am very blessed. Thanks to you Mary we are debt free and have been since 1998. Being thankful is the best way to live. I want my treasure to be in Heaven and I am very thankful for all I have here on earth.

  • klmnh

    Choosing Joy is exactly that, making the choice. It can be hard. We have found that turning on praise music and having that in our home can really help put our minds in a more thankful and joyful frame. The struggles are hard but none of them took God by surprise, I try to hold on to that in the difficult times.

  • Dorothy Brasset

    What a powerful message to remind me to choose joy, and some very practical suggestions to journal and ask for help. Thank you, Mary!

  • Kate Emert

    My Husband lost his job in 2008 and has since decided to change professions. He has had a number of part-time jobs to keep us afloat, but is working on getting his education degree with an emphasis on special ed. When you do work for school you have to get a lot of background checks and this includes listing not only all the places you lived but all the places you worked and as of last count he had, had 22 jobs in 25 years ( it’s probably more now)…. Companies moved or went out of business or he got laid off but it means losing your job…

  • karen

    I am choosing joy instead of focusing on my husband’s disability, and the fact that if we don’t have a miracle soon, we will lose our home. I am focusing on the fact that we have a love that cannot be broken, a relationship with our Father in Heaven that has only grown stronger, and children and grandchildren who love us more than we can imagine. No matter what happens, we have a relationship with God that no one can break! What an awesome gift!

  • Beth

    What a wonderful reminder about choosing JOY! It’s sooooo easy to let the negative invade our thoughts.

  • Lara

    Choosing joy despite chronic pain and illness and all associated with it by appreciating the little things, and taking the lead from pet cats: Give them food, shelter and a little love and they are so content it’s inspirational.

  • Jude

    I have, in the past, been at the end of that rope. I am lucky not to be in that place now. But, it was gratitude which brought me back from the edge, gratitude every day, every night, whenever I felt the need. Gratitude brought me to a joyful place.Thank you for the opportunity to tell my short story.

  • Don Farmer

    Excellent reflection!

  • renee s

    I’m a nurse and work with uninsured/underinsured individuals and wanted to share some tips on dealing with medical bills. Non-profit hospitals are required to give a certain percentage of their income to charity care. In my hospital this covers current, future and past bills. Contact their payment assistance rep to see if you qualify for the bills to be wiped out, reduced or set up a payment plan. Many doctors will assist with a payment plan. Local churches will often help with medications and necessary medical care, tests and equipment. If the amount needed is large you may have to contact several with each chipping in a smaller amount. Your local health department should have resources for medical, dental care and community services. Many large teaching dental schools offer services at a fraction of the cost of private dentists/oral surgeons. The doctors are residents but I have found them to be well supervised and provide care just as good and sometimes better than private dentists. Hope this helps someone get started in the right direction.

    • Mary Hunt

      Thanks Renee! Great tip … I’ll pass it along in an upcoming post. mh

      • DianaB

        This information is spot on. Unfortunately, patients do not always know about these things and the social worker/patient advocate won’t tell you either, unless you ask specifically. It is too late in some cases to even get assistance that one could use. There are patient advocates that need to step up their game and ask the questions and make the offers to assist. Most of them do not unless a patient asks them. That is tragic, in itself. Most care providers will not offer, either, unless specifically asked. The patient or person involved usually has to do all the investigating themselves to even begin to find help or answers.

  • Annee C

    Choosing Joy….despite after 39 yrs in full time ministry…it looks like our “mission” church is going under financially…..

  • Theresa

    Presently dealing with numerous bills from a sick dog, a daughter’s wedding, and my husband’s newly diagnosed disease. But, the dog is doing well, the daughter had a beautiful wedding, and my husband’s medication is controlling his debilitating symptom, so that’s all that matters. The bills will get paid off eventually. We cherish every day!

  • Kim

    I have learned that there is so much of life we don’t control so I focus on what I do have some control over. Sometimes worry over the unknown is pointless. I find joy in my family, especially my five grandchildren.

  • PraisinpegPeg

    I choose joy because the joy of The Lord is my strength. Joy comes through thanksgiving and I have much to be thankful for compared to those things that attempt to steal my joy. Having traveled to third world countries on mission trips, I know I have much to joy in! But those trips also teach me that its not my things, my health or even friends and family that can sustain that joy. It is the joy of knowing my Father loves me unconditnally, always has, always will. I am writing this from Brazil, where I am just ending a 10 day trip to minister with ShoresOfGrace.com

  • Joyce

    I choose joy because that is what really matters. I recently retired from 38 years of teaching high school. I am now slowing down and learning not to overlook simple things like hearing the birds sing in the morning when I retrieve the newspaper or marveling over the beautiful yellow blooms on our prickly pear cacti. We live in the Midwest, so those two things are really big deals after a long winter season! And I find joy in the memories of the many students I have mentored over the years. None of this costs money! If we choose to find joy, when the problems come along, they don’t seem so bad.

  • June

    Since reading todays column, I will try to choose JOY. My husband is verbally abusive and this morning, it was my fault that he did not wake up sooner, seems like something or everything is always my fault; so definetly need to read this book.

    • Ann

      Also read a book II recently read “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” I recommend it. I’m sure there are other books on the topic. Please find support. At least you recognize verbal abuse for what it is. Yes, choose joy and not being demeaned. Tomorrow it will be something else he thinks you have failed at. You deserve JOY. Grow and bloom! Ann, NC

  • Kathryn

    I choose JOY even though work at the moment is so very messed up. I still have so much to be thankful and joyful about! I have Christ. I have a job and a paycheck. I have a family who loves me.

  • Mrsanderson

    It has been a heck of a year with one trial after another but while I can’t always choose my situation I can choose my attitude…I choose JOY! If I choose negative emotions, then the evil one wins and I’m having no part in his victory. Thank you for reminding me this morning that’s it is okay to have negative feelings and emotions…what’s important isthe manner in which we deal with them. Just knowing what to do keeps the situation from being hopeless.

  • Carolyn

    Funny…no coincidence…I was just praying about this earlier this morning. I choose joy in spite of our 2 vehicles having to be towed and repaired in less than 2 weeks; our downstairs AC needing replaced and we’ve been suffering under the extreme heat and humidity here in the south; 2 of our young adult children are unemployed and also not in college – and presently living with us; a brother in the hospital with a serious staph infection; husband working 2 jobs to make ends meet (which aren’t “meeting” anymore) – and I could go on. But I choose joy and positive thinking. We have our health, our family, and our heavenly Father’s love and provision. I prayed this morning for that continued peace that God provides and that He will tell us what to do next. I asked for the view of the big picture and to keep life and circumstances in perspective.

  • Christine

    Looking for daily joy keeps one from deciding on a permanent solution to temporary problems.

  • Yemi

    This is a very important topic for my friend and me. In thepast month, I have been persecuted to almost beyond measure at my workplace, and the daughter of my friend, who I am staying with, just ran away from home at 18. She will be jobless by the end of the month. In spite of this, we both see God in this, and understand that there are some things we cannot help, no matter how much we try. We find solace in speaking God’s word to each other, listening ( and dancing) to good music ( that relieves a lot of stress by the way) and talking a lot. We also look at the bright side of what we have: life and health. Many people would exchange our problems for thiers! To everyone going through a hard time: God’s peace be upon you.

  • Karen Miller

    I am striving to find joy in the everyday moments, not just the mountain top experiences. As I drive, I ask God to show me some
    thing of beauty that I have never really noticed before. Then I thank God for the small miracles He gives me each day.

  • Marquita

    Good morning Mary (and all reading)! Mary- Thank you so much for your time, wisdom and love that forwards you to do this work. This email was so refreshing! When “life” happens, it’s good to know we have the option to choose our attitude and how we respond. Be it life or death, joy or sorrow, we decide! I have a friend that I’d love to encourage with this book. She has been hurt a lot and has a very negative outlook on life. She has allowed me to help her out of her “funk” so any advice or tools you have to offer would be greatly appreciated! Thank you 🙂

  • Jillian Patrick

    I love the title of this book – this is my goal – JOY even in the hard times – I know joy is a choice!

  • Susan

    Thank you for sharing info about this book! I really needed this reminder! In looking back, so often I discover that it really wasn’t the big deal I thought it was. As a nurse, I have plenty of opportunity to see (and hopefully ameliorate) suffering. Gratitude is the thing that brings me back around to joy every time. Please don’t give me the book; I am fortunate enough to be able to buy my own copy. And thank you for reminding me that keeping the focus on how I can serve God and humanity is what keeps me grateful for all of it!

  • Deb

    Joy is a choice and I should choose it more! 🙁 I’m working on it, though, and He has begun a good work in me will continue it until completion! 🙂

  • Vicki

    In the end, what kind of life would we have if we didn’t choose JOY? I am 62, almost…my husband died suddenly when I was in my 40’s, I’ve experienced wayward children, job losses and economic hardship…not so different from so most other folks. I learned 2 things, first, had I not had a close relationship with the Lord, I could not have survived these things, and two, had I not chosen JOY over anger, bitterness, resentment…during the trials, I would have had a sad and miserable life. God is faithful to His promises…Choose JOY!!

  • judy

    my husband died 6 months ago. I am left with a huge house, lots of debt, a 96 year old mother who lives 100 miles away. And also butterflys, orioles, sunshine, rain, and friends who care.

  • Birgit Nicolaisen

    Thank you for this reminder. My father is going home today after being in hospital for emergency surgery in February followed by rehab in a nursing home ever since. Today is definitely a joyful day in our family!

  • Karen

    Even though my husband left me after 34 years of marriage, and is living with his girlfriend, I am embracing my love of the outdoors and living my life with joy! I believe that God has a wonderful future for me…life is far from over!

  • Mary Watson

    I have the joy of the Lord because He is my Strength.

  • Lorraine

    I generally don’t share publicly about such personal things, but the prospect of losing a son is such a heart wrenching thought. Some years ago , my son had gotten into a problem. He was in trouble and had been arrested. My son had always been a good, honest person, but he had made a bad choice in his life. Once released from jail , he did all he needed to do to correct his situation. This is where I learned an important life lesson. I had such anxiety as my son was emotionally distraught and I feared he might hurt himself. Through this difficult time I was forced to learn when we are at the very most difficult parts of life… It is only God we can rely on and trust with our lives. I was brought to my knees and whenever it even starts to get difficult, I again turn all my self, thoughts, to knowing it is all in his hands and we must trust ourselves to him by faith. This may sound simple, but when we as parents suffer for our children’s sake and knowing we cannot fix their problems, we have a savior to trust who will carry us.

  • Marilyn

    Thank you for the inspiring words. They came at just the right time. I needed encouragement and strength to keep going. God bless you.

  • Molly Bartscher

    At age 75, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Today she is 88, wheel-chair bound, unable to walk or stand, speak or feed herself. She does not recognize any of her 7 children. For a while I grieved the loss of my “real” Mom. Now I cherish the fact that she is still here. I still tell her about all the goings on in our lives. Last week it was the birth of our #8 great grandchild. She may not know that she is my mother but I still know it and chat away as I feed her lunch every week.

  • Janet

    I need to read this book. Thank you for sharing the encouragement.

  • Lori Longairc

    I believe that those who have chosen to “Choose Joy” become inspirations to others and help spread that attitude. It’s not an easy task. My husband and I, as well as my best friend, have retired and are discovering that “The golden years” are not so golden. Yet, we don’t let our mounting aches and pains get us down. I always try to look at the bright side and help others out of their doldrums.

  • Rosemary

    In addition to everything else, add a loved one diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to the brain…your baby brother. Yup, giving up is not an option…

  • Jenny Mathews

    My 57 year-young husband was diagnosed 4 and-a-half years ago with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Looking back, I realize that the disease began showing its ugly head about 8 years ago. Since then, I have lost the man I married, but with the help of God and a great support group, I realize that I have also gained a new relationship with my husband, and it really makes a difference in my attitude. I have chosen joy!

  • bidz.buzz

    Hi Mary, Thank you for this uplifting moment………..Will you be making this book available for purchase…….I have a long amazing story……….about my 3 sons……..

    Craig – my gentle giant – an Angel – who is forever 14
    Adam – my Miracle………surviving a death defying fall from a horse
    Matthew – is my Gift from God

    and I am blessed

  • Kiwisgirl

    In 1998, we lost two cars and a newly renovated home to a tornado. We and our dog were fine, as were all of our neighbors. At that moment I realized that having life, not stuff, is the cause of joy. Everything else is really superfluous, attitude is all, along with a trust in God.

  • Bev on Cape Cod

    Dear Mary, I’ve been reading and loving your column for years! You have the gift of encouragement. When I’m feeling at the end of my rope, I remember Who is holding onto the other end of the rope and will never let me go. I thank Him for loving me. I try to get out and do something, work in the garden, go for a walk, make a call to someone I know who could use a lift. Being thankful and encouraging someone else brings me JOY!

  • Joyce

    My mother named me Joyce for a reason – so I’m turning in my retirement notice and plan to enjoy spreading joy for the rest of my days!

  • Still Praying

    A few years ago my husband lost his job and was out of work for 2 years. When he finally did get a job that he needed and enjoyed for 13 months, he had to have back surgery – the surgery went well – it was the after effects that nearly killed him twice – blood clots in his lungs, then MRSA which put him in a rehabilitation center for 45 days to teach him to walk, then more surgery to repair the damage the MRSA had eaten up. 2 10″ bars and 14 screws later in his back, he still needs more surgery. He will not be able to return to work, though only 52 and lives in constant pain. I have no physical pain, but emotional just watching him suffer. We turn to God always, but often I felt he gave up on us and almost gave up on him – till I remember our miracle son. When young, I was told I’d probably never be able to have children. I believe (and I think so do my doctors) that God granted our prayers by giving us our “miracle” son. He’s now planning his wedding – and that’s too gets us through – we keep plugging away so we can see that day – and afterward, hopefully grandkids! That’s what keeps us going.

  • Barb

    I struggle with low energy and feeling well after being given radioactive iodine for Graves Disease 17 years ago. I enjoy traveling to spend time with my 7 grandchildren and am blessed to visit almost weekly with my 85 year old mother. I just learned that my compounded medicine will no longer be covered by insurance, so I will be talking with the pharmacist and praying we can find an affordable solution. God has given me the gift of time after retiring from a full-time job, and I joyfully help as I can with bookkeeping, child care and Celebrate Recovery through my church!

  • Mary G

    God is my source of joy. He is always stable. He knows what lies ahead for me and I trust that He is always by my side. Every day, I have to make a conscious decision to CHOOSE joy. Yes, it’s more difficult some days than others. People and events may steal away my happiness at any moment, but nothing can steal my inner joy that I choose to keep. Like everyone else, I have gone through and am going through trials and tribulations, but my choosing joy and trusting God’s path for me keeps me going and feeling grateful for the blessings in my life . . . like Mary Hunt 🙂

  • Catholiceducator

    It seems everyone has issues with finances, health, and more these days. I think the key is taking things one step and one day–even one minute– at a time, living simply, and for me, my faith is key. God is in control, not us. Praying not only for my intentions but also for others helps me, too. Great subject, Mary!

  • Catholiceducator

    Just read many of the posts here, and some are heart-wrenching. Please know I’m praying for you!

  • Marna

    When I am feeling down I go visit a really lovely older lady I know and I always come away uplifted. She says I make her day. It is so important to reach out.

  • Priscilla

    I have to choose Joy…I have no other choice. My lower back pain is permanent, non stop, 24/7. If I did not choose Joy, I would have given up long ago. So I choose Joy and it gets me through one more day. I try even harder to do things for others because it helps get my mind off me. 😉

  • I am choosing joy in spite of the challenges in my life, because not choosing joy would make the challenges impossible to bear. With joy, I can keep them in their proper perspective and continue to move forward. Not only that, but choosing to live my life with joy sets a positive example for my children and hopefully is teaching them to choose joy as well.

  • Sherry

    This message is exactly what I need today. The turmoil in my life keeps getting greater–even when I think it can’t possibly get worse. My husband and I separated five years ago. He quit making mortgage payments and we lost our house. My daughter moved back to my home state because I had no where else to live. I have lived in my mother’s house because she needed care. My “sister” is consumed with competitive jealousy and greed and has gotten Mom (who has dementia) to sign the house over to her and has now filed to evict us. My daughter and I have no where else to go. My daughter is involved with a young man who has many family problems as well. He has made some bad choices, but honestly the local police charge him for things that do not seem to warrant charges and impose greater punishments than seem right. I really am concerned about him because he has tried to rise above a very dysfunctional family and is a sensitive, caring person. However, he seems to be labeled and judged and will probably be incarcerated–I really pray that he will not. I do not have money for legal help, and Legal Aid have only given me a phone consultation about the eviction. I feel I have tried to ask for help for the different problems I face, but I keep hitting brick walls.
    I talk to God non-stop, but at times I feel completely alone. I am trying to trust Him through this.

  • Alice

    Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts today. I was struggling with negative thoughts this morning and immediately after reading your column, checked my attitude. I find “Joy” in giving and doing for others.

  • MaryBeth

    After 36 years of marriage, in Feb., my husband blindsided me and left me for a woman we square danced with who pretended to be my friend. I never saw it coming. I thought we had a great marriage. To say I was devasted doesn’t even begin to descibe how I felt. The pain was so overwhelming I thought I would just stop breathing. I thought of suicide many times. It has been a tough journey emotionally and financially since he had the only income coming into the house.
    I’ve decided to let it go and believe God has a greater purpose for me. I’ve realized through a lot of soul searching that my husband never really treated me with respect and I was always trying to get affection from him that he was incapable of giving. He made me feel that I was never enough. Subconciously, I knew there was a void in my life and was overeating to try and fill it. As of today I’ve lost 71 pounds, I walk 6 miles a day and lift weights and I’m fitter than I’ve ever been. At 55 years of age I’m starting a new life with a better attitude and I know that there is a man coming into my life that will cherish me, treat me like a queen, and who’s eyes will light up when I come into a room. I’m deciding that I AM valuable, I AM a good person, and I WILL be better than I’ve ever been. My best days are just around the corner!

    • Mary Hunt

      MaryBeth… You are an inspiration and example of how to take control of your attitude. Congratulations on being such a shining example …

    • MN

      Hi, I like your resolve and admire that you are improving your life but I would like to say that I wouldn’t count on there being a man who will treat anyone like a queen.

    • Ali Friedrich

      I am so proud of you!

  • Patricia

    I feel like I’m at the end of my rope and my kids are what give me the joy to keep moving forward. But God is kind and patient and will guide me to where I need to go.

  • Monica K

    oh how I needed this article today!! I am CHOOSING to spend as much time as possible – when not working – on soaking up as much of my 3 year old son as I can. Time is so fleeting and he is such an amazing boy. This whole working to live thing is getting OLD. 🙁

  • Forgiven70x7

    It’s eye opening to read others comments. Sometimes we think our situation is really bad until you read about others pain. It’s good realize that there is light at the end of every tunnel. We are never abandoned by our heavenly Father, though we may not feel His nearness all the time.

  • Linnie

    Over the years I have learned not to trust my emotions because the just come and go, they can be fleeting, happy or sad, ect… I had to learn to follow my GUT which is my soul and that is where my Joy lives. I Love to laugh and I hate to cry , but all are necessary , God given emotions. Happiness or sadness, anger, ect.. come from our environment, from the outside, our situations at the moment. Our Joy comes from within no matter what our situation. We need to learn to draw upon that joy daily. It beats any emotion any day no matter what. Forever Grateful!

  • Marygrace Coneff

    Living in chronic pain and fatigue is challenging on a daily basis. I had a friend write the word “giggles” on a piece of paper on one of my more difficult days. She put it on my mirror. It is still there. I will add joy to that word because both are inspiring. And I have gone back to ballroom dancing because I feel so good while doing it, even if I hurt after.

  • Liz

    My husband died unexpectedly last year due to a hospital-acquired infection. I have had to move from Louisiana to Virginia to be near our daughters, never having lived anywhere else. I have deliberately “chosen joy” and have been able to find many happy advantages in my new life, though I could easily have sunk into the “slough of despond.” It is wonderful advice! Thank you for the article!

  • Bev

    I have to admit that its not easy choosing joy over just covering up you head so you don’t have to face the day. But its the only choice that gets me through the day. I have lost my husband, not by death, several years ago and it is still hard for me at times to keep going. I’m single, not on the street but homeless, lost my job December of 2011. I’m working part time thanks to Gods mercy. I feel very lonely at times but my parents are always there for me. Some days are harder then others and I struggle everyday but the joy in my heart keeps me going. I thank God for His love and mercy toward me.
    Thank you for your encouraging words.
    Bev

  • Lisa W.

    Thanks so much for this post Mary. I have been struggling like so many others. I try to remind myself that although I absolutely detest my job and the stressful 75 minute commute to work everyday, that I have a job to be stressed about. I still have both of my parents and a sister that are all in reasonable health. It is somehow so hard for us to see joy when the negative are thrown at us constantly. This is a reminder that we need to try harder.

  • chopsterfaye

    I have always shared with my friends that I find joy in the smallest things in life not just the highlights in life. I can be sitting outside and just enjoy the sounds of nature and watching the different creatures building their lives. When I got divorced last year, I wasn’t distraught or even sad for that matter. I have two beautiful children from this marriage that I laugh with everyday even over the silliest things. God closes one door to open another for even better opportunities. I am dating a gentleman that I couldn’t be happier with. Life is good. Thank you Lord!

  • michele

    GOD never gives us more than we can handle. We may not like it, we may not understand it, but we must accept it and keep moving forward. I think, sometimes, that God has a strange sense of humor…. I, just like everyone else in this world, have faced many challenges in my life… chronic illness of myself and one of my children, the tragic death of my beloved husband eight years ago, family turmoil and strife and alienation…. We all have this in our lives; there is no escape. God’s challenges for me are just that, trials and challenges. Everything that happens is for a good reason; at that instant, I may just not know the reason… I try to live my life with no regrets–everything is an opportunity or learning experience that keeps me moving forward. Dwelling on the “negatives” will eat us up. Finding the joys in every moment of life, no matter how difficult, is what drives us forward.

  • Leslie

    I have had a large amount of stress and loss in the past few years.There are times when it sems overwhelming, but working to be aware of and grateful for the wonderful people and things in life helps a lot.

  • gigi570

    I grew up in a very chaotic, unchristian based home…..today I choose JOY! I choose to be the light of my home, I have had to make hard decisions to keep those family members away, to keep my kids in a happy and joyful and safe environment. Choosing JOY has given me the ability to be a mother that mine was never to me, to be the light of my home, to set the tone for my family. Choosing JOY has given me the ability to not let history repeat itself and make this a generational curse! Chooing JOY gave me my life back instead of surrenduring to the one I grew up in!

  • Debra Oehlberg

    Like so many others on this list, I have gone through trials and tribulations, some lasting for years. But the year I thought I was dying, I realized that the only important thing in my life was God. I started serving Him. I never prayed a selfish prayer for Him to let me live. But, He healed me in SO many ways! I am OK now. And, life has been happier. I had a wise preacher tell me that you should always have JOY, no matter what, because you will have a much better life when you die if you choose to accept it.

  • Nana

    Thank All of you who have shared your lives here. I think I needed to hear these things right now. God bless everyone here.

  • Joasia

    We will mark the first anniversary of our beautiful son’s passing on July 8. He died in a tragic car accident last summer while pursuing his dream. Through this painful year, we have relied on our faith to keep us standing (even though we wanted to crumble to the ground) One way we chose joy instead of bitterness or anger is the way we celebrated Zach’s birthday this year. On June 6, what would’ve been his 23rd birthday, we held a blood drive which benefited over 100 people, we delivered 451 pounds of non-perishable food from our community food drive to the United Food Bank, and we organized a packing party (packed 9,900 meals with our team of 33 people) to benefit the Feed My Starving Children organization. Days after Zach’s death we began work on establishing a memorial scholarship in his name at ASU (his alma mater- he graduated in May 2012) and are 90% to goal. We are seeking God’s purpose in this pain and have done everything we can this year to honor Zach’s name as well as work through the unbearable pain of losing a child. Our big dream is to establish a foundation in Zach’s name.

    ~Dream Big, Inspire, Serve~

  • Michele

    I try to choose joy even when things all around me are falling apart. As I have matured things rattle me but I try not to have these situations control me. I lost my dad to cancer last month it has been rough but I know my dad would not want me to bury myself in sorrow. With his death I realize how important it is to appreciate the little things and most importantly people not stuff.

  • grammygooch

    I have always said I am like a balloon, no one can sink me. I keep popping back up . We must all have faith and hope. I have read each and every comment posted so far and I am praying for all of us.

  • Joasia

    We will mark the first anniversary of our beautiful son’s passing on July 8. He died in a tragic car accident last summer while pursuing his dream. Through this painful year, we have relied on our faith to keep us standing (even though we wanted to crumble to the ground) One way we chose joy instead of bitterness or anger is the way we celebrated Zach’s birthday this year. On June 6, what would’ve been his 23rd birthday, we held a blood drive which benefited over 100 people, we delivered 451 pounds of non-perishable food from our community food drive to the United Food Bank, and we organized a packing party (packed 9,900 meals with our team of 33 people) to benefit the Feed My Starving Children organization. Days after Zach’s death we began work on establishing a memorial scholarship in his name at ASU (his alma mater- he graduated in May 2012) and are 90% to goal. We are seeking God’s purpose in this pain and have done everything we can this year to honor Zach’s name as well as work through the unbearable pain of losing a child. Our big dream is to establish a foundation in Zach’s name.

    ~Dream Big, Inspire, Serve~

    • Joasia

      I’m sorry this posted twice. Didn’t think it posted the first time. Tried deleting it but it didn’t work.

    • Mary Hunt

      Wow … what an amazing response to just a tragedy. As the mom to two adult sons, I cannot even begin to imagine the depth of your sorrow and grief. That you are finding joy through the pain is such an amazing thing. Thanks for allowing us to know about Zach and the family that is carrying his legacy into a hurting world.

  • Shawn

    When I am going through tough times, I try to remember that everything here in this life, on this planet earth, is temporary. I also try to remember that God uses tough situations to make us more Christlike. He is always with me and just waiting for me to ask for His help & strength.Shawn

  • stephany

    I, like Kay and Rick, have lost a son. I don’t know where I would be, had it not been for my relationship with God. I have joy in my life once again.

  • Dmb

    Joy is a choice. Good reminder.

  • Sonjia

    I agree. Happiness can be fleeting but true joy will never forsake us.

  • loveneverfails

    Love the cat pic!! Life is like a roller coaster ride….put your hands up… . To sum up for me: scream, ask for help & let Jesus be your joy! In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer I have overcome the world – Jesus

  • Cheryl

    I have major depression issues, so it is really hard to be joyful most of the time. But I know God loves me, my family loves me, and when I can make myself get out of the house to go visit them, just being around my kids and grandkids really makes me happy.

  • Roxanne

    The joy of the Lord is my strength! I don’t know how people survive everyday life events without HIM!

  • rjj71483

    I am constantly telling the youth at church to choose joy. What a coincidence that this is your book of the day. I find the Warrens books very inspirational and would love to win this. Thanks for offering it to us all.

  • Nancy

    I firmly believe in this philosophy of finding the joy in life. I have survived a bad marriage to an abusive alcoholic and now am thriving in a good marriage with a wonderful man – in part because I chose to find positive things in life instead of letting myself be negative about everything, which he tells me is one thing that attracted him to me. Now we are dealing with aging and ailing parents, a niece who is in a cult and over age so we can’t get her out, and trying to help out a nephew who fell off a roof at his construction job and shattered both heels and broke both ankles. We are especially trying to help him find the silver linings (one of which is that he wasn’t killed and didn’t have permanent spinal damage), and find what paths will lead him to a better life despite his accident. We are also trying to help some very close friends find joy in their lives because they are dealing with some horrible family issues. If I win the book, I will share it with them and with others. Thank you for having a wonderful column and a great website.

  • Michele

    I have found that I purposefully have been looking for and finding joy more lately. Things at home aren’t real great right now. I have chosen to look for joy in everyday. There are still beautiful things to see. God has shown me that.

  • MimiB

    It seems that every where we go and no matter where we look, people are suffering, hurting and in pain. Some have physical pain while others suffer emotionally with their spouse, children and loved ones. I was reminded of this as I sat in the ER this morning with my husband. A year ago, I was in the same ER with my mother as she lay dying after suffering with Alzheimer’s, a broken hip and blood infection. I also have a very long list of heartaches in my life such as death, divorce, run away children and bipolar and manic depressive children but I choose to look at my blessings. I have a God who loves me, a husband and family who love me, a roof over my head and a job. I may not like my job but it pays the bills and I’m blessed to have it.
    Last year, my husband and I decided that since we’re blessed to have each other and our jobs, we should “pay it forward” so we do random acts of kindness for strangers. We have bought dinner for an elderly man eating alone at the steak house. We have left nice tips for the single mom waitress who struggles to make ends meet. We given co-workers a ride even though its out of our way or we’ve helped them pay their water or power bill when they needed help. If possible, we try not to let the person know who paid their bill or who helped them. All they need to know was it is a blessing for them. That is how we share our joy. Thank you for sharing this book as I look forward to downloading it to my Kindle to read.

  • mcarlson154

    I am a teacher and the end of the school year was very tough with 2 students in particular. One boy has emotional issues and was ready to have a meltdown the last week of school. I chose JOY and remembered all the progress he has made this year and that he was probably reluctant to face a chaotic summer at home. I leaned on several other staff at the school to help me (and him) to get us through the days. I also received an email from a colleague that said when you get to the end of your rope and about to lose it, tie a knot and hang on. These other colleagues were my joy in those last days of school.

  • Judy

    How are you choosing joy in spite of … in the middle of … even if … ? I choose JOY by clinging to the truth of Philippians 4:8, you know, “whatsoever things are true”, etc. God is good, and God is Sovereign, and He loves my, and makes all things work together for good and His glory. God’s Word, which reveals God’s character is the source of all comfort, in my parent’s deaths, and all that followed, husband’s job loss, panic attacks, etc

  • Margaret

    Life and how we live it is all about choices and how we live with those choices both for our actions and in response to that which occurs around us or to us. My prayers go out to the Warrens as suicide doesn’t leave much of a choice only how to live with the other’s decision. Definitely choosing joy can be the best healer…

  • Mary Lengel

    I lost my wonderful husband of 57 years, last August. I have finally allowed myself to have a few big big cries.
    I have chosen to be happy, just because I love being happy. Misery and I don’t get along well. I don’t want to make my children miserable by having a

    long face, and don’t want anyone looking at me with the Poor Mary look
    I find that by giving thanksgiving each day and thruout the day, I can face ife with a smile. .

    Thanks for a great column.
    Mary Lengel

  • Andrea G

    This book sounds like one I should read and pass it along to family & friends that really would benefit from reading it too.
    Thanks,
    Andrea G

  • Jennifer Scheidies

    Mary, this exercise in typing out how we are choosing joy is a gift in and of itself. Oh, so many things come to mind. Big things and everyday things. Moved the family across 4 states for my husband to begin a new job. Here’s the kicker: Left a job he loved to give our family (3 kids) more financial stability and was laid off after 3 months because the company didn’t have the money to keep him. Four years later we are still financially playing catch up, but thanks to your advice and persistant frugal living, things are getting better. Throw in a near divorce, new jobs for both husband and wife, my husband and two of my children receiving a diagnosis of Asperger’s (it was a huge blessing to discover how to communicate with each other), a father-in-law battling cancer and the death of both of my grandparents, we had to look for and at the positive, no matter what, just for our sanity. I chose joy because it truly is a personal choice. Not a denial or insensitivity to circumstances. A purposeful blessing on yourself and for those around you. Because we have life- for all the joys and pains that accompany it!! Joy in nature, the feeling of paying off a bill, a song, a meal, a friend, making positive associations where there were once negative ones. Thank you!

  • Kathy

    I believe a connection to nature is paramount. Everything happens exactly as it should. My own personal tragedies are only worsened when I don’t flow with the ripples they have created.

  • Ana P

    Powerful message. Thank you for sharing!!

  • OVEEDA

    I turn to the only source I know has the answer for me,” THE BIBLE”.I find scriptures on joy, I also read Psalms 91. This is a very important psalm. It promises God will take care of us and keep us safe,if we will only claim them for our lives and our families. Usually after that my joy returns and I can about my day in peace and harmony.
    Oveeda

  • Connie Saunders

    Thank you for this post. JOY is a favorite word of mine and I have it on various items around my house. Many years ago, during VBS, I learned that JOY should remind us of Jesus first, others second and you (yourself) last. Perhaps this seems simple but it is so powerful and the way we should all try to live. A former minister also impressed on me that happiness depends on external circumstances but Joy comes from deep within and is internal. It
    is found in our relationship with God (or whatever higher being you choose to believe in).

    Those external happenings and circumstances often try to rob us of our happiness but they cannot take away your joy UNLESS you choose to let them overcome you.

    In this time of financial hardships, it is often hard to do but I hope that many more people will discover that JOY can be achieved!

  • Dad & Mom

    Our Son will be 29 tomorrow 6-25. He just left his wife and 2 small children a few days ago….He is very depressed and messed up. We are afraid he will do something. Please help.

    • Mary Hunt

      Dad & Mom … Which state and city does he live?

  • GBayfam

    It is a test of faith to hang on and choose joy. Especially when the better days still seem far away. This August will be 10 years since I placed a restraining order against my husband. Learning that he was abusing and molesting our children seemed to be enough to have “right” on my side. After nearly 9 long years in court battling alone against a well-paid attorney on his side, I learned that was not true. I asked my mother (who had recently inherited many millions of dollars from my father’s death) for help and she responded that “I was really in a pickle.” Over the last 10 years, I have lost my home, my daughter joined a cult, and my son has been depressed enough to attempt suicide landing him in trauma neuro ICU. My ex did not pay his child support or insurance but I was so grateful to not be in court every month, I left him alone. Today, I have $2.73 in cash, have job applications out every day, no health insurance, and very little food left. I missed my car payment again, and worry about the call to repossess it. In a week, my storage will be sold at auction that contains all my children’s baby photos, memories and documents, let alone furniture. I don’t even like writing this because it makes me sad and still leaves out so many more horrific details. I am joyful because I am still alive this moment and there is always hope before the end of the day … because I never give up and will still be working forward until darkness falls.

  • Myra

    If you watch children, they have joy and excitement over just small things such as nature and it helps to maintain joy in life by being with and watching children.

  • Trudy Rhoads

    It’s funny that your column should be about this. I recently told my Mom she needed to be happy with what she had, and not always wanting more. To drive home my point, I listed a few things that I would like to change about my life (hubby very disabled-needing special equipment we cannot afford, not having a car, small house falling apart with no room for our hobbies but plenty of rooms for the squirrels who live in the attic becuase of broken down soffits, daughter almost dying twice last year, granddaughter constantly ill, lost second job, etc, etc, etc).
    Yet, I often find myself thinking what a great life I have – God has blessed me with a loving hubby, daughter, son-in-law and 6 beautiful grandkids who are thrilled to spend time with me. A sister who helps me take care of Mom. A full time job which allows me time to handle all the family emergencies. I often just burst into song or wonder what people think when they see me just smiling for no apparent reason! LOL
    It is funny, a few days later, Mom apologized, not that she is always wanting, but that my hubby is ill. LOL You gotta find the funny, so you don’t go crazy with the rest! She completly missed the point of being satisfied with what you have! Laughter and joy are great survival skills.

  • Kim

    for some, me anyways, finding joy is like looking for a clean pane of glass in a hall of mirrors….it can be hard to see. I have Asperger’s syndrome, for those who don’t know what that is, it is a type of high functioning autism. although I was officially diagnosed when I was 20 (13 years ago) it is not likely that I will ever draw on any kind of funding, even though I, like most other aspies(nickname for people with Asperger’s) that I know, and know of, have difficulty getting and keeping employment. but I choose joy because I have a library card, and with that and some patience, I can get any book that I want to read; I have parents that are allowing me to live with them, at least for now and after I start my writing classes in the fall; I live within walking distance of the university that I will be taking classes at.

    • Mary Hunt

      Kudos to you Kim for setting goals and finding the determination to reach them! We all wish you well …

  • Judith

    Thank you for this, Mary. I needed to read this! I live with chronic pain and it is getting worse, and I used those very words when I talked to my Dr. Today. “I have come to the end of my rope” She made an appt with me for tomorrow but increased my pain meds til then. I will start concentrating on what is good in my life and would like to choose JOY!! Thanks again Mary for all the help you have given me for many years!!

  • Shell

    No coincidence…after having progressive and increasing pain from fibromyalgia/chronic pain syndrome and being on disability the past 11 years, I was speaking with a friend who is going through an extremely difficult time leaving a toxic relationship. I have learned the most important lifesaving contact is God. It is hard for me to “Be still..” Ps:36:10, yet the most rewarding calming technique to use. Oh yes, and to breathe! as my 86-year-old mother has taught me for decades. I had been a type-A++++, always on the go; God obviously had other plans to slow me down. Joy is all around us, literally. I thank God for what He has given me and for what He has taken from me since left to my own, only trouble comes and in very veiled forms. Thanks, Mary, for bringing me back to reality and Joy today!

  • Liz

    I have been beyond the end of my rope at times in my life. Luckily I found a group of supportive friends, and they taught me about gratitude. When we live in gratitude, joy comes easy. Figuring out 10 new things each for which we are grateful, and writing them down makes us learn to live in gratitude. There were days at the beginning when I could only use the ABC’s and acknowledge my gratitude for apples, bananas, cherries and so on. Eventually it comes much easier!

  • Jena

    I find it hard to find joy. After following many of Mary’s debtproof living advice to the letter, I get saddled with my 2nd baseless 3pt traffic ticket. I happened to live in Denver, CO. Back in March of 2008 I was given my 1st ever baseless 3pt traffic ticket in Aurora, CO for making an illegal right turn. Officer placed me in a street that I never was on – to make long story short I won the trial – Not Guilty. I didn’t think I would ever have to go thru this again. But, in April 2013 in Centennial, CO I was given another baseless 3pt traffic ticket for a prohibited turn when in fact I did not violate any traffic laws or signs. This 2nd one is pending my 2nd trial in July. Guilty or not these tickets cost time and money to defend. The first one, I had to spend $50.00 for a subpoena (person didn’t show but I won anyway). I haven’t even mentioned the illegal photo speeding tickets that are handed out in Denver, CO as well that created 3 million in revenue for the city in one year. I got one of these back in 2010 when I was one of many who didn’t know that traffic tickets had to be properly served. I paid the 45.00 fine and was just relieved that I didn’t incur points against my license that will increase my auto insurance. In addition to a photo of yourself, the mailed in ticket even includes a slip of paper that reads, “I waive my rights to be properly served” with a signature line. I heard that this happens in other states. I cannot be believe government is run by pick-pocketers. How dare this country call North Korea an axis of evil

  • Kim

    I thought I had left a message earlier today, but apparently it never went through! But, anyway, this is a great message, perfect timing and just the thing my boyfriend need as we struggle in the depression that is still going on around here! Everyone we know is struggling, and the economy here is a surreal, out-of-control nightmare!!! We’re all sick of struggling and struggling to keep our heads above water, and not getting anywhere, and it’s so discouraging, disheartening frustrating and exhausting! And more news of layoffs and foreclosures and homelessness still keeps coming! But we still try to find ways to have fun and do free things whenever possible, and keep each others spirits up, sharing food, offering skills and help when needed, whatever we can do! We’re lucky to have such wonderful friends and families! Thanks for all the good advice Mary, and your wise words are just as valuable!

  • Rebecca

    I so needed this today. My husband has been unemployed since Feb 1 of this year so we have been struggling financially and emotionally with unemployment for the past few months. We have 2 children (12 and 8) that are affected by this as well and today, we found out our older dog has a tumor and will most likely not live another year. I would like to officially resign from adulthood! I know I have much to be thankful for despite all this and I am trying to focus on the blessings in my life that I do have and be thankful for those.

  • Lorina

    It is a family motto and have raised our children to always remember:
    “God is all I need”. There is complete Joy in knowing that. Life may not always be happy or fun, but a relationship with Jesus is all I need! He is the answer to my Joy.

  • Karen

    This looks like a great book! My 15 year old son recently had 2 hospitalizations for mental health issues and I’ve learned through this experience that you really need to take things day by day and cherish the time with those you love because you really don’t know what can happen tomorrow.

  • Debbi

    My son died two years ago at the age of 26. I put one foot in front of the other and choose to live this gift of my own life , even when it is so hard some days. I choose joy and I choose to share my joy for life with others in any way I can. This is the best way that I can pay tribute to my sweet angel!

  • janetde

    After reading these comments, I’ve decided that none of my “problems” are big in comparison to theirs. Thanks for the reminder to keep an attitude of gratitude!

  • Rachel Keogh

    my best friend is going through cancer treatment and I am hopelessly unorganised and struggle daily with this but I choose the love of my children and the joy that this brings and the joy of a new blossoming friendship with is very valuable to me

  • Mycou

    For the last three years my husband was diagnosed with emphysema, COPD, had surgery for cancer, the cancer returned and he went through 35 radiation treatments, had double pneumonia and on top of all that he was just diagnosed with CHF (congestive heart failure). Through it all we have remained best friends and find joy in each others laughter, joy in the antics of our Kittybear, but most of all in life itself. We decided a long time ago that things happen that you can’t let get you down and we try to find the joy in just living cause the alternative would be to give up, give in and just not live. That to us is not a choice. We love life and the joy it brings no matter what!

  • Laura Loveberry

    Mary Hunt, I would love to win this book to give to my friend Tam who is married to Jan. Jan is battling with cancer and Tam refuses to leave his side. You see, Tam is in a wheelchair due to a tragic auto accident and Jan refused to her side years ago. These are soulmates in marriage support no matter what. This is the kind of complex strength and inner joy that comes from knowing happiness is just simply not enough…and Jesus is carrying them on this team journey. I nominate my friends Tam and Jan for the encouraging book!

    • Laura Loveberry

      Mary Hunt, I would love to win this book to give to my friend Tam who is married to Jan. Jan is battling with cancer and Tam refuses to leave his side. You see, Tam is in a wheelchair due to a tragic auto accident and Jan refused to leave her side years ago. These soulmates in marriage support eachother no matter what. This is the kind of complex strength and inner joy that comes from knowing happiness is just simply not enough…and Jesus is carrying them on this team journey. I nominate my friends Tam and Jan for the encouraging book!

      (This is my editted verse…I really should proofread before post button.)

  • Della Barbee

    Choosing joy is the thing I have done in dealing with the illnesses of my 2 daughters. Ruth and Rhoda are grown, but have always lived at home because of various medical issues. Ruth was born with a major heart defect and had the first of 4 surgeries at a day and a half old. She has severe swelling of her legs from an inherited condition and was recently diagnosed with cancer. Treatment involved the removal of her lower right arm and right breast. We do not know what the outcome will be. Rhoda lost sight in one eye several years ago from glaucoma and will soon have the eye removed in hopes of controlling her severe headaches. She also has various other conditions. Both girls are intelligent, creative and caring individuals. They are an inspiration to me. I have learned to find joy in each day because despite the problems, there is so much to be thankful for. I want to enjoy each day since we do enjoy each other and each day we have. I have learned to trust God and His leadership. As well as learning the name of the winner of Kay Warren’s book, I think it would be interesting to hear the story of the winner.

  • Bonnie

    In spite of severe Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I am profoundly grateful for the health and mobility to ride my exercise bike every day, dance and practice yoga, and go for a walk with my beautiful wife and my service dog every day. May we find relief from suffering. May we find deep abiding joy.

  • Beck

    God has given me the strength to help my elderly mother. My mom was very unfair to me compared to all of my siblings. Even my siblings feel horrible about how mom left me out of many things and didn’t give me the same things they got growing up. How a parent can treat kids so unfair those are just the things I can put into words there are many things like taking us to the “children’s home” for a drive by to make us act right and things that really make you feel horrible growing up.
    I help her but when I can’t actually do it for her(when she tries to manipulate and lies to me) I do it for God because God has helped me make it out of her house alive growing up. He has given me a great adult life compared to the life I lived growing up. Glory to God!

  • Mary Hunt

    And we have a winner! This beautiful hard cover “Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough” by Kay Warren, will be on its way as soon as we receive shipping information from our winner, selected randomly from all 150 entrants …. [drum roll please] Ron Fox! Congratulations to you Ron. Please message Josh @ debtproofliving dot com (make that into a proper email address).

    Many thanks to everyone for your participation. What an amazing thing it has been for us to read all of your comments!

  • Belinda Efurd

    Oh how I need to learn these lessons!

  • Kitty

    I lost my job 8 months ago and have not been able to find a new one. Along with the job went the health insurance for my husband and I. We can’t afford the dr or my diabetes meds. I am so depressed I just want to sleep and cry all day. I’m not like the other people who pray and choose joy. I am so angry and bitter still over losing my job and all that went with it that it hurts to smile and put on an act every time I go out in public.

  • Bev

    Thank you MARY. My connection to God has frayed and I need to keep my focus His Strength, no my weakness.

  • Judy

    Thank you so much for this column. We have a mentally ill son who is not working or going to school. He used drugs and alcohol to numb his pain, but, thankfully, he has been clean for over three years. This has been eating my husband and me alive. The night before your column appeared I made a T-chart of my life. The “only” negative was my son, and, while it is a huge problem, seeing it as the only item on the negative side of the chart made me realize the things I have in my life that are going well: a good husband, a thriving daughter, a loving sister, a paid for home and financial security, a wonderful career. Our support group has said that bad things happen to good people, and we have to take what life gives us and make the best of it.

  • Amy Lou

    I was diagnosed with non-small cell squamous cell lung cancer in February. I’m an x-smoker of thirty years. My chemo has caused such neuropathy pain that I haven’t felt like getting up to watch TV or read or sit in my beautiful back yard….I finally started to reach out playing Words with Friends on my phone and your intro/mail title caught my attention. It is amazing how God sometimes reaches out to you… I would not have expected my debt proof living site to address my pain and illness issues. If you don’t pick me Mary …I will seek the book out anyway. Thanks!

  • Darby

    I choose not to be bothered replaying all of the obstacles in my life and in my past! We all have burdens and most people have no idea what they are. I try to smile at others, volunteer in my community and be a stable source of positive in my family. At 66 I have had my share of pain and sadness but a strong faith sustains me. Think possibilities and give thanks for good health, safety and blessings.

  • bkvl

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Leann McClanahan

    Choose Joy…. I am writting to you on behalf of my mother who turns 79 next month. My mother is the strongest person I know. She is very strong in her Christain faith but I know when I look in her eyes as she grows older I miss seeing joy in them. When I was 10 my mother lost her husband my father and my middle brother, then nine years late she lost her parents and my oldest brother in the same month. I know she is no different that others that have lost love ones and she is very strong in her faith knowing they always went to church served the Lord and were Christains but I know that as her days grow longer and she older she is alone more and more and I know that missing her sons shows in her eyes. She loves to read and I am in hopes that the book will bring some hope and joy to her. Thank You.

  • shellseeker

    about a year ago my husband of 37 years abandoned me. he left me with a mess of an old house, two acres of land, and tons of debt. I thought he was my soulmate and I still love him once a week I weep for what I have lost. But everyday I wake up and reach out to nature and try to be grateful for what I still have.

  • Sad in PA

    I am feeling overwhelmed right now because of a mountain of debt, being on a fixed income, and having to take care of aging parents. I am trying to be positive but some days it is hard.

  • Joan

    I have just come through a very long period of taking care of someone who is mentally ill. Trying to protect her and still provide care effectively have taken a huge toll on my health and life and this is a time of making every effort to heal and rejoice in the birds singing, the warmth of the sun, and trust in God.

  • Elderrose

    My ex husband committed suicide 2 yrs ago and my husband and I still struggle to help my son get though this tragedy and bring some sense of peace into our lives. I would appreciate any sinister into this loss.

  • CdnTravelgirl

    I cant even begin to write down all the things that have come all at once, but realized at the end of my rope…….that I was still hanging on 🙂 Gave thanks for the things I did have….my precious babies! So greatful for all that you give me God, cause I know you love me enough to never give me more than I can handle 🙂