Joy is a state of mind

| April 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

Chaplain (Capt.) Carlos Molina
Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division



Everyday people like you and me live their lives hoping that one day they will find joy.

Unfortunately for them, joy is not something you bump into by accident or “luck.”

In fact, I am convinced that joy is not something you arrive at, but rather a state of mind through the journey of life.

In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul encouraged them over and over to “rejoice in the Lord.” He went on to recognize that he had not achieved everything, yet, but he continued to move on, “forgetting the past and straining toward the future with singleness of focus.”

As you and I journey through life, we can choose to be victims or victors. We all go through difficult circumstances — we loose loved ones to illness, endure financial hardships, suffer the betrayal of a loved one and more.

And while our experiences are not exactly the same, we all suffer. That is the nature of this fallen world.

Yet, what makes the difference is how we choose to respond to what life throws at us.

Paul was a man who had gone from riches to rags. Once he had been a respected scholar and religious figure, but after accepting Christ’s invitation to follow him, Paul became “persona non grata” in Jerusalem and spent his days between preaching and prison, beatings and persecution.

His life was not easy at all; yet, he could talk about the joy that filled his heart and drove his life.

He had experienced a transforming encounter with Jesus and further he had invested his time and energy to develop the most important relationship ever.

He became friends with God. It was this choice that made Paul a victor. Sure, he suffered a lot because of his faith, and in the end, they killed him, but they were never able to crush his spirit.

Some think that joy comes with a life of ease, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I say again, joy is a conscious decision of the mind that governs the heart. When you choose to be joyful, regardless of your circumstances, you can endure pain and suffering with a sense of hope and purpose.

It does not mean that you will understand everything or that you are somehow invincible, but rather it means that while you may hurt for a while, you have the assurance that you will come out on top, even if you don’t know how.

Not too long ago, I was asked where I would like to serve as my next assignment. I always wanted to go to Europe, and I was really tired of Afghanistan, so I said Germany. The day came when I received an email with my assignment: Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

At first I was a bit disappointed, but then my wife asked me if I was happy with my assignment. I remember what I told her: “Mi amor, I will be happy anywhere I go.”

Joy is something that I choose. It is too important to leave to chance. I choose to rejoice.

Little did I know how important that decision would be. But even less did I know that God had a great community of faith that would become my family. He even blessed me with a great unit, and I feel blessed every day I go to work.

So what about you? Are you choosing joy? Or will you leave it to chance? Will you be a victim or a victor?

I sure hope that you choose joy and be a victor!

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Category: Footsteps in Faith, News, Standing Columns

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