Choosing Joy

Choosing Joy

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It’s dark. Clouds are gathering overhead. There’s a storm brewing, and not just a natural one. No, there’s a war about to take place. The men of Rohan, elves, one dwarf, and Aragorn stand for battle.  Below them, Uruk-hai, ten thousand strong, have forged together to destroy the race of man. “Your friends are with you, Aragorn.” Legolas focuses on the enemy while giving his friend encouragement. “Let’s hope they last the night.” Gimli retaliates. No, he can’t see the trouble below him. But he can sense it. And then the fighting commences. Gimli calls to his now elf friend, “Legolas, two already!” To which the elf prince responds, “I’m at seventeen!” “Huh? I’ll have no pointy-ear outscoring me!” He hollers back. And the battle rages on.

In the midst of war, Legolas and Gimli choose to find joy. I know. It’s competing against each other how many of the enemy they can kill. But in the midst of impeccable doom, they find something to hold on to that will get them through the war ahead of them. All through-out Lord of the Rings, you’ll find some type of comment or even laughter that will bring joy. Why?

Because joy is a choice.

I’ve never really thought about joy that way, but it’s true. You see, I struggle with anxiety. I mean the debilitating kind that knocks you out for several days. I had an attack recently. It was a big one, too. It was the kind that sent my world spinning, even after it was over. With anxiety, comes fear. Fear of having another attack. Irrational fear of something happening to me. Fear of anything and everything. It took a week for me to get back to relatively normal. I do take anxiety medication, but sometimes, the attacks will sneak up on me, like it did that one night.

Three days after it happened, I sat before the Lord and cried. Why would this happen again? I was so tired of anxiety, of depression (which anxiety can and usually will lead to for me). I just couldn’t see straight. And then, it hit me. I need to let go of my fear. Let go of my anxious thoughts. And choose joy.

I may not be battling the Uruk-hai (and if I was, I think I’d run the other direction, screaming). But I face my own battle, my own war with anxiety. Attacks may or may not happen. But no matter what, I need to choose joy. So, I sat at the Lord’s feet, telling Him that day, I chose joy. Joy in trial, joy in good times, joy in pain, joy in sadness. Not happiness. That’s circumstantial. Joy is a choice. Will you join me? No matter what looms ahead, will you choose joy with me?

By the way, Gimli ended up winning the competition. He was sitting on a dead guy, and Legolas said he had 42 kills. Gimli said he had 43. Then Legolas shoots the guy Gimli is sitting on and said he was twitching. “He’s twitching because he has my ax embedded in his nervous system!”

Ah, Lord of the Ring! Ah, joy!

Joi Copeland About Joi Copeland

Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin. She lives in Denver, Colorado, but within the year, hopes to be living in Galway, Ireland. Find her on her blog or her Facebook page.


  1. This post really speaks to me, Joi. Even though my issue (and what I’m focusing on this year) is trust, I think it relates. I can choose to trust God and also choose JOY. It’s true that joy is a choice, and involves choosing to give God the rest (the fear, anxiety…)

    May God bless you and help you with your anxiety and thank you so much for this reminder which helps us all.

  2. Eight years ago, I chose joy in the midst of pain. God honors those choices. Thank you for sharing.

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