I am extraordinarily late to the bandwagon, but I recently discovered something revolutionary – the snooze button.
I will be the first to admit that over the last four years at university, I probably took two too many naps. Per day. Though even with all those naps, I never once hit the snooze button. I would set a five-minute timer or throw caution to the wind and hit the repeat on the initial timer. Never snoozed.
Snooze was not exact enough. It would not result in an alarm going off on a number ending in zero or five. I needed control over everything, including the preciseness of my rest.
There was some comfort in the control of my stress, but there was no joy.
Joy = Strength
After returning from exile and repairing the wall around Jerusalem, the Law was read to the Israelites. To encourage the people, Nehemiah said to them:
“…‘This day is holy to the Lordyour God; do not mourn or weep.’ For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law. Then he said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’” (Nehemiah chapter 8 verses 9 and 10)
Their encouragement and their comfort came from the reassurance that the strength to move forward, to heal, and to keep the law was through God’s joy.
Nehemiah encouraged them that day not to be bogged down in the pressure of keeping the law. He encouraged them instead to feast, be merry, and understand the comfort that the Law provides.
In their stress and sudden realisation of loss of control, the Israelites were reminded to remain joyful. Joy would give them the strength to remain in control of their obedience to the law.
They were instructed to be joyful – like it was a choice to be made.
Throughout the Bible we are reminded to be joyful, to rejoice always. And again, I say rejoice! If we are to remain joyful always, it makes sense that we, just like the Israelites, will need to choose joy.
It seems somewhat bizarre that joy is a choice, but for that we must understand how it is different from a fleeting emotion.
One of the definitions of joy is that it is ‘a state of happiness or felicity’. A state of happiness. In other words, continual happiness. So, God’s command to always remain joyful makes sense, because that is what joy is – continual.
Like every other state feeling in our lives, like feeling rested or satiated, remaining joyful takes work. Joy is intentional and takes a choice.
How to choose joy
Coming back to my snooze button.
In a way I am busier and more stressed now than I was at university. Real adult life is hard. Despite being busier and more stressed, I am more joyful. Joyful because of the snooze button.
The snooze button allows me to start my day a little slower, ease into it instead of jumping out of bed and rushing right away. Even though I cheat the system by setting my alarm ten minutes earlier, starting slow still reduces my stress.
Setting my alarm to allow me to hit the snooze button and wake up slowly is how I choose joy. Starting me morning slow is my way of intentionally choosing joy.
The same way we need to intentionally make time for quiet time, prayer, and community, we need to set up a life that curates joy.
My mind was honestly blown when I realised the depth of joy that the simple action of setting my alarm ten minutes earlier. A simple snooze button and my whole day started with so much peace and continued with exceeding joy.
A snooze button, warm cup of tea, worship chapel, phoning your mom. Whatever it is that sets you up for a continual joy, ensure that it remains a consistent part of your life.
I leave you with this, my prayer for you written by Paul himself. Setting yourself up for joy also sets you up for hope – which I would argue leads to more joy. Our God is great like that.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans chapter 15 verse 13)
Petro is a recent physical education graduate from the University of Otago. Originating from South Africa and growing up in New Zealand has given Petro a love for all things sport and travel. Writing is Petro’s way of making sense of the world around her and expressing the words God places on her heart.