This Is The Joy

“This is the joy for me. I love bread.”

You may recognize those words as Oprah’s opening lines from a Weight Watchers commercial that’s getting a lot of play these days. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that Oprah is thrilled she can eat bread and still lose weight. While people are poking fun at the commercial a bit (I’ll admit, James and I chuckle every time it comes on Hulu), Oprah’s joy is inspiring.

I’ve been longing for this kind of joy lately. The kind of joy that makes you say: “I love life!”

But it hasn’t been coming.

Instead, I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense of pointlessness – in my work, my writing, and just life in general. I’m trying hard to make things happen, but I’m left feeling ineffectual and unsatisfied, and that’s been leading me to despair.

Maybe you can relate.

My thoughts often go like this: Nothing I do helps this situation. This project isn’t going anywhere. If I can’t change the outcome, if I can’t make things happen, then why bother trying? Continue reading

Hidden Things

FreeIt’s been a week. A week since I’ve written anything down. My prayers, my thoughts, the things I’ve been learning. And I miss it.

But even though I haven’t memorialized all the things that have been happening, I’ve still been increasingly aware of God’s presence. Because he truly is always present – omnipresent. And yet, I’m discovering that it’s in seeking him that I find more and more of him.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

“…to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.” (Ephesians 3:8-12)

So many verses like these are peppered throughout the Scriptures. Why? Continue reading

Not Paper-Thin or Pain-Free: Embracing Pain in a Healthy Way

Peach Flower

I am thin-skinned. An easily-bruising peach with a low tolerance for pain. As my family would say, I am a “delicate flower” – small things can upset the fragile ecosystem that is me. I wish I could say my paper-thin nature is limited to my literal dermatology, but it goes deeper than that – down into my heart and soul. An unkind word, a bad piece of news, or an unmet expectation has the potential to shake me more than I’d like to admit.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed a bit of a thicker skin – figuratively speaking, of course. I no longer cry when I get a wrinkle in my socks; although, if I’m being honest, that still bugs me. Like most people, my M.O. is to avoid pain and seek out comfort whenever possible. As a highly sensitive person, I experience my circumstances acutely. My surroundings, my feelings, and other people’s feelings affect me deeply. This is why I don’t watch the news, why I’m more prone to anxiety, and why you’ll never catch me watching a violent movie. Continue reading

It’s Like You’re My Mirror

FriendshipLife is funny. Just when you think you’ve understood something, it slips through your grasp, and you’ve lost the essence of the thing. You think you’ve come to understand the reason for your anxiety, your sadness, your compulsion to perform…but then you realize it’s even deeper than what you thought, and you still have so much to learn. There remains so much of God to know, so much he wants to reveal in you, so much to explore about others and how to love them well.

It’s like walking through a hall lined with mirrors when all you can see is the mirrors themselves, never the reality outside. The farther you get along the hallway, the more of the picture you can see. But it’s always a reflection, never quite real enough to touch, never the full picture. Continue reading