Wednesday, March 18, 2015

the very belated birthday post.

So my birthday was last month, right at the beginning of the great month of feBREWary.  I do try to avoid it at all costs; I'm not much of a celebratory human, and the introvert that I am absolutely loves closing in, making it a meaningful and personal time, seeking and meditating and being quiet.  My birthday is usually when I do some earnest praying - what will You do in my life this year?  How can I expect to grow?  Where will I find You this year?

I knew a few things surely: I would take courage to pursue my dreams, find joy in contentment, and grow in resilience.

With that word barely escaping my mouth, I was suddenly hit with the definition of resilience:
able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.

I wanted to cry at the revelation of how much I know I'll be crying this year.
And sure enough, it's the brink of springtime, and this year has been so hard.  I've cried more in the past two months than I have in five years.  I've experienced deep, irreplaceable losses, brokenness in myself, and brokenness in my relationships.  I've felt so absolutely discouraged about what I do, and I've been questioning who I am.  I've been doubting my strength, and I'm more aware of my weaknesses.  I've had a slew of physical infirmities from hives that coat me like red paint, to numbing sciatica, to the worsening of my chronic tendinitis.  There were three deaths/funerals last month, and I even faced the difficult decision of putting my sweet dog down.  I'm horribly terrified of the loss and pain yet to happen, and as much as it humbles me to admit, I've lost a lot of my heart and hope in the process.

And all the while, I am trying to press into God and understand His love in all of this.  I'm trying to pray more and read the Word more and declare His Truth more.  I'm trying to be honest with those around me, and even more so, honest with myself.

poignant, accurate, staged, but not far from how I was found.

My wise roommate and I were talking the other night about our attitudes, of the reality that happiness truly is a choice.  And the things that happen to us, regardless of how tragic or wrong or unjust they are, should not dictate our attitudes.  We know who we are.  We know who we were created to be.  We know the impact of a heart at peace and a soul at rest.  We recognize the power of a transformed mind.  And for these things, we can have joy.  We can choose joy.

To choose joy doesn't mean that the things that happened (or are happening) to us aren't wrong, nor does it justify the harsh situations we find ourselves in.  It does not mean we must become comfortable or content in our situation, or that we can't be honest with our hurts.  The act of choosing to be happy is not a conscious act of ignoring the tension, or the need for confrontation.  In fact, the life of joy is to know an inner freedom, and even crave it for even those around us.  So, living a life of freedom solicits the need for confrontation, and necessitates the courage to stand up for ourselves and/or move on.  To have joy is not disabling and careless, but rather, it is empowering and electrifying.  We can be Joseph who, through the prison bars, could still see stars, and dream and hope and minister to our adversaries while maintaining integrity.  We can have joy in "famine, persecution, and sword," we can be the caged bird that sings.

I see now why God told me those things at the beginning of my 29th year: courage to pursue my dreams, find joy in contentment, and grow in resilience.  And I know I will need this piece of writing as a map back to freedom.  Because I say all these things, and yet, tomorrow and the next day and the next, I will still be in the face of the very same issues that existed this morning.

But I am choosing not to be the same person tomorrow as I have been today.  I don't want to keep living as I always have, and being dismayed as I frequently have.  I'm choosing resilience.  I'm choosing joy.


currently reading: Erwin McManus, Artisan Soul
currently listening: The Brilliance, Lent