Monday, January 1, 2018

The Journey to Joy

Have you ever woken up one day and realized that you really haven't been living your life, but drifting through it? Sort of a perpetual never ending cycle of going through the motions on auto pilot, showing up at all the right places, fulfilling commitments and responsibilities, trying to make sure you are here for all the 'moments' but missing the mark completely? Me to. I'm here now actually. I'm not exactly sure how or when I ended up here, but I have a feeling it's like that for many people. You stay busy with life, family, work, that one day you look up and realize while you are busy checking off to do lists and fueling yourself with coffee that you really aren't enjoying your life, not really being in the moments that you are trying to make sure you don't miss, that somewhere along the way you have lost your joy, your, peace, your drive, and even your goals. I get that. I am living that. Take this blog for instance. It's been four years since I updated it. I wish I had four years of great updates. To be fair, it hasn't been all bad. There's been a lot of great things happen and new experiences. But deep down, I can feel it. I have lost my joy, my happiness, and my will.

You think there has got to be more to life than this, why can't I just pull myself out of this funk? Well, I'm no expert by any means, but I figure this didn't happen overnight, so it's going to take time to crawl back out from under the rock that I have found myself. Sometimes it's easy to think that if circumstances were different, then happiness would naturally follow. While our circumstances do have some bearing on how we feel, they do not have the right to dictate how we respond to whatever challenges come our way. The truth of the matter is that somewhere along the way, I gave up. On myself, my family, my marriage, my goals, and my own happiness. It was easier to check all the boxes and go through the motions rather than admit the truth. I let myself go, I stopped caring about my health and watched the scale climb. My marriage is hanging on by a very thin thread. My kids have lost their minds....teenage years are no joke. Our finances are laughable. My walk with God has become an afterthought. Don't get me wrong, I attend church, I read my verses and listen to my Christian radio and it sounds great in the moment...but it's the application where the train falls off the track.

It's in moments like these I realize how far I have strayed from the woman that I want to be, the wife, the Mom, the friend. Somehow I have to get my motivation back, my heart, my moxie. I don't know how 2018 is going to pan out. You see, throughout my life I have learned to be the 'fixer' in my relationships. If someone I cared about had a problem, I would jump in and do everything I could to rectify the situation. It didn't matter how big or small the problem, it was my personal mission and responsibility to right the ship so to speak. It's funny how things work out sometimes though. The season that I am in I am realizing just how small I am. I can't control every situation, I can't fix every problem. 

Will my marriage my make it? Will my rebellious teenager ever accept authority and stop acting out? Will we get our finances under control? I don't know the answers to these fears, but I do know that I can't keep going on like this. Truth be told, I don't know why God placed me on this Earth or what His plan is for my life. I've always felt a slight disconnect and the fear has always been I'm not enough. The funny thing about fear is that I think it is a precursor to a life on autopilot. You are too afraid to fail so you never try. You shut yourself out, keep a guard up around your heart, and just drift aimlessly through your life.

As I write this, I know there has to be others like me. Worn out Mommas, wives, fathers, husbands or even friends. I wish I could say that I have the answer to lift your spirits and fuse life back into each of us. The truth is that I don't. I do know though, that whatever 2018 may bring, I must begin with myself. I can't help anyone else if I don't take care of myself first. The good thing about a New Year is that it's a chance to try again and that's what I intend to do. I've always made New Year's resolutions and failed miserably at them so this year I'm taking a different approach. Our church's Woman's Director gave me a great idea to come up with a word instead of a resolution. She would pray to receive her word and when she receives it she spends the next year digging into her Scriptures and incorporating that word into her prayer life, her teachings, and her daily life. I thought I didn't have anything to lose, so why not give this a shot. I mean, hey, you can't lose what you don't have right?

I prayed for my word. I wish I could say I had some divine intervention and I knew that God had spoke to me. The truth is, I'm not sure if God gave me my word for the year or if it was just happenstance. To be fair, my prayers have lacked a little heart lately...ok...maybe a lot of heart. It was one night alone in my living room with everyone asleep and the only light on was the Christmas tree. Usually, this quietness would bring me peace and hope for the season. It is one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season. However, this year, the familiar scene didn't bring out hope, but rather discouragement and despair. I began to pray for my word and asked God to let me know without a shadow of doubt that it was Him speaking and not my own mind working. Nothing. Just the stillness of the room. Defeated, I gave up. As I opened my eyes I saw the painting my daughter had done in Children's Church. It said 'Joy'. Well. There's something missing from my life I thought.

I decided that this will be my word for 2018. That is my goal. I want to fuse joy back into my life. No matter the circumstance, or what storm may come. This will be the focus, the tone, the desired outcome for this upcoming year. I've spent far too much time watching life pass me by, letting the things that I can't control determine how I feel and I have nothing to show for it. I've got a feeling that this undertaking isn't going to be easy. Remember, Biblically, our fight is never against flesh and blood, but according to Ephesians 6:12 it's against "evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places". That tells me this isn't going to be a walk in the park. It's going to require digging deep, fighting with all you've got, and stepping out in faith. It's not going to be easy. But I think if I can make it to the other side of this, it will be worth it.

I almost created a new blog for this post. One where I could write anonymously and share how this turns out this year. The ups and downs, the victories and the challenges, because I know they both will come. I figured if I was anonymous, I could save face. I could keep my 'game face' on that all is ok. It would have been easier. But nothing worth gaining is usually ever easy. I realize that I can't grow and hide at the same time. Maybe someone reading this can relate and it will help others realize they aren't alone. For others, they may think I have lost my mind. That's ok to. Wherever you are in your journey, I pray that you will find joy, peace, and fulfillment. That's what I'll be searching for.

Till next time,


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