I can’t pinpoint exactly as to why the subject of joy has been so strongly on my mind these days. Perhaps it is somewhat related to the fact that Alicia Britt Chole’s book Anonymous has had an explosive, or more like--eternal, impact on me? Yep, I think I’ll blame her poetically earth shattering writing, which has the ability to break through probably even the hardest of hearts. So with that being said, Anonymous is a book I’d recommend to anyone. Trust me, dear friends. You just have to check it out for yourself!
So leading up to the subject of JOY once again…
As Chole (sho-lee) points out, seasons of bleakness don’t necessarily equate to failure. In our human minds, though? Oh, do we feel like huge failures sometimes. The world keeps whispering into our ears that we should produce more, be praised by our acquaintances, and succeed in everything we do in order to have value! But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s an excerpt from the book to rock your senses:
Life does not sleep—though in winter she retracts all advertisement. And when she does so, she is conserving and preparing for the future. And so it is with us. Seasonally, we too are stripped of visible fruit. Our giftings are hidden; our abilities are underestimated. When previous successes fade and current efforts falter, we can easily mistake our fruitlessness for failure…Abundance makes us feel more productive, but perhaps emptiness has greater power to strengthen our souls…With gratitude, we simply abide. Like a tree planted by living water, we focus upon our primary responsibility: remaining in him.
You may or may not be in an ongoing season of bleakness, and perhaps even desolate places. I don’t know, maybe you’re a new mother looking for your identity once again. Or how about a student just about to graduate from college—excited and over the moon about the prospect, but with no idea what you’re going to do next? I know, I know…You’re preparing to move to another state and just hoping that you’ll build worthwhile relationships. And if you’re anything like a Disney princess waiting to be swept up by your prince charming, you might just feel restless from all these years of waiting. And all these things make us feel like our joy is nowhere to be found because we feel so “hidden”, as Alicia eloquently puts it. We have the desire to be something, to be someone—all things that are actually harmless and instilled in us by God. However, life’s circumstances seem to suppress our emotions and dampen our abilities. And we simply feel STUCK.
But there’s good news! We don’t have to feel like that; joy is at the very fingertips of our souls and all we need to do is unlock it by being thankful in our present. Yes, you may feel like you’re going to burst from all the waiting and maybe even rebel to get your own way. But there’s a better way. Let’s not be like Frank Sinatra and sing to the tune of “I did it my way….”
God wants us to rest and ride through the desert that winter is. It doesn’t mean that you are failing in your current endeavors, nor does it mean that nothing is getting done in your life. He is at work behind the scenes as He prepares you for greater things to come. Don’t fret, just let your mind rest because these seasons of “fruitlessness” only make you stronger. They don’t make you less significant like pop culture suggests, although sometimes your emotions shout louder than wisdom and sneakily whisper that you’re just a face in the crowd.
And if you really think about it, more success and triumph only brings about MORE RESPONSIBILITY, STRESS, AND POTENTIAL PRIDE. But when we are “hidden” like Chole states, we learn to grow in the virtues of life and humility becomes our friend.
So don’t rush and don’t panic, because God is working in you and your current situation. Enjoy the solitude of the desert because it’s loud and chaotic out there! Be grateful in the HERE AND NOW, because looking back at the good times and looking forward to future greatness robs us from the joy we can experience in the present.
Previous posts on JOY:
I’m thinking that perhaps I should make this whole subject on JOY some kind of a series! While I don’t think I’ll be posting regularly on the topic, I will definitely refer back to it when inspiration hits.
Also, I slightly updated my navigation menu and changed FOOD FOR THOUGHT to REFLECTIONS. You may find posts like this one on that tab from now on. The LIFE tab is simply for random life happenings, events like our 2 year anniversary, and family/friend related posts. Have a beautiful day!
Do you sometimes feel like you’re in the deserts of life? If so, do you come out stronger or more impatient in the end?
What life situation do you have to let go of and just enjoy the ride?