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I’m getting married in 2 months. Actually, 69 days to be exact. On May 24, 2014, I will make the most solemn vows of my entire life, and officially become Mrs. Clay Selway. I will commit to not only share, but entirely give my money, my possessions, my future, my body, my soul to one man. Forever. No way out.

And he’s not “The One.”

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I love Clay with everything I have. He makes me laugh. He makes the bad days good and the good days better. He challenges me to be a better person, and comforts me when I’ve failed that challenge. He’s the kindest, gentlest, sweetest person I know. He’s my best friend, my hero, and the only man I’d ever want to be my husband.

But he’s still not my soul mate, and definitely not “The One.”

Not that I didn’t spend the first 18 years of my life longing to meet my “One.” Growing up, like any good midwestern girl, I was fed a steady diet of the idealized American romance. One boy, one girl – two star-crossed lovers who fight across space and time to fulfill their destiny of being together. From Disney movies to romance novels, I ate it all up. I had my own copy of “Romeo and Juliet,” that I read until the pages started to fall out. I literally watched “The Princess Bride” so many times I could have recited it in my sleep. I loved it. And I wanted it.

But no matter how I tried, I just couldn’t seem to find it. Even the best boyfriend I had failed my weighty list of expectations. No man in the world seemed like they would ever fulfill the ideal I’d built up. I sat around and lamented to my girlfriends ruefully, “I think God made me a man, but somewhere along the way he got hit by bus.” The humor was a thin veneer for some very thick disappointment.

After wading through the smoking rubble from a broken relationship with someone I thought was “The One”,  I met my now fiance, Clay, through some mutual friends. After a year of friendship, we began a careful dating relationship. 2 years after that, he asked me to be his wife. And in just 2 months, we will become one. But he isn’t “The One.”

You see, Clay will never be “The One.” In fact, I don’t even think there is a “One,” not on this earth at least. The very concept of a “One” implies that there is one, singular person out there that will fulfill every single desire of my heart, meet every single need, and heal every single hurt.

What an incredible burden! Actually, what a crushing burden. No man, not even Clay (and I admit I think he’s the best man out there) could do that. Think of who many needs, wants, desires, and hurts you have – could just one person ever take care of all that?

As a Christian, I believe that human beings have eternal souls. Souls that are filled with an immense, infinite amount of desires and wants. We need to be loved perfectly, to be known perfectly, to be cherished perfectly. But, as the they say “no one’s perfect.” And thus, no one, not even your spouse, no matter how well matched, will ever be able to fulfill you fully.

But our culture has told us this lie, and we’ve ate it up. And so we date, and break up, marry and divorce, all the while searching, searching, searching for someone, anyone to fill this aching hole inside of us. But they can’t. And they don’t. And they never will.

I think C.S. Lewis got it right when he famously said, ““If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

You see, I think we were made for another world. A world with no longing, no sighing, no searching, no pain. No disappointment, no unmet expectations, no broken relationships, no emptiness. A world with a perfect relationship with a perfect God; an Infinite being to fill an infinite need. And though we haven’t lived in that perfect world since Genesis 2, I believe that through Jesus, we can still have that relationship with God. And through Him, even while I struggle through this broken world, I have an infinite source to fill my never-ending need.

This is something Clay and I came to realize before we dated each other, and something we realize a little more every day. Because we both have a relationship with Jesus, we have all of our infinite needs, wants, and desires fulfilled. We don’t have to turn to each other for them.

This means that while I still receive things like love, affection, friendship, and affirmation from Clay, I don’t have to. I don’t demand them, but rather can receive them as a gift. On the bad days (or weeks, or months, or years), I don’t have to receive anything from Clay. Fulfilled in my relationship with God, I can choose to serve Clay when he’s not serving me, give when he’s only taking, and love when he’s nothing but unloveable. And on the good days (which, by God’s grace, will outnumber the bad) I will receive his gentle service, gifts, and love with a sense of undeserving joy and gratitude.

He’s not “The One.” The unchangable, unshakeable, never-failing God is “The One.” And Clay is a wonderful, beautiful, completely undeserved gift given to me by The One.

On May 24, 2014, I will become one with someone I love more than my own body. I will happily join with the one God has given me, and together, as one, we will serve The One.

I’m getting married, and he’s not “The One.” And I’m grateful for that.

I hope for heaven. All my longings and desires are pointing there, pulling there, drawing me ever forward.

Because of heaven, I can live with the fact that my earthly body is permanently broken and often in pain. I have a sure hope that one day, I’ll be in a body that is perfect and whole.

Because of heaven, I can live free from the fear of losing the ones I love. I don’t fear for my fiance’s safety, my friend’s cancer. My fiance and my friend will live eternally in heaven with me. Even if I have to live the next 60+ years without them, those years of missing them will pale in comparison to an eternity with them.

Because of heaven, I can put aside lesser things that I love in favor of greater things that God loves. I can forgo a large salary to take a job that serves God’s kingdom. I can give up stability and safety to do what God asks me to do, when He asks me to do it. I can forgo living near my family, seeing my dear friends, living in the places that I love, in order that I might share the Gospel with those who most need it. I can even give up my own life, because I know that nothing I say “No” to now will compare to the infinite “Yes’s” that I will have in eternity.

Because of heaven, I walk in peace, sleep in comfort, and live in joy. Nothing – from a bad day to incurable cancer – can touch me. A present comfort with a promised future. I am, of all people, the most truly free.

I want my life to be different.

I want to be close to my boyfriend, close to my friends. I want to know what I’m going to be doing after graduation. I want to know what I’m doing for the rest of my life. I want to have that magical sense of direction I thought I’d have once I graduated from college. I want to be motivated, to not waste time. To know how to sew. To be a better photographer. To be less awkward. More fit. Less selfish. More kind. Better at seizing opportunities, worse at making excuses. More likely to go out of my comfort zone for the sake of another, less likely to play it safe for my own sake. I want so much more out my life than I’m getting.

But Jesus didn’t come to make me happy by giving me what I want. He came to make me holy. And I’m finally starting to realize that while He shapes me, I can either let him, and find joy, or I can fight, and be miserable. 

It’s a choice I have to wake up and make everyday.

I love skirts. As soon as it hits above freezing I will wear them with just about anything. I will only wear pants when forced. I knew that I loved skirts, but I didn’t realize the love affair that I had going with them until one chilly day fall quarter I emerged from my room in jeans, and a hall mate exclaimed “You’re wearing pants! So you DO have jeans!”

And for all you haters that contend that you can't be active in skirts, take this as proof that you're wrong. I once played an entire game of "World Cup Soccer" in a skirt. And nearly won. True story.

Yes, I do have jeans, but they’re like the tech support. Necessary, but extremely annoying, and only to used when absolutely needed.

Yes. Skirts are better than pants. And here’s why:

1.Breeze. ’nuff said.
2.Cute, quick, & lazy: jeans and a t-shirt? Average, somewhat sloppy, definitely lazy. Skirt and t-shirt? Cute, feminine, funky, and fashionable. And still lazy.
3. Diversity: Have you ever seen someone wearing floral patterned pants, or lacy shorts? They’re either Lady Gaga, an HBO star, or very brave. I can’t pull that off. Floral and lacy skirts, however, I can wear with ease. Ta. Da.
4. Stretchiness:  Pants without buttons/zippers = sweats and pajamas. Skirts without buttons/zippers = Normal fashion staples. Are you following me here? Skirts are like sweatpants in that they allow room for my food-baby with ease, but I can wear them in someplace other than my room. (I am a vehemently opposed to ever wearing pajama pants or sweats as an everyday outfit. Only in the house.)
5. The “Sound of Music” effect: Yes, I am running out of reasons. But yes, this is a real phenomena. By this I mean the feeling that one gets when slipping into the perfect skirt that fills the wearer with the urge to run out to the nearest field of flowers and dance around with abundant joy.

Do your pants bring you that much joy? I think not.

I wanted to make a post about going to Canton to see my friends, but this came out instead.  Maybe next time I’ll update you all about Canton, my new job, and other such summer happenings.  Until then, I hope this makes some sort of sense.

Something that I’m really learning right now, is that often, we are spiritually blind.  Like small children with no sense about what is truly good for them, we walk into danger thinking it’s safe, and run from what is safe thinking it’s danger.

I saw this acted out today in my new job as a camp counselor.  Walking with 10 five year olds, it was hard to usher them from outside back into the safety of the gym when the wind suddenly picked up and the sky turned an ominous black.  The thunder rolled in the distance, and lightening flashed as the storm moved closer.  But it wasn’t raining yet! They wanted to play!  I could hardly convince them that it was dangerous, and that to play outside then risked getting seriously hurt.

Later in the day, when the storm had passed, we took them to the creek to play.  Many of them stood on the shore, toes barely in the water, afraid of “getting pinched by crabs”.  Even though there was no danger, I could not get them to come into the creek to play.  They were too afraid.

Aren’t we like that a lot?  Convinced that the path to death is life, and afraid to walk where Jesus asks us, convinced that the path to life is death.  I know I’m like that.  Kicking and screaming in fear as Jesus leads me where I do not want to go – scary vulnerability in relationships, witnessing to my friends, even, well, sending me home for the summer.

This is when keeping my mind filled with Scripture (the reading of which has become an exercise in the discipline of force feeding  to keep my spirit nourished, a topic for another day) comes in.

I must remember that the way to life is always where Jesus is, even if to me, it looks like death. “The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those that find it are few” (Matt 7:14)

I must remember that when I feel like my life is slipping away, I am finding my new life in Christ – “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matt 10:39)

I must remember that Christ commanded me to pick up my cross and follow him.  Of course this feels like the path to death – I am told to carry the instrument of my death, to my death. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, and take his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

But I know that these things lead to life, and for that matter, perfect life eternal.  This is not my true home, just a temporary place. For “my citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:20).  And I look forward to the day when I will get that life, when Jesus comes back or calls me home.

Until then, I live this life.  A painful life, a difficult life.  But my life – redeemed by Christ and lived for the joy of his glory.  Yup.  This is my life.  And I kinda like it. 🙂

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self control.

The Fruits of the Spirit. Out of all of those, only two have ever come naturally me – love and joy. As long as I can remember, I’ve been gifted to be (for the most part) naturally joyful. Some might call it “easily entertained”, but I prefer to think of it as taking delight in the smallest of things. Even when things are hard, or even downright awful – it doesn’t take much to inspire at least a small moment of joy in me.

Lately, though, this hasn’t been as easy for me. In the midst of spring quarter, joy hasn’t been the easiest emotion to come by.  I’ve had to work for it.  Struggle for it.  Fight for it.

But in doing so, I’ve realized all of the things that I really do have that are reasons for joy. I have more reasons for joy than I deserve. So, here they are. Why I am fighting for joy;

  • a wonderful group of friends who know me intimately (and love me anyway)
  • a beautiful campus to call home
  • a great Bible study to bring encouragement to my Tuesday nights
  • a dorm filled with friends
  • the opportunity to join with 400 other college kids on praise God on my Thursday nights
  • a great job with hilarious co-workers
  • the wealth of opportunities for growth, friendship, and fellowship that Campus Crusade for Christ has provided me
  • plenty of laughter
  • deep discussions
  • books!
  • flowers
  • coloring books and 152-count crayons
  • picnics by the Hocking
  • bright green ESV pocket Bibles
  • laughter. laughter. laughter. – Never hard to come by

This is worth fighting for.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Is 55:12

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Past Musings