So I have been on this incredible journey with the Lord over the past eight months. And when I say "incredible," I don't mean exceedingly happy and overflowing with massive amounts of joy...I more so mean that I have been rocked by the amazing way in which the Lord works. To say this past year of my life has not turned out how I have planned would be an understatement. But, as I have very harshly found out, having my own plans in the first place was my first mistake. I have learned more over these past eight months than I have in my 20 years of schooling combined. It has not been, and continues to not be, an easy road. In fact, it is probably the opposite of easy, so I guess that would be hard. I am on a journey with the Lord. I am seeking to know His plan for my life and how He wants to use me to further His Kingdom so I can follow in behind His footsteps. There are days when I really just wonder, really Lord? Did this really have to happen? I have many moments of frustration and impatience. And my moments of weakness far exceed my moments of strength. But that seems to be where the Lord wants me right now.
As my brilliant friend Ange and I were talking about tonight (which is one of the reasons that inspired this first blog post), when we ask God for clarity and direction, we can't expect everything to be one wonderful thing after another that fits perfectly into the comfortable, happy lives that we would all love to live (I am mostly just speaking on behalf of me and a few friends). I am very quickly learning that as Christians, we are not meant to live in the ultimate comfort zone, we are actually meant to live in the ultimate uncomfortable zone (if that even makes sense). I am discovering that seeking God's will and actually taking the steps to follow Him are often doing things that are so far outside of my comfort zone that it takes me a bit to work up the courage to do it. However, once I do it, the peace that follows is so affirming that I can be confident I did the right thing.
In the midst of this journey though, there has been a great deal of pain and hurts, and often times my immediate reaction is to throw a pity party and invite everyone I know to it. This has never proven to be an effective reaction, but it is the one I have defaulted to for so many years that breaking this trend is proving to be quite the challenge. So that is the inspiration for the name of my blog..."Learning to Choose Joy." I can't tell you how many times over the past few weeks that I have read a devotional, heard a sermon, or been given something to read (thanks Ange and Cass) that talks about choosing joy in the midst of struggles. I finally figured that the Lord is trying to send me a message. Message received. Now how to go about practically "choosing joy," when I don't feel like it or when something crappy happens...I have no idea what that looks like. But I am on a journey to find out and guaranteed there will be some slip-ups and pity parties along the way, but here's hoping (and praying) the scale begins to tip in the favour of "choosing joy" and that becomes my new immediate reaction to whatever life and God throws my way.