Keeping up with the trend of introductions before a guest blogger, today you’ll be hearing from Vicki. Vicki worked with both Christi and I this past summer at camp. I was lucky enough to have her as a roommate. She’s doing some really awesome things at another camp right now, and will be heading to Israel in the near future! We are happy to have her as a guest here, and I hope you’re blessed by what she has to share with you! -Sarah
The Impossibility of Joy
Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Joy seems impossible sometimes.
Joy is hard to find when your depression hits you so hard that all you can do is sit down in the empty conference room you are supposed to be vacuuming and cry like you have a reason to. Joy is not what first comes to mind when you are told that you have a hormone disorder that is controlled by your menstrual cycle.
Joy won’t come when you are so numb from being overwhelmed that no emotion is possible and so you become catatonic, a statue that blinks and breathes.
Shame is the only emotion that makes sense to you.
Shame becomes the filter in which you live your life because you don’t deserve to feel joy.
This is where I am right now. I am struggling. I am learning to lower the screen of shame I hide behind. Some days are better than others. I will admit as I write this, today is a bad day. I don’t know how I managed to get out of bed this morning and get myself to work. My body feels heavy from trying to fight past the swamp of my mind. I completely broke down and sobbed while trying to clean the rooms I had been assigned. I have no explanation for my tears and that feeds into my shame. I have no reason to be sad, therefore, something is wrong with me. My shame tells me, I am wrong.
I know that this is not healthy and it has brought to me to the point of seeking help. But help is a process, it is exhausting, it hurts and it feels like I am losing the battle. I have Romans 12:12 taped on the wall next to my bed. I think about it constantly; it is hard to wrap my head around sometimes. “Be joyful in hope.” I understand hope and I understand joy but how do they go together? Hope can be such a crushing feeling, hoping when I don’t understand is so hard for me. Hoping when I can’t see the end is not something I do with gladness in my heart. I want this to be a possible action in my life.
Amid my tears earlier today, I thought of this verse. Oddly enough I felt hope. It wasn’t the normal heavy and confusing hope I feel; it was soft and light. It was just enough for me to remember that I am loved by God. It was a hope that gave me a glimpse into a time when I won’t feel like this. It was just a moment but it was what I needed.
Even though I had a positive moment today I still can’t bring myself to act on my joyful hope. I still feel cloudy and surrounded by shame. But I have hope that joy is not going to always be impossible. I have several baby steps to take before I see results.
Something I greatly struggle with is seeking out friendships and being vulnerable with other people. I don’t have a reason for this. I am just not in the habit of sharing everything about myself to others. I like to be in control of what people know about me. But if you were to ask me questions, I won’t lie to you. Being vulnerable is not natural to me, so I am learning to lean into the discomfort. In all honesty, it sucks. I hate it. But it is necessary. My counselor has recommended the work of Berne Brown to me. I relate so much to this woman, it is scary. Her lecture has helped me put joy and emotion in general into greater perspective.
So, this is what I will leave you with:
Joy is beautiful. Shame numbs everything. God is good. Hope is guiding me out of this mess.
Thanks for reading,
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