Often I find myself dreaming about joyful moments, you know - planning trips, hanging out with friends, watching a funny movie with the fam, yet when those moments come around, I become distant, as if there's a reason to be feeling down and empty. Over the past month, I've had to make a lot of hard decisions and be upfront and honest with myself - where is my joy going? I know it's deep down inside me. But why can't I just let go. Why can't I just enjoy my time with others to the absolute fullest? What's holding me back from my most joyful and true version of me?
During this moment of self-evaluation and trial, things got real. Like really real. Like the painful, uncomfortable, exposed type of real. I had realized how much I was holding myself back. I was believing lies about myself that were only based off of fear itself. I was beating myself up over my insecurities and throwing them back at people like weapons. Just to pretend I was fine. Pretend like I wasn't worried about anything. Protect myself from the ugly truth. I was believing that I had to look a certain way to feel accepted by society and the people around me. I believed that my features didn't add up to what I thought was "beautiful" and I believe it or not I hated getting my photo taken. I was believing that I had to hold back my "weirdness" and quirkiness so that I wouldn't stick out or look silly. I tried to fit into a box so much...but in those moments I felt boring and I never felt like myself. All these little warning signs started to pop up in front of me like I was trying to play a really hard game of operation, being careful not to mess up and expose this internal battle with a big, loud "ERRRRR! THIS IS UNHEALTHY!” for the world to hear, and for my peers to hear.
My insecurities were holding me back from my truest self and God was there through it all, and heard my cries for help. I told him to change the way I see, to show me that I don't need to worry anymore and that I never needed to. I was tethering myself down with heavy, thick, binding ropes of fear, anxiety, insecurity, and loneliness. He ripped them, burned them, and gave me a new freedom that I have never quite felt before. He clothed me in strength, understanding, and joy. I found a freedom that I can be joyful and fully myself in any circumstance. He showed me that I was purposefully created to be who I am. Every freckle was placed on me with thought, my nose and my smile and my eyes were created one-of-a-kind, for me. Every passion, gift and desire of my heart was placed there for a reason and wasn't put there to be ignored. I wasn't meant to be anyone else but who I am. We all have gifts, talents, smiles, and voices to be shared with the world. And I'm here for it. I'm excited for it. So here I am, stepping into the sunshine, and the freedom that he gave me through his grace. And to answer the question "Where did my joy go?" Well, it's in you. Listen to it. Always try to listen to truth over the lies and fear, even when it seems almost impossible. In truth there is so much joy to be shared.