Choosing Joy

IMG_6354

This is Taylor’s story–a friend and senior at Texas A&M.  I like her theme of choosing joy. Joy sometimes comes after the rain, but she hopes to experience it even during the rain.

How often does God bless us with joy, with so many great things, and we choose to only pay attention to the negatives and “have-nots” in our lives? I do this so often, and this past year I was continually humbled when I recognized that this was an issue of pride in my life. I was prideful in the sense that I thought I deserved something more. I couldn’t see the joys in my life, because I could only see what God had not blessed me with.

About a year ago, I ended a relationship with a guy, who at the time I believed was the “perfect” guy. When it ended I was hurt and frustrated, to say the least. I had created all of these expectations for the upcoming year, choosing to create my own path instead of following God’s. As the semester went on I dwelt in my sadness and drowned myself in self-pity. It seemed every one of my close friends was either getting in a relationship or was already in a serious relationship. I look back and all I can think is “I was sooo pathetic!” Seriously though, I would not let myself see the good things God had given me, or even try to understand why things hadn’t worked out with this boy. All I could think about was that they hadn’t worked out and it wasn’t fair.

Then, around Christmas I finally began seeing God’s joy. But of course, another guy came into my life, as is the usual theme. Now, I don’t believe it was wrong for me to pursue him, or he me, but it became a distraction for me. We dated a few months, and there were times during our relationship that I felt such great joy (like seriously, I was amazed because this was the first time I had ever really, really experienced God’s joy). The relationship though was really rocky, and I often spent nights and weekends crying because I felt like things weren’t going well, or stressing because I didn’t know what to do about it.

In March he met me at a park and broke up with me. I had an hours warning. I remember sitting at my kitchen table and texting him, realizing something was wrong. Then I realized why something was wrong—he was planning on breaking up with me. Shocked, all I could do was stand up, tell my roommate I needed to go to my room, and then sit on my bed and cry—really, really hard.

After he broke up with me I cried a lot. I’m not much of a crier at all really. In fact, I went to Bible study and didn’t tell my leader till the very end. But then the next couple of weeks I just felt very numb, and very confused, and very lost. I knew I deserved better (every girl says this after a breakup, but it’s really probably true). I knew there was a better plan ahead, but all I could see was the fact that my security, my own plans, were shot.

Looking back on it, and I even realized this at the time, I was so hurt because I wanted to want him to be my husband. Yeah, I liked him, but it was more that I didn’t trust that God could have a different plan for me. I thought I had to marry an Aggie. I had to get married within a year after college. And he was such a good Christian guy, I mean how could he not be the one?

I leaned on God a lot, praying and hoping every day that I would heal. And I did. The last few weeks of school I realized God was so much bigger than my plans. And while I could have done what I had done in the fall—let myself rot in my own sadness and disappointment—I chose joy, because I knew I had so many reasons to be joyful. Sure, my “plans” were thrown off track. But those plans obviously were terrible!

I thought I could start off this year feeding off of the joy I experienced this summer, when Christ revealed to me I could be content in any situation he presents me with. But I’ve realized that joy is an ongoing process. I can’t expect that because I felt joyful in the summer that God will automatically grant me joy without seeking him first. Even in these past two weeks I’ve had to seek him a lot, because let’s face it, change is hard, and I’m about to go through more change than I have ever experienced when I graduate. But, by seeking him I’ve seen his goodness and his grace. Things haven’t been perfect, and I’ve been disappointed by many of my relationships, but through those disappointments, I am oddly reminded of the many blessings he has given me. In comparison to His blessings, those disappointments eventually mean nothing to me.

Christ has an awesome plan for my life, and it’s likely not like anything I have planned. But the exciting thing about that is it means it’s better.  I could sit and wait for my plans to happen. I could try to make things the way I want them. But God has so much joy worth giving, and if I trust in his will and have faith in him then how could I ignore how totally awesome and gracious he is?

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

poppy

0-1Howdy! My name is Taylor Wendt and I’m currently a senior English major at A&M. When I graduate I hope to pursue a degree in book publishing, but most importantly continue to serve my Savior. While I forget it often, the gospel is the most important thing–the reason behind my existence and purpose in life.

Comments
  1. Amy McGuffey

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *