Wholehearted Joy

When life is going well, I tend to get a little nervous.

See, life has been going really well. Six months ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and now he is growing and thriving and becoming his own little person. I am currently a stay-at- home-mom, and I’ve really found my groove. I feel purposeful and fulfilled, which is something I was searching for since graduating college almost five years ago. I feel happy…happier than I’ve been in a long, long time. I didn’t know that it was possible to be this happy! My mental health is stable. I’m comfortable with my body. I’m at home in my own skin for the first time…ever.

So why should that make me nervous?

I think it has to do with my view of God.

On one hand, I know God is loving and compassionate. I know he wants the best for my life. I’d like to think that he is happy that I’m happy.

But on the other hand, I have a fear that he is looking down at me while tapping his fingers, saying, “Oh but just wait until I have this next bad thing in store for you!”

Having a child has brought such a raw joy to my life. Living without a pervasive mental anguish has given me happiness back. It’s strangely uncomfortable, mostly because I’m not sure what God thinks about it.

At some point in my life, I internalized the idea that God gave me hard things in life on purpose so that I would have to rely on him more—so I would grow in faith. Going through a hardship would draw me close to God, no? So God figures the more hardship the better?

I guess it helped me make sense of all the bad stuff. Mental breakdowns. Season after season of depression. All the anxiety that plagued me and would never seem to go away. Senseless pain.

I told myself that there didn’t have to be a reason for it…but I searched for meaning anyway. That’s very human, isn’t it? To want meaning in the midst of pain?

I didn’t find very much meaning though. I did, however, notice that I turned to my faith during those times (or shortly after those times) and found a sort of comfort. Not enough comfort to make the pain go away, mind you, but enough comfort to muddle my way through. Each time I fell into a million pieces, but the faith was the glue that helped me patch up into a resemblance of myself.

So, in a very real way, faith and pain became intertwined. And now I’m trying to figure out what faith looks like when the pain is gone. I’m trying to figure out who I am without the depression and anxiety, all the while bracing myself for when it comes back. I’m trying to figure out if my picture of God is as accurate as I once thought.

I don’t want this happy time in my life to live in the shadow of  “but just you wait…” I want to know that pain will happen again, but not live in fear of it. I’ve known God in the hard times and now I want to know him in the good.

I want to embrace joy wholeheartedly.






One thought on “Wholehearted Joy

  1. Well written, Anna. I remember thinking similar thoughts as I came out of depression- “this is weird,” “is it okay to do life like this?”, “does this mean I won’t be growing as close to God as I was when everything ached?”

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