Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Joy and pain

I read something a few weeks ago that really stuck with me:

In order to open to joy, you have to be open to pain too.

I would definitely consider myself an emotional person. Actually, hyper-sensitive and bipolar would be more accurate. The most important things in my life have simultaneously given me the most joy and most pain. Have taken me up to the sky, radiant with joy, and have torn my heart apart, thinking it could never be put back together again.

My move to Portugal seven years ago: my second year here (especially) was spent in a huge depression; brought out the worst in me; made me uncomfortable/shy/almost lose my new-found faith; eventually brought out the best in me; turned me into a stronger/more open person; eventually strengthened my faith; brought my family together, etc.

My relationship of three years: had a honeymoon phase spent in the stars; was torn apart with big crises that hit; learned what real love is all about; felt fear, uncertainty, heartache, impatience; have also felt incredible communion, inexplicable attraction, authentic support, etc.

At a wedding this Saturday

My youth group of three years:  dreamed big dreams; torn apart by failure, disappointment, criticism, insecurity; have felt incredible friendship and communion; have seen God work in miraculous ways; have wrestled with my incredible smallness and incapacity, etc.

My last weeks have consisted in ups, downs, ups, downs and a few more ups. I thought I was in the clear until another crises hit this Sunday, this time with my youth group, that has me requestioning all my priorities, decisions and callings until this point. I am at a definite down point, I am burnt out. I am "Re-discerning if something God once called you to do is still what he wants you to do?" (from what I am reading here: the ultimate burnout survival guide).

My heart has definitely been invested in my youth group over these past three years. It has been open to a whole lot of pain, but also to a whole lot of joy. I am trying to discern where God is guiding my heart now, trying to ignore the pain and wait for peace, so that I can hear the still, small voice. Pray for me!

"Oh joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee..."


  1. You're right-the things we love the most can bring us the most pain...because they're the things we care about the most. I appreciate your post--and I'm praying for you!