Saturday, April 07, 2012

Exhausted with Joy

I used this phrase, exhausted with joy, on a recent Facebook status and a couple of friends encouraged me to write about it.

I've been pondering this phrase off and on since then.

My life is not problem-less right now.  But it is fair to say that I am in a season that is marked by joy. And well... sometimes it's exhausting. Believe me, that is not a problem! I've been exhausted before with pain and frustration and wondering if I would ever know joy. So I'll take the kind of exhaustion that joy brings any day.

Why is joy exhausting? Well, in that particular week, I was hosting four women as they prepared to lead a retreat for 50 facilitators. They were holding meetings in my home for a couple of days and we were gathering with other leaders in the area in the evenings. I was also keeping up with my new job. My mind was churning with ideas and my heart was filled with the joy of being with all these different people which I love dearly and admire so much. All of us were working together to listen and respond to the Lord's leadership regarding next steps in both ministries. In some ways I think it was simply sensory overload. So on top of the fantastic activity throughout the day it was also challenging to settle in each night and get some sleep.

I've spoken with a couple of different people this week about the heartache and confusion of joylessness. Both have shared with me that they wonder if they will ever know joy. I have totally been there. For me, the pathway to joy was narrow. It's another piece of the transformation process. The pathway to joy was a process of pressing out doubts and fear and having all those beliefs exchanged for faith and trust. And now, in the area of finding purpose for my life, I'm on the other side of that pressing out process.

Thank God! I have walked with my doubts and fears through the valley of trust and faith and come out on the other side... and well, it's a new day! I know joy here. It is indeed a new day. I love it when I get exhausted with it!

I'm writing this in part to say that if there is an absence of joy, don't give up hope that God is up to something very very good in your life. Keeping asking the Lord to bring joy into your life. Press on. And please have people, praying with you, about it all. Ask the Lord to help you find a verse that reminds you to walk by faith and submit to being pressed in on. My verses came from Lamentations 3 and Proverbs 3 and Jeremiah 29. (Picture from Sherri Sund)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I went to a new group last night. Believe me, no one is more surprised about that than me. Part of me thinks I have no business adding another group into my life.

In my defense... not that I'm feeling defensive or anything. Ha! I will not be leading this group. And, it only meets once per month.

It is a Writer's Group. I've been aware that these things exist for a number of years now. I've been slightly interested for a number of reasons. Technically, I am not a good writer. Grammar rules and skills do not remain in my brain. It's very annoying. But there has also been a significant amount of reservation too. I was so thrilled when many of my reservations were specifically addressed in the presentation given at the meeting.

Last night, I received insight into why it's easy for me to write something the length of a blog but much more difficult to transition my style or writing into chapter length. I now understand what is happening or not happening as the case may be.

I now understand why free writing for 30 minutes used to be an exercise that I enjoyed and why it stopped being an enjoyable exercise.

And, I don't want to be a part of a critique group. This is an encouragement group. There is a difference and Frank Ball was quite articulate about the difference. Critics do what they do for their own benefit. People who encourage are used to bring out the courage in others. I am so grateful that this group is being led by people who know the difference!

Recently I watched a great video on story telling that also gave me a structure clue that I've been needing in order have a framework to work on telling my stories. Nancy Duarte gives the presentation at TEDxEast.

So the areas I was becoming clear on where supported. The concerns I had were addressed. And places where there was confusion have been cleared up just enough to move forward.

And the double icing on the cake for the whole evening is that two ladies who have gone through Listen To My Life with me are the leaders of this new group. Oh my goodness the joy of watching them step out in faith and start this new venture together was just crazy fun to watch! Crazy fun!

Here's the one significant and remaining problem. When am I going to write?

Dear Lord,

I am super excited about all that has happened in the last six months to a year with this. I'm grateful for the unknowns that have been helped. I'm just wondering when on earth I'm going to be able to set aside the time to do the writing. If you could show me what I have to give up or help me see time that I do not see right now, I'd appreciate that! Thank you for putting people in my life that can truly help me with all this! Blessings on them and their writing adventures I pray!