Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jai Ho

A year ago it seemed that life had dealt me a bad hand and I was living the summer of hell.  And the temperature outside had nothing to do with that reference.  My parents were pursuing divorce and selling the house I grew up in, my dad was threatening to move to Arizona but was stopped short by a brush with death that landed him in the ICU (multiple times), I hated my job and I was struggling to become financially independent for the first time, my love life had been in a downward spiral to say the least, my own mental health was seriously called into question, I was having major issues with the people I called my "best friends," and I spent my 20th birthday sobbing on my bed, followed by my first car crash the next day.

Not exactly ideal.

"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.  We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.  We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed." - 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

But now that I am at a place where I can look back on it, I realize how much growth has occurred for me in this last year.  I won't get all mushy and sentimental (I know that's the part of a blog where I check out and just start skimming) but seriously, what a year!  Some people ask me, "if God is good, why is there evil in the world?"  There are about a handful of different ways that I typically approach this answer, but one of them is this: if everything was always good, we would not appreciate goodness.  The presence of evil and hardships gives us an appreciation for good things beyond what we would otherwise be capable of feeling.   I guess what I'm trying to say is, I am so joyful and at peace with my life right now exactly the way that it is, but I know I owe a large part of that to last year and the dichotomy that now exists in my mind.  I am immensely BLESSED--I truly believe this at my core, it's not just Christian lip service.  I am not rich, I'm not graduated, I'm not married, and I'm not famous.  I don't wear the fanciest clothes or eat at 5-star restaurants every night, in fact, I'm so far from all of these things that it's kind of ironic--but I feel  like none of this could bring me the happiness I have now.

Life is still hard and I face challenges all the time, every day.  But it's different this time.  Being born independent and driven has given me an attitude of "I can do anything, and I can do it all by myself" and that attitude came to an abrupt halt when my life started to crumble.  I'm not perfected, and I definitely still take on more than I should, but being in recognition of the necessity of Christ, my redeemer, has shifted my perspective and removed a lot of the burden that I carried.  Casting my cares on Him and striving for only the things that He calls me to has really given my life new value.  I think we are all capable of being pulled from this vision and dragged down other paths, but that's when we do a heart check and refocus... Who am I trying to please here?  What am I trying to gain?  Why am I doing the things that I am doing?  Will this benefit me eternally?
And, "am I throwing God under the bus right now?"  <

So I suppose the long story short is that God is good and all true joy comes from Him.  I am seeing glimpses of that now.  I am extremely more secure in who I am now than I was last year at this time.  My parents are reconciled and happy (and still in San Diego!), I have a solidified and tangible idea of where I am headed with my schooling, I have a flexible job that provides exactly what I need financially, I am serving in the best Jr. High ministry I have ever witnessed, and to top it off God delivered me the solid friends I asked for, and I am dating an amazing man of God.  My happiness isn't in these things alone, but LOOK at the faithfulness here! PTL.

Jai Ho is actually the Hindi word for "Victory."  I found that out after hearing it in the song from Slumdog Millionaire, and thought about what it would be like to live a life that could be summed up in that one word.  Not in a competitive way, but in a way that implied contentedness in everything...little victories, personal victories.  Sadly enough I fantasized about the day when I could put that as my Facebook status, or at least make some awesome reference to it, and mean it.  Yeah, I'm only 20 years old, and I have a lot of life left to live, but I feel like right now I'm living pretty victoriously.

"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
 --1 Corinthians 15:57-58

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