Joy and Pain
New Year's resolutions are always written out with great hope and expectations, are they not?
As I considered my new year's resolutions earlier this month, I prayed and asked the Lord to help me make some changes in my life. Little did I know what He had in store just a few days later.
You see, during the first ten days of January I was still basking in the glow of a dating relationship that began back in the fall. I was feeling like he could be "the one" (or "the Juan" as my friends dubbed him) and that my prayers for a mate were finally being answered. But nearly three weeks ago, the relationship abruptly came to an end. Not by my choice. And without warning. I felt pain.
The old song "Love Hurts" kept playing through my mind during the first several days, even though I wasn't sure if I had even been "in love" at all. Probably just "in like." But still, I had seen the potential to be "in love" down the road. Apparently, he did not.
And so I began to wrestle back and forth with feelings of anger and compassion. Many friends came alongside me and offered me their comfort and support. One brought me dinner and flowers, while another recommended a book (more on that later). During these beginning stages in the dark valley, I also heard several sermons that I KNEW the Lord had orchestrated for me (and I'm sure many other congregants who were experiencing pain as well).
A couple weeks back I had the privilege of hearing Chuck Swindoll preach on Abraham, "the man who hoped against hope" (Romans 4), and then yesterday a guest speaker at my home church spoke on suffering and its relationship with joy as found in Colossians 1.
All of these things combined (the outreach of fellow believers, eye-opening Christian books and the truth of God's Word) have helped me to readjust my grip, so that I am learning to live with joy, while clinging to the Lord and not a dating relationship.
If you took a look at my bedside table, you would see the stack of books I've been reading. They reflect my predicament for sure, but they have also helped to straighten my perspective and point me toward Christ. Perhaps they will help you or a friend or loved one as well.
- "Depression: A Stubborn Darkness" by Ed T. Welch ... If you or a friend or loved one is depressed, then this is the book for you. While reading, I felt like Ed was sitting with me and having a conversation and offering solid, Bible-based food for thought. I have been challenged in my thinking about depression and think that probably most of us have experienced it at one point during our lives. I have an even greater knowledge of this type of suffering and a better understanding of how I can support someone who is depressed.
- "The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes" by Robert S. McGee ... My small group just "happened" to be starting a study of this book this month. But I think this was no accident. Each chapter has a corresponding section of questions that help you to reflect on what you've read. I'm only on chapter two, but it's really helped me to consider my place in this world as a child of God and to remember how much He loves me.
- "When the Man in Your Life Can't Commit: Recognizing the Signs of a Commitment-Phobe and What You Can Do About It" by Dr. David Hawkins ... Dr. David is a good friend of ours here at Crosswalk and contributes great articles and a wonderful q&a column to our Singles and Marriage channels. This book, his latest, helped me to realize that some men may not be ready to move forward in a relationship. They may say the right words to you, but emotionally they're not where they need to be to commit. Better to know the signs at the beginning of a relationship and to wait for God's best and the one who IS ready for you.