Joy

…is an inside job. Its something I knew I wouldn’t find joy from a job, a man, a new country, or really even with financial gain. I knew joy was an inside job and that it required work.

Work work work work work (cues Rhianna).

But seriously, nothing good comes to us without some work. Sure, there are instances where an opportunity come, but we have to do the work on maintaining a blessing that has seemingly “dropped” in our laps.

So, for the past few…years, really, I’ve been doing work. Work on my self esteem, work on my relationships with God, work with my mindset when it comes to obstacles and entitlement, work with my need to be accepted and acknowledged by men, by my friends, by my family.

The work I have done is leading me into a new freedom. Free from the opinions of others, I am discovering that my Joy simply comes from the Lord. Knowing that I am completely utterly and unconditionally loved and accepted by God NO MATTER WHAT has been the key to my joy and my hope and my freedom. I recognize that He is number one. He is most important and because I am human and I will fail, His grace is the best gift that never stops giving.

I can smile in the midst of defeat. I can laugh in the stead of failure. I can shift when I feel stuck because he gives me joy…that passes beyond all comprehension. Its amazing, its fulfilling, and its free. I didn’t earn it. I don’t deserve it. I can’t repay it. And it will never be taken away from me. Incredible love. Incredible joy.

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I love a guy.

You know the saying about love?

Our first love is young. 

Our second love is hard. 

Our third love we don’t see coming. 

I guess I’m in between love one and two. But I still love a guy. What’s funny is, I’m 99.8% sure that we won’t be together and we may not remain friends. And it has taken a year to come to terms with that, but I think I’m finding comfort in knowing that that is probably healthy and best.

I still write about him. I still think about him. And most days, I’m not sure if I am in love with him. Or I simply possess a deep love FOR him. Our ability to differentiate the two is imperative. Love is unconditional. It keeps no record of wrong. It is humble and selfless and to quite honest it is uncomfortable and unnatural. Most people give conditional though. Though the conditions may be broad, when pushed to the limit, a limit is found.

This idea of unconditional love bothers me. Let me rephrase, its agitates my normal behavior. You make me sad, I love you less. You disrespect me, you get boundaries of my love. I know, there seems to be nothing wrong with that, but if love isn’t free…is it love? Whats the price of love? A ring? A wedding? A child? Can it ever be paid for?

I love a man. And he may not even love me back. And that makes me even more confident about my love for him. He’s made me sad. He’s offended me. Never disrespect, never intentional harm, never unapologetic. And I love him.

Some days I feel like proclaiming this love, because it is evidence that divorce and heartbreak, and failed relationships did not crush me. They didn’t steal my capacity to love and to give without expectation. And that is a miracle. That’s evidence of the God I serve. One who can heal and transform and restore.

Back to love. Family. I love them unconditionally. Friends…my friends. I love them unconditionally and even the healthy boundaries I establish for them are not barriers to my love.

My students. I love them unconditionally. And they need that love. They need to feel and see that love. They need to know that that love is…real love. So as they grow and experience life, they can be prepared to give and receive the love that covers all.

I still love a guy.