By: Woman of Joy-
Relationships are complicated. But what if hesitation can ultimately lead to joy?
It was a rainy morning with butterflies in my stomach. Despite shielding myself for so long, I decided to open my heart and spend time with someone who I hadn’t seen in a long time. I felt all the feelings: panic, uncertainty, and hesitation. Yet, despite all these undesirable feelings, I decided to face my fears and see this person who caused me distress.
See, over recent years, I put up concrete walls surrounded by boundaries. I wanted to protect myself at all costs because I wanted a better life: less pain and more joy. So, why was I about to do something I swore I wouldn't do?
Over time, protection led to loneliness, and anxiety about the unknown fueled my everyday life. Conflicted, I prayed for my next best steps, and with time, I got to a place where I didn't have anything to lose. Although I felt mixed emotions, God's strength guided me. And I knew this time was different. I'd be okay, regardless.
As I left my house, I held my breath. Within seconds, my mind raced, and I soon replayed all the worst and best-case scenarios.
How would this encounter go?
What would this person do or say?
How would we both react?
How would I feel being around them again?
Would I need days or weeks to recover mentally?
Deep down, I knew the odds weren't exactly in my favor. With a complex track record, I prepared for possible pain or unexpected relief. Unfortunately, joy was a rarity, and like always, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that protecting my peace wasn't helping; instead, a void was missing.
The conversation started short and sweet, as my heart and healing felt exponentially vulnerable. At times, the silence felt awkward, and my body naturally clenched. The strong mind-body connection indeed became apparent that day. With each new topic, trembling nerves remained. But there I sat, outside my little box of comfort.
I slowly let my guard down, one moment at a time.
Sure, I became aware of old wounds resurfacing or new ones forming, but nothing could shake my solid foundation—and enough time alone passed to start anew.
With hope and newfound confidence, I firmly believed God was steering the wheel, and I was willing to ride as a valued, faithful passenger.
An hour into the conversation, I no longer felt fear. And while I was still waiting on my toes, a weight lifted.
On the way back home, the unexpected happened: I received an apology. I wasn't surprised by this action, nor was it the first time. However, this time, the words hit differently to my ears. Not only did the impact feel sincere, but it followed with a hint of raw honesty—a glimpse of honesty I always wanted and needed.
Our short time together ended, and I opened the car door again in my driveway. Walking up to my doorstep, an unexpected wave of emotion came over me: ease. I faced a huge fear as years of heaviness released from my chest. And it was a gift I needed to move on, regardless of what happened in the past or what will happen in the future.
The following week, profound renewal was in the air. I had pep in my step, slept better, and felt happier. Life seemed easier to manage and eager to embrace, which was far different than before, something I couldn't remember last witnessing.
I felt joy, a glimpse of His joy, and deep down, I knew only God could heal my heart this way.
After years of wallowing in the darkness, praying, and protecting my peace at all costs, I learned a valuable lesson. It's good to set healthy boundaries, but it's also important to remember that God is with us, even in our complicated relationships. Connection is a powerful force, and He doesn't want us going through life alone or empty-handed.
The older we get, the more we realize that life is complex, including our emotions and trauma. As much as we expect answers, we may not get them promptly. Our journeys on earth may differ, but we can always lean on Him to hold our hands and mend our broken pieces.
We may have reservations before taking the next step, but perhaps it's what we need to set our souls free. It can be what we need to see clearly, love dearly, and listen carefully. Forgiving others, including ourselves, can release enormous weight and lift our hardened spirits.
Maybe things aren't what they were before, but that can also be the greatest blessing. Our initial hesitations can lead to joy, after all.
"Over time, protection led to loneliness and anxiety about the unknown fueled my everyday life."
Kimberly is a writer and an advocate for mental health. Previous work includes writing for A Wife Like Me, Dawn, Calla Press, The Way Back to Ourselves, and many others. Her purpose is to ignite hope in the hearts of others, despite their struggles or circumstances. She currently resides in Northwest Ohio with her husband.
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Thank you so much for taking the time to read the June blog in the Women of JOY series. I pray that it inspires you and empowers you as you seek to find true JOY in Christ alone in any and all circumstances!
The Women of JOY blog series will offer you the pleasure of hearing from a different Woman of Joy on the last Monday of each month.
What about you? Are you a Woman of JOY with a story that you would like to share? I would love to hear about your journey of finding JOY in Jesus and consider you as a contributor to this series.
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