Wednesday, October 27, 2010

(the) Real Joy

Welcome to my new blog!  I must admit, this is not a blog that I'm very anxious to write - at this point, it's an act of obedience.  I have a story to share, a journey really, and it occurred to me that others may be in need of embarking upon a similar journey.  I share the story of my journey for 2 reasons: 1) to be real, authentic, genuine and 2) to encourage anyone who might be where I am/was. 

I'm not really sure how the world sees me.  Or how my family/friends see me.  Or how strangers see me.  Until very recently, this has consumed me, this wondering how people see me.  I was desperate to present to the world a certain kind of life.  A life in which I had it all together, in which everything was good.  Essentially, a living lie, because everything was not good.  (Man, this is a hard post to write, harder than I thought it would be...)  While doing my very best for years to appear cheerful, happy, positive, upbeat, I was hiding the truth.  And here it is, in print, for the whole world to see (or the few who trickle in to read this blog, anyway...):  I hated myself.  Hated isn't a strong enough word. Loathed, detested, despised...that's more like it.  And I was actively seeking to destroy myself, sabotage myself, through the consumption of food. 

I'm not sure how to communicate just what it means to me to have made this confession, to know that people I know will read it...  All my life, I have avoided this kind of honesty, soul-level revelation.  It has seriously affected my ability to enter into meaningful relationships.  Because, I think, it is impossible to really love other people if you don't love yourself.  Having been raised as a good Baptist girl, it was somehow, very unobtrusively, ingrained into my thinking from an early age that to focus on oneself was wrong, selfish, indulgent.  And I somehow translated that into believing that to think positively about oneself was also wrong, selfish, indulgent.  And so that's the way I lived - trying hard to be/appear perfect while hating myself for failing so consistently.  And that's where the eating came in; I started eating to quiet those condemning voices in my head.  Soon I was turning to food for every event, every emotion.  If I was sick, I ate.  If I was tired, I ate.  If I was lonely, I ate.  If I was sad, I ate.  If I was angry, I ate.  And if I was happy or celebrating, I would eat then, too!  Food has been my drug.  (Ugh, how I hate to admit that!) 

There, the gory details from the past...  Now, to the present!  It all started with the simple little verse, "Love your neighbour as yourself".  How in the world can I truly love my neighbour when I hate myself so deeply?  Simple answer: I can't.  And since, according to Jesus, this is the second most important commandment, I'd better figure out a way to really love myself so that I can love my neighbour.  Now, I've been a follower of Christ since I was six years old, I know my Bible, I know what it says about God loving me and sending Jesus to die for me, etc...  And I believed all that, I really did!  But for some strange reason, I could never really believe that it applied to me.  But it has recently come to my attention that to continue to hate myself when I know what God says about me is the equivalent to calling God either crazy or a liar.  And I really don't want to do that.  So I'm starting on this journey of discovering (the) real j/Joy.  And learning to love her, accept her, let her be who she is meant to be...  I (sort of) hope you'll join me - I want to let people see the real me.  Or I want to want to, at least...Hey, it's a start! 

I'd love to hear from you, about where you are on this journey, what has helped, what has hindered, whatever you'd care to share.  Feel free to comment below, or you can reach me at thejoyofthelord(at)hotmail(dot)com.  May you know real joy today!


  1. You've got a follower. And I know what that feels like. I struggle from similar feelings, so does my hubby. One of my coping mechanisms is food, the other is depression. Yeah, that sounds weird, but whatever. My DH suffers from a lack of self-love too. We're both trying to figure it out together. I look forward to seeing your process and insights.

    Wish we were closer, I think we'd be great friends IRL also. :) Enjoy being Joy. :)

  2. I am following you, too! I know it is hard to love yourself. I, too, stuggle with this (at times it is harder than others). One of my favorite songs right now is by David Crowder "Everything Glorious". "You made everything glorious and I am Yours...What does that make me?" I love it because even when I am feeling down about myself or having self doubt, this song reminds me that He made us. He loves us. It may be hard to REALLY believe this, but I hope through this life's journey that I begin to be the REAL Amanda.

    I am excited to follow you on this journey!! :-)

  3. Joy - I'm typing one-handed with a babe in arms, but let me just say... I loved you when I was 12, and I love you today. I think you're pretty great...

  4. Oh Joy...I've always loved you and looked up to ever since I met you (since Beth was 12 I must have been 11). Will be following your journey. (((hugs)))
    Going through some pretty hard stuff myself, having a hard time opening up to anyone, so good for you for being open.


  5. Oh, Joy! This makes me want to cry! I'm so proud of you for being so very brave! There are so many people that can relate to exactly what you are saying, myself included! I had no idea you were struggling to this extent. I guess we all have our own stories to tell no matter how much we'd like to hope people won't catch on to our faults and imperfections! I just read an article today that said we should "run the race to win" and some people just expect loss because not everyone can win, right?...but the great news is God put each and everyone of us on our running track, so we don't have to compete against anyone and everyone can be winners as long as we stay on our own track, we are destined to become winners because God always leads us into triumph!! I believe you have found the track that God has intended for you, so run the race to win Joy! You can do it! I'll be praying for you and following your journey!

  6. This did make me cry. I think you will find there are more people than you think that can relate to you. I think God is going to use you through this blog so thanks for being obedient. I can't wait to read more!!