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The Overflow…

For the longest time, I believed life was not meant to be happy. At least, not for me. I never approved of people having fun and enjoying life. Why? I didn’t know how to enjoy mine. Or I’d forgotten, at the very least. I had endless heartache and bitter pain – in body, mind and heart. Nothing seemed to help and I thought I would be in that place forever. I was just never meant to enjoy life, I told myself. That was no comfort, however, because I still dreamed – of brighter days, of happier times and of meaningful relationships. But I still could not understand how people could enjoy life. Now that I think of it, it was simply a case of “If I can’t be happy, why should they?” I was jealous. Understandably so. I had spent most of my teen years struggling with depression, a profound lack of self-concept and constant drama at home. My seasons of reprieve from all the madness lasted came once in around four years or so (exaggeration: 0%) and when they did come, they lasted for a few short months. During these brief seasons, I would feel very hopeful, things would seem to be going the right way again and I would walk around with a light heart. Then the inevitable twist – sudden shocks, dramatic betrayals, lots of tears – and I would spiral down, once again.

I must add here, however, that God has always been faithful through it all to provide me with some happy days in the midst of all that was going on – times when I’d feel like myself, confident and content. There were always good times, those showers of blessings to gladden my heart. So now, in one of those good seasons, I feel God showing me that some things He gives us purely for our enjoyment. And that’s okay. It’s really been a struggle to let go and just enjoy life – probably one that not many may understand – but even to take pleasure in things like going to the mall, eating at a restaurant, or going out for a movie, has been really difficult for me. Maybe I felt like I didn’t deserve to enjoy myself. Maybe I was too insecure to ‘just be’. Whatever the reason, the result has always been me resenting enjoyment and resenting others’ as well.

I am not talking about being happy here. Of course, I have always paused to take in the glorious beauty of sunshine and blue skies, green-as-can-be trees and little children. I have even admired BMTC buses (In my defense, the new ones are pretty impressive. Not when they’re crowded and I have to use every muscle in my body to maintain balance and manage to not bruise any body part stand, certainly not!) So that’s never been a problem. I always find something to laugh about. It’s just the idea of actually having things go right for me that is unsettling. How would it be? To have good things happen and not suddenly fall apart halfway through. To find love, and friendship, and genuine joy, and to have these last. I still struggle to believe. It’s so much easier, and safer, to be a cynic. Romantics would die of heartache, if that were possible (I actually think it is, people do die of extreme sorrow). Cynicism is a safety net and love, a great fall.

I do understand this: No one’s life is brimming with happiness, but some hearts overflow with joy. Struggles are more common than the housefly in a vegetable market on a hot summer’s day. And peskier. But some brave hearts have found a way to rejoice amidst the struggles, to have faith and to not just possess joy but also to spread it. If they can do it, amidst challenges that are often far greater than my own (I will grudgingly admit that because I know it to be true), then so can I. And I will. Because Jesus did not die and rise to life so I could have a sorry, sorrowful life. He came so I could have life abundantly, to the full, till it overflows. And I will not let anyone keep stealing that from me any longer.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.   – John 10:10

Life abundantly, to the full, till it overflows…

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