Unraveled to be raveled. (a lesson on choosing joy)

Have you ever known something was off within yourself – but you have absolutely know idea what that something is?

I sure have.
That has been my life for the last week or so.

Those close to me frequently poke fun at me for always talking about joy, and about constantly and deliberately choosing it.

But I felt unsettled.
Confused.
Upset over nothing.
Upset at myself for being upset over nothing.
Stressed.

Distant.

Rushed.

Exhausted.

Insecure.

I felt like I was unraveling. And quickly.

There was no explanation for it.
 As far as I could see.
And logistically, there was nothing that should have me feeling that way.

I’ve been booking more photography shoots.
I have amazing friends.
A loving family.
An incredible boyfriend.
I’ve been traveling more.
I recently saw my favorite band with some of my favorite people.
My grades are good.
So what could make me feel so out of sorts?
As far as I was concerned, there was no reason.
What was missing?

Except there was a reason.
A huge reason.

Yesterday, I woke up still feeling like something was off.
So I decided to do a little searching and personal TLC.
I skipped my usual morning beauty routine and hopped into my car.
I drove to Target and decided to do some Christmas shopping – clear my head.
I took my time as I wandered the store, and left with a smile on my face after getting a stellar deal on the cost. 
I grabbed a cup of coffee, gifts and decorations snug in my back seat, and headed home.

On my drive, I decided not to turn any music on.
I used this time to really try to focus in on what’s been up.
I did a mental scan of my normal schedule.
And I realized, that although my recent business has been enjoyable, it has disjointed my normal weekly schedules. I haven’t had time to write recently, something that I deeply enjoy.

But most importantly –

I realized that my normal, frequent quiet time had been almost nonexistent lately.
And in that moment. That huge reason revealed itself to me.
God had been left by the wayside.
Once I had identified the issue, I felt a wave of peace come over me.

The rest of my evening was spent decorating my apartment with some Christmas cheer, crafting, baking for a bridal shower that is occurring later this evening, having some quiet time and writing.
It was once I started to feel more like myself, that it hit me how unlike myself I’ve been.

However, it wasn’t until I found the reason that I felt unraveled that I began to appreciate it.
Sometimes, it takes being unraveled to then allow yourself to be woven back together in a better, more beneficial way to live.

We are meant to be woven together by the fruit of the spirit, not by unproductive negative feelings. This, however, doesn’t mean that negative things won’t come up – it only means that one cannot allow them-self to be consumed by it. We are meant to be woven by the Spirit, and then allow it to help us work through the trials of this life. But when the Lord is left away from the forefront of our minds and of our lives, these waves of unexplained emotions settle in.

I realized others had noticed that I wasn’t quite feeling like myself lately too.
Especially after receiving this text from someone very dear to me:

I don’t like you being sad. You’re always so full of joy and confidence that it killed me to see you that way

It filled me with happiness to be able to respond that I was on the up and up.
It made me feel good to say that my common phrase of “choose joy” could be applied to my own experiences again.
It fills me with happiness to be able to say that time with the Lord is precious, and not only is it precious, it is necessary.

As cliche as it sounds, it is important to choose joy.
And choosing joy means choosing Him.
If you don’t currently have time made for time with Him, make time.
Make it a priority. Make joy a priority.
Make Him a priority. 
It makes all the difference.

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