There was a point a few years ago when my life changed but I refused to acknowledge it.
I just woke up one morning and realized suddenly that I’d been wrong about myself all along.
That my decidedly pessimistic nature was really not all that pessimistic.
My resolve to be negative, really not all that resolved.
Something had gone terribly wrong.
In high school, depression was kinda my thing. Not the real kind perhaps, but the paint-my-nails-black-with-a-sharpie and forlornly-stare-out-car-windows-in-the-rain kind of depression. It was annoying, I’m sure, but spend five minutes with my old Xanga and you’ll know it was real. I was once (lovingly) dubbed “Bitter Bailey” by a good friend and the name stuck. I eventually also earned the title “Buz-kill Bailey” but that was a bit later and by a very different group of people. Both however seemed to adequately reflect my countenance at the time. Angsty, angry, and apparently worthy of alliteration.
I carried this persona well into college. Clouded as it may have become by joining a sorority and taking out the nose ring, I did my best to maintain the attitude. I found new things to hate. Monograms, Farmhouse, my roommate that made bacon every single morning for a year, etc.
But somewhere along the way I started to actually like things.
I found tiny pieces of my soul in good friendships and good books and good weather.
I fell in love with learning and hydrangeas and really, really tall trees in the fall.
I met Jesus and found the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart (where?).
And suddenly, I’m in this predicament. I’d written one too many angsty poems and listened to one too many albums by The Used to admit that I actually enjoyed accounting, or that I really didn’t mind opening up to people sometimes, or that I was genuinely thankful for failed relationships because it reminded me just how necessary and just how deeply satisfying the love of Christ is to those who know him. I’d avoided too many happy, shiny people to become one of them. I’d sculpted my snarky, bitter language too perfectly to start “encouraging people” or “rejoicing always.”
I just didn’t know how to be joyful – really, truly, wholly joyful – without edging it back to the comforts of pessimism or masking it under a fear of being “too Christian-y.” I still don’t.
What a stupid problem to have.
The Lord graciously and lovingly proves his faithfulness to me countless times and I neglect to publicly acknowledge it, to acknowledge him – because I’m afraid?
Calvary has absolved my every failure, my every guilt, my every shame, and I tarry to openly return – because I’m embarrassed?
He has literally brought me from death to life and I keep from outwardly celebrating his mercy – because I can get a few more laughs if I don’t?
Of the many irrational things I’ve ascribed to, this is surely the worst.
Forgive me, Father.
Change my wicked heart.
May I forever rejoice in rejoicing in you.
Psalm 34:3 “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”
Exodus 15:2 “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Psalm 86: 12 “I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.”
Revelation 15:4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”