This has been a long time coming – I’ll be the first to admit that. But it had to come. I’ll also be the first to admit that.

When we have nothing else to cling to in our lives, what do we do? Is this a cue to toss in the towel and give up? Is it an excuse to go indulge in something we know full well we’re going to regret one day?

Unfortunately (or fortunately …) I have found myself in the place of emptiness before. It’s not exactly the most comforting place to be. But when I look back on these moments, I notice that I have come out on the other side with new tools, perspectives, and maturity I never would have gained without it.

And this gives me hope.

One of the key phrases that was told to me when I first ran empty was said by my area director at camp (summer 2010). I had been sitting there telling her about how horrible I thought my life was going and how all these things had happened and it wasn’t fair. And she looked at me and said:

“Christy, you just have to choose joy.”

Well, let me tell you – that completely stopped me in my tracks. Could…could it really be that easy? She left shortly after that, telling me to come join everyone else when I was ready. And I sat there for a while (I was in a gazebo). And then I got up, walked out, and with every step I took, I said something I was going to leave behind (it conveniently was a stone path out to everyone else). I wasn’t perfect after this, but I kept reminding myself when something was getting me down that I had left it in that gazebo. And I now had hope that I would be ok. Hope in Christ that I would move on.

And I did.

And so here I am today; reaching the end of a different tunnel. It was no easier to make it through this time, but I’m emerging realizing different things. And yet they are the same things. All of the lyrics to Francesca Battistelli song “Free to Be Me” apply to this, but the chorus will suffice.

‘Cause I got a couple dents in my fender
Got a couple rips in my jeans
Try to fit the pieces together
But perfection is my enemy
On my own I’m so clumsy
But on Your shoulders I can see
I’m free to be me

In essence, I have realized that I am not perfect – nor will I ever be. But I can hope that even though I’ve got a few things not quite right, even though I don’t know what’s coming around the bend, even though I still struggle with things that I wish I grew out of – I am still growing. I am free to be me, even though I’m still learning about who that is. I don’t know what tomorrow holds. But I have hope that it will be good.

Because the one who loves me has ordained it to be so.

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