All photos of me taken by Chandler Grace Photography

Pursuit of Joy

November 2, 2018

I wasn’t writing because I didn’t have anything to say. Then, I wasn’t writing because I had too much to say. Now, I am writing because I don’t know what to say anymore, which feels ironic and like the worst time to sit down to an open page. Yet, here I am.

 

My life just cracked wide open. The possibilities are endless, everything is back on the table, the limit does not exist, the fat lady hasn’t sung. Sometimes, that is exciting and makes me feel like a wild horse running full speed into the wide open. Other times, that makes me feel completely lost with no direction or purpose.  

 

 

I’m not particularly the “wild horse” type, so having no roadmap or timeline isn’t a freeing feeling to me. It presses in more like a trap, like I’m just wasting massive amounts of time because I’m not in pursuit of anything.

 

Which is what drives Americans - our pursuit. Our pursuit for success, wealth, and power is what sets us apart. Some other countries are driven by tradition, family, heritage, preservation, hunger, etc. but since we are driven by success, we are always reaching, always searching, always to-do listing, always box-checking, always updating, always editing, always uploading, always swiping...

 

Think about how we greet each other - “what have you been up to?” 

It’s a more casual way of saying “what are you in pursuit of?”

When we say “how’s your job?” or, “are you dating anyone?” we’re asking for updates on how your pursuits are going.

This isn’t a bad thing, it shows interest and care, but for me lately these questions have felt like failure reminders.

“How’s that start-up you created?”

“We were actually forced out of business.” 

“Oh, well are you visiting a boyfriend for the holidays?”

“No, I’m actually not dating anyone right now.”

“Ah I see, any new adventures coming up?"
“I’m actually not planning anything for myself right now (subtext: I can’t afford it at the moment).”

 

 

I can tell that people hear these answers as a cry for help because their response is usually, “oh don’t worry honey, that’s okay.” What I’ve realized though is that I am just in the state of stillness, which some people don’t know how to react to. To be fair, I don’t either. Like many people, I feel driven by the pursuit of success. 

 

 

I am constantly thinking, “What should I be doing with my time? Am I doing the right thing? Where’s the balance? Should I take up a fourth part-time job? Should I get on a dating app? Should I figure out what a 401k is? Do I need health insurance? Should I quit everything and move to LA? What about a tiny tattoo? I could dye my hair?”

 

But as I sit here, on the upper level porch of the tiny backyard tree house I inhabit, sipping black coffee, staring into the branches of the massive tree at my eye level that hosts leaves who refuse to light on fire with the colors of autumn, I am content. 

 

 

As I watch the planes of all shapes and sizes, carrying people to and from adventures, soar overhead, I am happy. 

 

As the massive orange tabby cat plays across the fence below me, the squirrels race on the powerlines beside me, the leaves rustle together in a wind driven orchestra warming up to play their swan song, I feel joy to the depth of my core. 

Because what I once saw as indicators of panic, what I once felt was a life laid bare without instructions, I now see as my greatest gift and strongest weapon. For the first and possibly final time in my life, I am unattached. I’m not a car on the road choosing a highway, I’m a not a train tethered to tracks, rather I’m a boat on open waters. Once we start making decisions in life such as careers, spouses, children, mortgages, and cars we bind ourselves to those choices. We make financial, spiritual, physical, and mental promises to those paths. 

When I choose a career, I plan on sticking with it. When I choose a spouse, I plan on loving them with my whole heart for my whole life. When I have children, I plan on dying to their needs. When I choose a house, I plan on making it a home. And when I buy a car, I plan on hopefully becoming a better driver…yikes. 

 

 

But for right now, in this moment, I haven’t made any of those choices. And what a beautiful place that is to be? What an incredible time to roam and to discover and to learn about myself, God, and this world. What an incomparable gift it is to be still and know that God has a plan for me, I am not powerful enough to ruin it, and that where I am right now is exactly where I am supposed to be. 

 

So now, when people ask me what I am in pursuit of, I will say “joy,” because that is the foundation I am laying in order to build the rest of my life choices upon it. 

 

For fun, and because she's extremely talented, I've included more photos from this shoot with Chandler Grace below! For booking, click HERE. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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