Monica learned about the source of the joy she sought and parallels it with a particularly interesting and emotionally pinched miscarriage. The baby that began to form in her womb passed away and dissipated, but her body had a delayed response and continued to carry on as though she were still pregnant. It was at her thirteen week ultrasound that she saw an empty womb where a baby should have been.
A few months later, she was pregnant again and this one was going well. She began to try to mend the holes in her emotional boat by searching for ways to bring joy into her life. Cultivating friendships and doing things for others was something she enjoyed, but the feeling didn’t last long. The parallel she draws between her miscarriage and her search for joy is that her life had the markers of one that should have it, but didn’t.
The takeaway she offers the readers of her chapter comes from a conversation with her husband. She was an emotional wreck and he mentioned that he thinks she’s “seeking satisfaction outside the Lord” (page 99). He told her that you’re not supposed to “seek joy” you’re supposed to “seek the Lord and he grants you joy” (page 100).
I understand that this was sufficient for her, she knew what he meant. I also think that sort of advice is enough for others who have some sort of awareness that God is the center of reality and everything eternally good comes from Him. It is my own sensitivities that make me highly aware that this sort of advice could be frustrating for some. It would sound canned.
If you’re annoyed by this kind of “trust God”, “seek God”, “have faith” kind of advice, I’ll to try to explain. You can take it as a finger pointing to a door you’re meant to walk through. Some don’t see a door and others are burnt out on walking through the wrong doors. I get all of that. But, faith is a lifelong aspiration. It’s not a thing that someone else can ultimately gather for you and deliver to you.
God speaks to you through the language of your experience-formed perspective. It’s unique to you. Still, His voice is recognizable by others who are familiar with it. That’s why you can share insight you learned from God with someone else and they can recognize it as truth. Someone else’s walk is not your walk. When he or she tells you to “trust God”, “seek God”, or “have faith”, it’s your invitation to figure out what that means for you. It’s possible that someone points to a door they’ve never actually walked through, but know that it’s what you’re supposed to do. Either way, there is something real. It starts out feeling like a solo journey, but it doesn’t take long before you learn otherwise.
The fifteenth chapter of Soul Bare was written by Karissa Knox Sorrell. She titled it “Wrestling with God in the Art House Theater”. I’ll share my thoughts about that next.