I’ve learned that saying no leads to fear and that saying yes leads to joy.
The lowest times in my life have been when I have said no to a lot of things.
No to community, no to forgiveness, and no to taking risks.
This downward spiral led to sadness, isolation, and restlessness.
Coming to college, I decided to start with small yes’s.
Yes to meeting to new people, yes to trying out for the rowing team, yes to pizza, yes to emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to see if these two girls needed any help with a thing called JOY, yes to being vulnerable, and yes to no longer being defined by fear.
This past May I got to serve on a JOY team the Dominican Republic. It was there I learned that all my “yes’” were from listening to the whisper that says, “Trust me.”
Trusting that I have a purpose and that what I have to say matters. Trust means letting go and opening yourself up to new experiences. My new experience just happened to be leaving the country and serving orphans.
On my JOY trip, I saw what it meant to have nothing and yet have everything. I met kids who never ran out of energy, even though lunch might have been their last meal that day. I saw volunteers that cooked food for 400 kids. I saw teachers that loved and fought for each one of their students. I saw my team mates be vulnerable with really hard things. I found freedom when I stretched out my hands and let go of fear.
There is so much joy to be found and sometimes you just have to step out, and say yes, to receive it.
Miami University student studying Education and currently serving as the President of JOY. Find her in Oxford drinking a latté at Kofenya and eager to meet with anyone interested in getting involved with JOY.