Irene Nava

Oxford, UK

Joy Unstoppable

Growing Up

Growing up in different countries was hard. I always felt lonely and isolated, especially on the ages of 16-18. During lunchtimes, my classmates would always talk, and laugh out loud, about last night's house parties and their festival adventures, and I felt empty and sad. I remember feeling that I am missing out all the time, especially on the fun and having millions of friends. Despite already having my church and youth group, I wanted more, I wanted to be more like my peers in school, I wanted to be happy like them.


Sunken Heart

I applied to university following my A-levels, I thought that going to university is going to eradicate that sense of loneliness and sadness, because I have resolved to myself that I am going to go out there and party like never before, I am going to find happiness. However, I found that I have to take a gap year because I was not a resident in the UK. My heart sank.

During this year out, I had more time to sit back with my Bible and spend more time with people from church. I managed to reflect/ponder about life, specifically my attitudes towards life. I noticed that I always compare my life with other people, that if I don't have what I want, I am unhappy. I also noticed one thing, that I always look to what the world has to offer and did not spend time looking to what my God has to offer. Through spending time reading the person of Jesus, I noticed that He is actually quite a lonely character. He does not need millions friends, in fact He always retreats on His own to spend time with God. In the Bible, He is called a Man of Sorrows in Isaiah 53.  He gets bullied quite a lot, in fact he is persecuted for proclaiming Himself to be a King. Religious leaders in His time spat at Him, beaten Him, and even nailed Him to a cross just to reconnect us to God. I am like 'He is for real. He totaly gets how I feel.' 


Joy Unstoppable

This discovery about Jesus totally gave me a shift in my attitudes towards loneliness, and Jesus' experiences in dealing with loneliness. To be honest, I do get lonely every now and then. However by spending time chilling with God and reading the Bible, I am reminded that He is the provider of my Joy, even when I am unhappy. His Joy is my strength. His joy excites me, whether in ups or in downs of life, His Joy is still unstoppable. But hang on, there would be no point in joy if Jesus was still dead. He came back to life after 3 days, he conquered death. If he conquered death, he surely conquered my loneliness and emptiness.  

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