I’m in a season of big questions. I feel like I’m submerged in a blur of uncertainty, regardless of how much goodness surrounds me.
That’s the truth about anxiety and depression: it does not hold back, no matter how good your life may be. It does not save itself for obvious hard moments; fear and loneliness often arrive just when you’ve begun to feel settled in true peace.
There’s a lot to say about when broken people encounter other broken people. I find it’s easier to try to focus on someone else’s brokenness than face the reality of our own fears and grief. Sitting in the breathless and bare moments of shame can create a frenzy of self-doubt that even the biggest hugs cannot cure.
So what happens when you do sit in your grief and face it head on? What happens when you wake up and realize that running has never put you any further away from the sadness you’ve encountered, the lies you’ve told yourself, and the fears you’ve let take root in even the simplest moments?
I can tell you it isn’t pretty. It’s actually ugly and defensive and steals your joy, along with pushing even the kindest hearts further away. It’s overwhelming and nauseating and it takes your breath away.
What I can also tell you is that it isn’t meant for us to carry alone.
Facing what has built and shaped the way you view the world can be quite difficult. It’s not easy to dig through your past to face what has taught you to see yourself in a way that no one else sees you. I have learned that the way I view myself is not only different than how the majority of people see me, it’s quite the opposite.
“Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.” – Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited
When I become aware of my brokenness, I begin to see how it manifests in my relationships with others:
I find myself thinking, “No matter how much they say they adore me, how could that really be true when I’m in this shape?”
I am defensive, passive aggressive, and I assume a lot about what others are thinking of me.
I fall into a habit of avoiding the root of the matter and I begin thinking that I’m alone and all of the past lies I’ve told myself resurface.
When I become aware of my brokenness, I also become aware of how the world responds to me:
I push people away, and most times they pull me closer and remind me that I’m not alone.
I try to hide it and the people closest to me see me as I am and ask to help me carry my pain.
I meet people who express their own brokenness and I’m then invited to help them carry that.
And every time I find myself at a low point, I find so much grace in the lessons I learn and the goodness that follows.
I’d love to say that my faith is so strong that I seek God first when I feel these overwhelming feelings of self-doubt and shame. I would love to sit here and pretend that I have this life of prayer that always asks for God’s will over my own. And most days, I do pray that prayer. I pray that no matter what God’s will for my life is, I will follow it and live in it with grace and gratitude. But sometimes I ask for it to not be painful. I ask God to give me peace and comfort, even when I know that sometimes He gives me pain instead so that I can learn to be more dependent on Him and less dependent on my own understanding. Because that’s what pain is, right? It’s our body and brain’s response to grasping what’s happening to us. It’s grasping for air when the room feels empty and devoid of life.
“I think C. S. Lewis said it best: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
– Lysa TerKeurst, Uninvited
I often find myself caught in between praying big prayers because I know God wants us to come to Him with big asks because He is capable of giving us good things and praying for His will to be done, regardless of what I want. And I think the trick is discovering you can do both. I can pray big prayers to God and still ask that no matter what I want, His will for my life is more important. And no matter how hard it may be to grasp what He’s doing in my life each day, I can trust that He knows what’s best for me.
And I think what hits the hardest is the truth. Especially when it comes from someone you trust and love.
Although I don’t write as often as I used to, I think it’s important as someone that believes to tell the truth about the struggles I have. I think it’s easy to see someone who believes in God and only understand them through the highlight reels that they put on Instagram. I’ve felt that Christians were inaccessible for a lot of my life. I saw happy people that didn’t seem to carry the burden or fear and I felt my brokenness wasn’t welcome there. As a christian, I don’t think God ever intended for us to hide our pain or worries. In fact, I find that the more I learn about Jesus, the more I discover how incredibly important it is to be transparent in all of our struggles so that we can meet others where they are in their own journey.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that you’re not alone in your own struggles. There are people from every walk of life, every spiritual background, every culture, that are feeling low and alone right now. You are not alone.
You are deeply loved by the universe, by people you don’t even know, by those closest to you, and even if you don’t understand it, you are deeply loved by a God that wants the best for you.