I was faltering.
I spend every morning, seated at my dining room table turned study desk, reading through scripture, journaling a page or two; desperate to feel God’s wisdom course through my veins.
I go to two separate “small groups”, church every Sunday, worship in the car at the top of my lungs… and yet…
I was faltering.
My actions suggested that I was strong in faith, my despair told me otherwise.
I couldn’t hear God. I couldn’t feel Him. The internal peace I pride myself on having was changed into inner turmoil. There was something off in my carefully orchestrated Christian world, something blocking my spiritual senses. Despite the fact that my husband had just gotten back into town after a mission’s trip to Brazil, I felt the absolute need to get away.
If I’m being honest, it was the trip that brought out unsettled conflict and repressed feelings of bitterness. Talk about fantastical “Christianism”. There aren’t a whole lot of people who would admit to being mad at a missions trip and their husband for taking it. But in honor of my spiritual enlightenment, I’m going to raise my hand here. I was. I am.
So I did what any 31 year old independent woman would do: I called my mom and told her we were leaving in an hour to a yet undecided location. I needed quiet, still, rest, peace…but I still needed my mom. #becauseobviously
So I searched for a hotel, not too close, not too far, that would offer me a refuge to repair my brokenness and bring me closer to the God I was sure had left me. And in an act of loving mercy, God brought me to Wyndham Hotel where he was waiting to offer me the sunrise.
The following is my journal entry on Saturday morning, upon waking at 530am, after finally falling asleep at 330am (that I got up to watch the sun come up on just two hours of restless sleep is the first miracle that day):
God, why can’t I hear you? Why do you leave me every night and hand me over to the one who prowls, waiting to devour? Because he is. He’s devouring me every single night. When it’s light, I see you; but when it’s dark, where does your light go? You who created light. You who speaks it into existence. Why can’t I feel you in the night? Why can’t I feel you now?
I am desperate for you. Desperate for your voice to overpower the lies I tell myself. Desperate to hear you tell me that I am loved, adored even, by you–in every state–in the crazy as much as the sane. In the night as much as the morning. I am longing to feel you, to feel protected by you; safe and secure.
But where were you last night, God? Where are you now? Things of the flesh will fall away but you are supposed to remain! I can’t hear you. I can’t feel you. Instead, I feel used up, washed out, empty, and destroyed. Every night my sanity fails me, your truth leaves me, and my mind becomes the devil’s playground; I’m left spiraling into the bitter rage, deep shame, and consuming disappointment that haunts us all.
I know you never promised easy, but I feel as if I’m on a carousal I never asked to be on and I don’t know how to exit. For my creativity, you’ve given me the gift of remembering well…and sometimes I’d just rather forget.
Can you relate, even a little? It doesn’t matter the context of what has caused the hurt, the pain; it doesn’t matter when the cracks of brokenness first appeared or why they’ve deepened, spreading across your heart like shattered glass. The truth is, we all have them. We are all, in many ways, broken.
I am what the Enneagram personality test calls a Romantic. It sounds wonderful, and truly can be wonderful, but there’s a dark side to romance; there’s a dark side to me. A Romantic is creative (great!), sensitive (awesome!), and moody (oh…about that…). They have an inherent belief that something essential is always missing- in their actual make up- and as a result never feel complete or as if they fit in. They, we, are motivated by the need to be unique and understood.
Well isn’t that just dandy? It’d be comical if it wasn’t so blasted accurate for my life. I think to be creative one must also desire to be understood. It makes sense. But there always has been, and as I sit here typing this I’m convinced always will be, an underlying melancholy current of feeling. There is something familiar and almost comforting about the discontent I allow myself to settle into, from time to time. If what is described is in fact true, and someone like me always feels like something is missing, then it’s no wonder it’s frequently hard to keep a grip on God.
God is supposed to be my everything. God created me. He didn’t forget to add something, He carefully selected the ingredients that would make me, me; unique and treasured in his sight. If my nature is to feel a space of hollowness, deep inside, then that is going to be the thing that trips me up when seeking God to fill me up. Because he promises to do so if I let him, and sometimes I just want to refuse to let him.
I knew myself well enough to know two things: One, I was in a dangerous place emotionally; a place where I felt out of control and out of touch with reality and two, the person I was most upset with, and have been my entire life, is myself.
Travis urged me to get away. And it was in this action that I realized God chose right. He always does, and yet I doubt it frequently, human that I am. That my husband not only understands that I have these dramatic eccentricities, but that he has learned how to honor my waves of feeling and unexpected mood swings, tells me God chose right in bringing us together. I realize all of this must make me sound insane. And there was a moment, this past week, that I thought I must give up any dream of going to school for Christian Ministry because I was just too messed up to be any good to anyone.
But this weekend, because I was able to get away from the daily distractions and reconnect with the truth and the light, I realized something: this sort of insanity cannot be mine alone. If I feel it, others have felt it. The people who designed the Enneagram did not create a category just for little old me–if this is a personality type, there are people who have this personality. And it can be hard. It can bring about deep personal shame in having doubts, having mood swings, having a feeling of despair amidst a life of surface level perfection.
And so I share.
Matthew 5:14-16 (The Message version) says, “You’re here to be a light, bringing out the God colors of the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. if I make you light bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand- shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God; this generous Father in Heaven.
Maybe you don’t have the luxury of just “getting away” for the weekend. Perhaps you don’t know why you are the way you are, or if you’re even allowed to feel how you feel. Maybe you’ve been called crazy, before, and so you believe you must be. Maybe you don’t know where to even start separating what’s true and what isn’t. Maybe you don’t even know what is true and what isn’t, anymore. I urge you– tell God. Tell Him! Demand He answer. Show up, keep knocking, and beg him to remind you who you are; to reassure you who’s you are. Don’t be afraid to invite him into your mess. Don’t be cautious with your words, carefully picking and choosing the least offensive attack; tell him! Shout at him! Plead, cry, and pound your fists at him. He is a big big God and he can handle everything you carry inside of yourself and more. He is the creator of all feeling, he allowed you to have them. He chose you to feel because that’s what makes you so delightful in his eyes; your human need for his supernatural strength.
James 4:8, “Come close to God and God will come close to you.”
Feel free to feel everything you feel. You are who you are on purpose. Don’t wallow in misery, but face it head on so that you may have the peace of God within you at all times.
I can’t wait to tell you a little bit more about all that God revealed to me. To say he over-delivered is an understatement totally in line with the core of who he is. He doesn’t balk at my little bit crazy, he simply loves helping me out of it.
Did this resonate with you at all, or are you convinced I’m just a little nutty? 😉