Monday, December 9, 2013

The harder I try

I never know how to start this. I guess I’ve come to feel like I have to write something philosophical and inspiring every time, and/or I have to spend hours writing it. That is what has kept me from blogging in the past – mostly the thought of, “I don’t have time to spend three hours writing a post that two people are going to read.”

It gets discouraging.

But largely only because I am already discouraged.

And I know, I know, the whole thing about not giving up, not losing heart; I’ll reap a harvest at the proper time if I don’t give up.

Frankly, that is really hard.

I am tired.
I am weary.
My heart hurts.
My stomach hurts.
My hope feels so far removed from me that I don’t know how to get it back.

God feels removed.

And again, I know – “If you feel far away from God, guess who moved?”

That’s cute – until you are in the midst of darkness and are pretty convinced that God left.

I read in a book once that on the whole, a woman’s worst fear is abandonment. At the time, I didn’t really feel that it applied to me.


And, yet again, I know – God does not forsake us, does not abandon us.

Yeah, well, what do you do when you FEEL that way? When you feel dropped, left alone to face an onslaught? How do you retrain your mind to view the world in a way that is opposite of how everything looks and feels sometimes? How do I convince myself that God has not left when my heart feels so very abandoned by him? When it truly looks like he got tired of me and just flung me off like poop on his hands that he just realized was poop? (Like that mental picture?)

I am so, so tired of feeling like I have to CONVINCE myself of everything.

I am so tired of manipulating it all. Or feeling like I have to, or else it won’t happen.

Can I just be honest? Raw?

I am a mess. An utter, complete, indecipherable mess. The more I try to figure out my mind, the more I try to determine what I believe (and the elusive why), the more lost I feel.

And I don’t say that looking for someone to be like, “Aw, no, you’re not that bad. You’re not a mess! You’re great!”

Or for someone to be like, “Yeah, I am too! We can be messes together!”

No. I don’t mean it in a trite way, in a mocking way, or in an, “I’m a Christian and I should feel like I am a worm, but I really think I am awesome; I just want someone to reinforce my awesomeness, so I’ll talk about how bad I am!” way.

I am serious.

I. Am. Completely. Screwed. Up.

It is kind of like that line from that David Crowder song: “I want to be holy like you are – but the harder I try, the more clearly can I see the depth of our fall.”

Yeah. Little bit.

The harder I try to be good, the harder I try to do the right things, the harder I try to fix myself, the more clearly can I see the depth of my fall, the hopelessness of my situation, the ravages of sin.

There are literally like fifty things that I feel God might be trying to address in me. Or, rather, I feel like he IS trying to address them – all of them, at once. I am overwhelmed. I am in an ocean of fear, of pain, and the waves just keep coming. I can’t stand up, can’t find solid ground; the sand keeps sucking away from my feet, and the tide keeps drawing me into deeper water.

I want, with all my heart, to climb upon the waves and follow Jesus into the unknown.

I am paralyzed with fear of doing that.

I listen to these songs, and they are all about doing that very thing – trusting God, being still, walking out upon the waters.

There is no fear in me about following Jesus into the unknown – provided that once I’m there, he won’t be like, “Well…see ya!”

And so we come to that. That fear of abandonment. That fear that whispers, oh so subtly, “You can’t really trust God to come through for you. In the moment of your greatest need, he will leave you to face it alone.”

Basically, what I am saying is this: I cannot think right now. I can’t think straight. My mind is flying a million miles an hour, and the more I try to rein it in, the harder it streaks away from me.

I am losing control of myself.

And I have always sought to be so in control.

I have never been in control.

My greatest enemy is not Satan, as much as he’d like to think that. He’s a worm and can go die.

No. My greatest enemy is myself. My own sin. My own pride.

My ungrounded, manipulative, controlling, paralyzing, insidious, ridiculous, scenario-making, self-steeling FEAR.

Dear God, who will rescue me from this body of death?

I have only ever wanted to be rescued. As desperately as I want to fight evil, bear enough weapons to do lots of damage, I want just as desperately to be the princess who is rescued from the tower by her true love.

I am so tired of feeling like the princess who looks out the window day after day and finally sighs, “Well, I guess no one’s coming. Figures. Now how do I get out of here?”

No, God is not slow in keeping his promises. His timing is perfect. Etc., etc. I know all the answers, I’ve rehearsed all the lines; I know the Scriptures, so well. Well enough to twist them. Please kill me. Ugh.

I know the letter. Not the Spirit.

I am a Pharisee – but a failing one. Yay.

I want God to sweep in and save me, fix me. Make me not this way. Rescue me from the things that threaten to completely topple everything about me that I once thought was unshakeable.

And I know, he did save me – 2,000+ years ago when Jesus died and rose again.

I want to say, “That’s not good enough” – but I don’t mean it that way. Ultimately, yes, that’s all I need; it was more than enough. But it feels…not. And I know that is an issue in me. But again, I don’t want to keep trying to fix it. I am TIRED of trying to renew my mind in my own strength.

What I am asking for, aching for, is something new. Fresh. Something that happens in this moment. I am tired of trying to cling to the past. “Yes, God speaks to me. He spoke to me six years ago, and it was great. What? Oh, no, he doesn’t really do that anymore. I actually haven’t seen him move in a while now. But he did six years ago! I cling to THAT.”

I want to cling to HIM.

Instead, out of fear, I cling to lies. To illusions of control. To smoke and mirrors and ashes and fog and sins that seem to keep me safe.

Everything in me aches to live, to burst forth and just explode for him, be light to everyone I come in contact with.

Everything in me just wants to weep.
I can’t even say why. Sometimes I know; sometimes I don’t.

I. Am. Just. So. Tired.

And I am tired of feeling like I need to apologize for that. I am tired of the voice that instantly says, “YOU’RE tired? Pfft, you’ve been through NOTHING in your life, ya big wimp. What about the kids in Africa who have to shoot their parents, and then submit to Kony? What about girls who are trafficked? What about people who have seen every loved one around them succumb to AIDS in the last four months? GET OVER YOURSELF AND YOUR PETTY LITTLE PROBLEMS.”

I’m also tired of the voice that says, “You’re allowed to be tired. I mean, you’ve been fighting on your own for like all of your life. Dang. You are so strong, to have lasted this long. You deserve to feel how you feel. You should be tired.” (In case I’m not capturing that one well, it leads toward pride and only pride. And I hate pride. And I feel prideful for hating it so much; surely only a great person would be so opposed to being prideful.)

I just want to BE.

No more apologizing. No more shame. No more downcast eyes for feeling how I feel.

I am angry. I am hurt. I am frustrated. I am discouraged. I do not see hope. I see only blackness. Light at the end of the tunnel – what light? I am exhausted. I am sick of this battle. I am terrified. I am angry at God. I am angry at myself. I am unforgiving. I don’t want to show grace or mercy. I want to kill people. I want to break things and tear things apart to show how deeply I feel. I want to scream f-words (oh yes, that f-word) at the top of my lungs without giving a single thought to who might hear. I want to give up. I want to keep fighting. I want to feel like people won’t look down on God because I have a nervous breakdown. I want to sob and never stop. I want to go back and never have life take this path. I am beyond terrified – I am utterly paralyzed.

I want to stop feeling so pathetically STUPID.

But instead, I keep it all in. Swallow every negative feeling, every lie; I drink poison, knowing it is poison. Try to figure out how this will all work for my good – a good I cannot begin to see, and believe even less.



My mind creates. That is what it does. CONSTANTLY. I am constantly thinking; but not just thinking – WEAVING. I do not do it on purpose; it just happens. I make up scenarios, weave things together. Things happen, and I immediately think, “Ooh, that could connect to this. And then this would happen, which fits with this right here. I had forgotten about that, but that works so well! And that goes with this too! And if this happens on this date, then that means it is exactly four years after this, and that is a cool connection. And that –”

I don’t.
Know how.
To stop.

And once I think of something, I also think, “No, God won’t do it that way, because I thought of it. So it has to be something else. That won’t happen now. STOP THINKING. Just stop. But that goes with this. And that is the anniversary of this. And so that must be what God is doing – NO. STOP. None of this is going to happen. If you think it up, then God can’t use it anymore. He won’t do what you think. STOP. Today is the four-year anniversary of that, so that must be what he is getting at, bringing all of this stuff up to heal it on the anni–”

Good. Freaking. Grief.

I just realized how long this is. And there is no resolution to it; sorry. I don’t know what is going on in me, orI just don’t know.

Ultimately, my heart is God’s. That was won years ago. Satan cannot fully pull me away; he cannot have me.

But he can immobilize me, kind of like he’s done. Like I’ve allowed him to do. Like God has allowed him to do.

And therein is part of the struggle; I want God to come flying in and rescue me. I want him to break open the skies like I thought he was promising me. And he hasn’t. And I’m not sure it works that way. Does God actually come through hugely like that? Or is that just wishful thinking? Why does it feel like he does that for anyone and everyone else, but when it comes to me – nope, R has to do it all on her own, with only hints of input from God because that is just her lot in life. To always struggle. To never really be free. To never really SEE God move – not like he moves for the drug addict, or the person about to commit suicide. What am I? Not worth fighting THAT much for? Because that is certainly how it feels. And looks. Maybe I am just blind. Maybe I am crazy.

And people will be like, “Just believe! God has already saved you! Fight from victory, not for it! Change how you think! Think positive for once, sheesh, ya Negative Nelly!”

But I need to SEE SOMETHING. FEEL SOMETHING. Be able to truly KNOW something – without me having to manipulate it. Or feeling like I could possibly manipulate it.

Don’t you see? If I am changing how I think, if I am the one fighting, then it’s just all me. Still.

No, God does not “have” to do anything.

But can’t I just be blindsided? Can’t I just be rescued? Just once, can’t God move so clearly, so powerfully, that I cannot begin to tell myself that it was him – I’ll just know that I know that I know that I know that I know?

Why do I feel like I have to get myself out of the tower? Why do I feel like I have to save myself before God will step in to do anything?

I feel like I’ll struggle and get myself out of the tower; and when I land on the ground, I’ll look up and see God standing there clapping. And he’ll be like, “Yay, I knew you could do it!”

And at that thought, my heart whispers back: “Well, yeah, I had to. You didn’t exactly do anything to help, you just stood there and watched and told me NOTHING, and made me figure it out on my own. I think I’ll go this way, by myself, thanks – since I can’t exactly rely on you to have my back.”

And people will say, “But God wants to make you a warrior! He wants you to learn how to stand!”

Can’t I just be a rescued one first? A daughter first?

Can’t I just have a moment where I cry out to him and he delivers me – instead of me crying out and being met with silence until I finally figure out that I have to fight for myself?

My biggest lie is that I will have to fight for myself because no one else will. How exactly does God NOT fighting for me – but making me fight for myself – counter that?

And they’ll say, “But you HAVE been rescued! Walk in the new life!”

But I don’t feel rescued. I don’t feel his presence. I have never felt his love.

And yet again, that is what it comes back to – knowing God loves me.

Oh, I “know” he loves me. He loves everyone. Yay yippee yay.

But my “knowing” – honestly, it is only head knowledge.

My heart still needs to know. Still yearns to see. Still stares out the window, waiting, waiting


I don’t think I can wait much longer.