I've been struggling. Struggling with, so much. And in the midst of all of this, I've been struggling the most, with my faith--or lack thereof. You see, when everything in your life feels like it's falling apart, the one thing that should keep your head above water is your trust that there is something, SOMEONE who is there, holding you up, keeping you afloat. Someone who will not let you be consumed. Throughout my life I've had that confidence, although there have been plenty of times that that confidence has wavered. And there have been several times that I've been low--really low--and that faith brings me back.
This time, oh this time, felt so bleak and empty. I don't know that I've ever felt this low, this depressed, this anxious, this panicked, and all of my tricks, all of my tactics to comfort myself failed me. I turned to God, I turned to my faith, and it felt like he wasn't there. It felt like all these times of wandering away, choosing other things--myself and what I wanted to do namely--resulting in God throwing his hands up and saying "I'm done." That feeling, was the worst thing that I've ever experienced. Thinking that he was no longer listening, that I went to far, that he wanted nothing to do with me--completely terrifying, and lonely.
In my head, I knew this wasn't the case. In my heart, I was broken, desperate, fearful. In Hawaii I felt like I was being told "go back to the basics." But again I was fearful because I didn't want to make the wrong step. My biggest fear in my faith is missing the point--missing what God is actually doing because I'm so focused on being "christian." I didn't want to go through the motions but have it mean nothing. I didn't want to take theses "steps" just to realize that I, as I put so eloquently in my journal, "missed the mark." But I thought, 'What else can I do? I have nothing, I feel nothing but fear and desperation.' Some days were good, but most days I woke up with that pit, that anxiety, that fear of dying and forever being separated from what I know is good and true. And that previous sentence delves into some fear and anxiety that will need it's own post--but that's what I was feeling.
These past two and a half weeks I've been reading, journaling, and praying. Doing the basics, and feeling woefully inadequate and still a bit fearful. This morning, I decided to make myself breakfast--a bagel, sliced apple, tea, water--the whole works. And I sat down and listened to the sermon that we were going to be talking about tonight in community group. And I'm writing furiously because he's talking about showing up, and how important that is, but that we can't think we're finished, that we have to press further. He's talking about how important discipline is--and that we shirk discipline because when we do stuff that we don't want to do, it feels "inauthentic." And aren't we all about the authentic experience, and being true to how we FEEL. (Let me tell you my feelings are COMPLETELY crazy and irrational sometimes.)
And he talked about how our efforts do not equal revelation from God. But he said that we we press in, we are better able to see how God is already revealing himself and present in our everyday lives. He talks about how when we come, God is there blessing or "kneeling" before us. That in his profound self confidence, he kneels down and comes to us again and again. In my mind, it evoked this picture of a father kneeling before his kids. And he said in all of this, God says 'I came to you first.' And when he said that, my whole heart--heavy with despair began to lift. He came to me first. He humbled himself, died for me, loved me more completely and totally that I ever thought I could be loved. All of these fears of not being good enough, him leaving me and giving up on me, were completely unfounded. And the re-realization of this, just relieved all of the fears that have plagued me for the better part of a month. He came to me first--and he will always come for me.
At this point I was weeping, and of course, the perfect song for everything that I was feeling came to my mind and I just had a good cry, feeling really enveloped by his grace, his love, and his goodness. God is good, he is faithful, and he is perfect in his relationship with me. I want to continue to press in, and be conscious (probably never perfect) in my relationship with him as well.
"I thought I had seen the end, everything broken--but you were there. I've wandered at heaven's gates; I've made my bed in hell--You were there, still." Gungor, You Have Me