The other day Jason was patiently listen to me word vomit a bunch of my feelings. At one point he paused and chuckled a little bit. Now, I don’t know about you, but laughter while you are sharing things that make you sad isn’t really the response you expect. I think I gave him a bit of a look, followed up with, “yes?”
He replied, “You are funny. You are so willing to dive head first into the depths of something uncomfortable, but when it sneaks up in your life, you want to run and hide.” (or something along those lines, its hard to remember a word for word direct quote while also crying and laughing and wanting to punch the person talking in the face for challenging you and not just telling you how pretty and strong and great you are)
I was annoyed. I think I said, “yeah, your right, its fine.”
Its so true though. If I know I am going to do something and it will be wildly uncomfortable and painful, but I know I’m doing it, great. Let’s get to work. But if it sneaks up. Like all of the sudden I realize I am really unhappy with life and where it is and that post-grad and a new job that looks different than what you expected and a virtually non-existent community and anxiety that may or may not have always been there and… blah blah blah… you get it, I become the biggest wimp. I don’t want to look at. I get angry that its is even a thing. I deny it, I look away, I avoid at all costs. I don’t know what this darkness is and I did not choose to jump into it.
As J and I continued talking, the difference between the two scenarios was made obvious. Its all about control. When I dive into something, I choose to do it. I have the power to stay on the diving board or throw myself into the water. Even if the water is miserable, I can look back to my decision to jump and remind myself this is where I wanted to be. When I went to eating disorder treatment (sleep away camp) I knew what I was choosing. The time spent there was painful and uncomfortable, but even in the darkest of moments I knew I was the one who made the call and chose to leave. I had control, at least in starting the process.
Right now I’m in a season of life that is dark and hard, but I didn’t choose it. It has just kind of happened. It wasn’t a conscious choice, and I HATE it. I hate it more than treatment. Because, not only does it hurt, but I’m not even sure what it is, why its here, or how long it will take. I feel confused and disoriented in a new way. My control, or at least my perception of control, has been taken away.
In all of this faith (being confident in what we hope for and certain of what we do not see) is taking a new meaning. Though it may be shocking to some (I’m not a huge feelings person on the outside) I usually “feel” the Lord. Meaning I have some sense somewhere deep in my soul that the Lord is with me. He feels near. Recently, that has not been true. What I’m doing and where I am does not feel good. God does not feel near. In good christianese- I’m in a dry season with the Lord. Faith means persevering anyway. It means trusting the Lord even when I cannot see, hear, touch, or feel Him. When I feel less like I’m charging ahead with purpose and more like I’m meandering about. When uncomfortable darkness has crept into my life without my consent or my foreknowledge.
Side note: About halfway through writing this, George Michael’s “faith” got stuck in my head.
I am thankful that feelings don’t dictate truth. I am not called to walk in feelings, but in faith. If I served a God that was dependent on me “feeling it” all the time I would be screwed. I don’t want that kind of pressure. Instead, I serve a God that gives freedom in not always feeling it and challenges me to keep going anyway, with the full assurance that He is still with me regardless.