You know when you have those things that are gnawing at your heart, and you know you’re supposed to do it, but you don’t? You find every reason in the book not to do that thing. This post is that thing for me. I have been thinking about it for months now, but just haven’t wanted to sit down and write. First, I blamed not having finished my travel posts (which will happen eventually, swear). Then, it was not wanting to waste the last moments of summer. Then, it was the first two weeks of school. The list goes on. You see, here’s the real reason. I just haven’t wanted to be vulnerable. I haven’t wanted to talk. My friends have noticed. The other day, one of my best friends just said I seemed distant, like I’ve put up walls (a nice gentle approach), another told me tough sh*t she was going to make me talk (the less gentle approach).
I haven’t wanted to talk though because I don’t know what to say. I like to know what I’m going to say. I like to have my thoughts fully figured out before they come out of my mouth. When I talk about how I’m struggling, I prefer to already have a solution in mind. I find myself falling into this trap often. I call it perfect sin. It’s the idea that when we as followers of Christ struggle, we should have it figured out. When eating a meal is hard for me, I should know how to fix it. When I am overwhelmed with life I should know how to re-balance my life. Here is my most recent favorite: I thought that if I gave myself a year to be sad about Ethan I would be fine. Like somehow the difficulty of the thing would go away. Turns out, it didn’t. In many ways these last few months have been the hardest.
Here’s the thing though. I think they are the hardest because I had an expectation that was not met. My solution didn’t work. I gave myself a year and then it would be fixed. So now, I’m dealing with the actual thing + the disappointment of my solution not working out. It makes it harder. It’s the pain of not having Ethan here, combined with the frustration of not being over it yet (yes, I realize that makes me sound heartless). Now, I’m navigating this new territory. I’m just feeling things, and lots of those things, and I have no idea what to do with them. I can’t just say, “oh, it’s the first year, it’ll get better.” I can’t fall back on old habits to numb everything. I’m faced with a raw version of myself.
I see the incredible flaw in thinking I could struggle perfectly. That I could control my struggle and think my way out of it. It is silly.
I don’t like to face that because I don’t have a solution to this problem either. I don’t have any excuses. I’m not able to perfectly articulate my sin in clear and concise words and give a plan of attack. I’m learning, slowly but surely, that is okay. God has shown me that sometimes we don’t get to know the plan. Sometimes we are just called to be where we are (probably more often then I am comfortable admitting). To just sit and be. Not trying to formulate a plan, or find out a way to understand it more, or a way to fix it, but to just let ourselves be. That is so hard for me, to just sit and be. To let myself actually feel something. Usually if I do feel something its for like 5 minutes, and then the second anyone tries to talk to me about it I immediately put my guard back up. Laugh it off. Make a joke. Change the subject. Pretend like I was actually upset about something else that I can articulate better. Those are all effective methods, but they’re not life-giving. They steal life from me. They rob me of feeling truly known, of deep vulnerable friendships, and of understanding Jesus’ love for me better.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
It doesn’t say come with everything figured out and I will grade your plan on its effectiveness. It doesn’t say I will give you a plan of how to solve it. The only thing Jesus wants is for me to come to Him, to stop trying to struggle perfectly, as if somehow I can earn something. He just wants to love me. To give my raw soul rest.
That is my challenge for myself this year. To just be. To give my true heart to Jesus always. To feel things deeply. I think it is going to be an adventure.