This may be one of the hardest things that I share. Mostly because it has a lot to do with where I am currently, and not where I have been. It is now December, and as much as I am trying for this year to be different, there are somethings that I just can’t seem to turn off in my mind. I want to share this so that others do not feel alone, so others know it’s okay. And writing it out helps me to express where I am at and process it myself. The only thing I ask is that while reading this you just take a moment and realize this is my experience, my perspective and puts me in a place of being vulnerable. I ask that you keep that in mind and that this doesn’t become a place of disagreement or trying to fix the situation, just a way to understand my heart and my experiences in learning to go from victim to conqueror.
As much as I have tried to keep my focus on positive things, it is difficult. My mind plays memories over and over again. Especially when I am out and about and cars are driving by me, or in the quiet of the night. The hustle and bustle of the holidays just makes me think of how close December 28th we are and that is a day I will never forget. The continual reminder makes me feel anxious, inadequate and isolated. Those three feelings create a roller coaster of emotions. The ups and downs are probably the worst part. If I am in one constant mode I can handle it, but when I go from okay, to feeling great, to being angry, to anxious, to hopeless, and back to great again it makes it a constant battle. It makes it a confusing time for myself as sometimes it seems my mood changes without reason and if I can’t understand it I sure don’t expect anyone else to get it.
Now, do I believe that God is using this for good and growing me in it. Yes, I do. Because I can see where that has happened the last 2 years. But then I find myself being stuck, being in a position where I feel like I should be further, that I know better but in the moment can’t seem to put it in practice, that I don’t know how to truly struggle and feel like I am being faithful. The best way I can think to describe it is like being caught in a huge rain and wind storm. And in trying to stay dry pulling out an umbrella as a shelter. The umbrella in this instance is the truth and what the reality is, the wind is the feelings of isolation, inadequacy, being anxious, anger, frustration, and everything in-between. When the wind kicks up I have to cling tightly to the umbrella, but it is hard work, and the wind gets stronger and the umbrella begins to fold, become bent, and seems like it isn’t helping and is too much work to hold onto. Then the moment the wind dies down I can unfold the umbrella and rest under the shelter from the rain again. The hardest part is sometimes the wind is stronger and lasts longer than other times. It seems unpredictable.
It is very easy for myself to get in a place where it seems like the storm isn’t going to end, or that I am letting God down. Know most of the time I know this is true, but when the wind kicks up that is where it is difficult to keep my focus. That is where the true panic sets in because that is my foundation, my shelter being shaken. Let me share with you a few things that, at least for me, are helpful and not helpful in these times, in those moments:
Don’t say I am letting this control me. Rather come alongside me and recognize I am not choosing these things, just as frustrated as you are by it, I am as well. Because like I said earlier I KNOW the truth, but sometimes that wind gets too strong and distorts it.
Do listen and validate. If I do choose to share that it has been a hard day, or that my mind is going crazy offer to listen. Then really listen to what I am saying, you may not know what to say, but a simple acknowledgement of the fact that what I am feeling is real, and then, maybe then a gentle reminder of the truth and reality.
Don’t act like I should be past a certain part or that it shouldn’t impact me. I doubt myself and where I am at enough. I need to be sometimes be able to be in those places. After a super hard day, or week, or season, there is nothing more empowering than to look back and see people loved me regardless and I made it through.
Do ask me questions. It’s okay to ask me things directly. Sometimes there is much going on it is too much to sift through to say exactly what is going on or where I am at. It is way easier to answer a question of hey, have you been sleeping? Or you seem distant is there a reason? Or how can I help you? Just don’t have an expectation of what the answer is going to be and listen.
Don’t forget that I am still me. Don’t read this and feel sorry for me. Read it and learn. I still have my passions, I want to make a difference. Help empower me in this journey to finding a strong voice. Allow me to dream again, right now that dream is that in learning to share I can play a part in making a difference. That the worst day of my life would bring glory, make a difference and be used for something good. Right now it’s in learning to have a voice and be vulnerable.
Do keep fighting for me. When I can’t, when that umbrella seems to fold up and pull hard and I’m in the rain. Come alongside me. Listen to me, pray with me, encourage me, and validate me. The people who have had the most profound impact haven’t been afraid to come and be in the middle of the storm with me. Even if it means listening to the same fears, the same struggles over and over again.
Some of these things are more helpful than others and some of these things may help others. It all comes down to encouragement, acceptance, love and grace. Thankfully, I have some amazing people in my life, who listen (to my night ramblings, to my irrational panics, and the roller coaster of emotions) they validate what I am feeling first and foremost, they let me be in that place, but they also gently point me to the truth, but in a love way that is encouraging and refreshing.
In the midst of the current struggle that is how I know God provides. This is me learning to live freely and that includes overcoming fears of judgement for where I am at, and using this as an opportunity to share to help other understand and so none of my friends have to feel alone. I am in the middle of the storm, in a time of lack of sleep, but in this calm moment I have faith. That is a blessing. And I know with the people I have by my side, that this year will be different. It won’t be without struggle but after this season I will be one step closer to taking this month back, to someday being excited about the Christmas season again. That is my other dream, that this season will become a time of celebration, excitement, and joy. I am not there, and that is okay.2:03 A