Battle Royal

What brings us to tears will lead us to grace. Our pain is never wasted. – B.G.

Here’s the thing about prayer. The answers never come in the way you want. I prayed for clarity, and that’s what I got. Did it hurt like hell? Yes, it really really did.

The human condition has never been anything but a great messy battle. A war within yourself and against yourself. I would say that for the last 8 months or so, all I’ve done is charge into battle and get my ass kicked. BEATEN. BLOODY. BROKEN. And I did it again and again. Every single day. Now…. I want to be angry. I want to blame them. I know the struggle was always mine, but I’m justified to say that I was left alone to fight when my battle was no secret. I want to be bitter, and hardened, and angry. But I cannot. Because I know God’s heart… Because I don’t want my own heart to turn dark. Even though it would be easier. It would be soooo much easier. I want to say that they don’t deserve me caring at all.

“Screw them. You do you. If you have to make them the villain to get over it, then do it!” That’s the advice I’ve gotten. It’s a tempting option. Soooo, of this world… That’s not what God wants. I know that much. And I HAVE to choose the road less traveled.

All I’ve ever wanted was to love them correctly. Love them the way that God intended for me to love them, even in the muck and sin and struggle. All I wanted to do is be the friend they want and need. That when they need an ear, I’m there as a FRIEND. That when they need another’s opinion, I give them my thoughts and advice as a friend, ignoring what I feel and what I want. Because they are important and precious to me. Their happiness is important to me. Their well being is important to me. Not because I get butterflies in my stomach, but because I don’t believe that my relationship with them is a mere delusion I’m trying to force into reality. I DON’T want that reality.

Loving sacrificially is the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted. If I could ignore the Holy Spirit, I would not wish to love anybody this way. How did Jesus do it….

Guilt. The thoughts came swarming: I am beyond redemption. Everything is always my fault. I can’t do anything right. I’m so selfish that I can only choose my sin. Every person I meet is better off not having met me. I am condemned and bound to my dark thoughts. I WILL LOSE EVERYONE. God will take everybody away from me. I am not worth anybody’s love. I am not pretty enough. I am not smart enough. I am not godly enough. I cannot lead anybody to Christ. Maybe I’m not really a Christian at all. If I really loved God with all my heart, the choice would have been easy and clear.

I don’t want to be there again. I don’t want to stand on top of a building waiting for the fall because I can’t shut out my thoughts. I don’t want to think about swerving my car off the road every time I’m behind the wheel. I out of control. I don’t trust myself. I’m so terrified. So terrified that my thoughts will get the best of me…. “Jesus take the wheel” have never felt so real.

HOPE. My first reaction was that I have to leave and that this is the end of a wonderful thing. As hard and painful as the whole process has been and will be, there has to be HOPE. I have to believe that God is able to reconcile anything and anyone. To say that any situation is beyond God’s reach and power is to put God in a box. And God doesn’t simply get stored away like that. He is the Almighty on High.

I am scared, and I want to run away, but the voice in my ear keeps whispering that this friendship is still salvageable. That honest, genuine friendship is still possible. That you don’t have to excommunicate yourself or anybody… It keeps whispering hope. But… what if it’s false?

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. – Matthew 5:3-9

Something Good

The Interview. It didn’t happen the way I expected. I didn’t think I would tear up in front of the program director when talking about missions. And when she check the Accept box on my application right in front of me, I have to say I didn’t see it coming. I thought about what it would have been like if it happened any other way. If it had been a rejection, then it would be a sign that this wasn’t the direction God wanted me to take. Or if I had gotten in by a more traditional route, where I wait a few weeks for their decision before the YES, then I would say “oh, well a lot of people decide to go to grad school when they don’t know where to go” (a very selfish and All-Me decision), rather than believe that it was a God-ordained thing. The atypical way the whole ordeal went was a confirmation that my decision was true north. Your reading the post of an official candidate in CBU’s Masters in Counseling Psychology Program!

Counseling. Steven gave me her number a few days before. I didn’t contact her right away. To be honest, I had my reservations about the prospect of finding a counselor. And it sounded like she wouldn’t have much time for me, seeing as she’s both a professor and a practicing therapist. Why help me for lower pay? And being so wrapped up in my interview stuff, I pushed contacting her out of my mind. Until it hit.  I was sitting at my desk, eating a pasta, and watching a show. A perfectly relaxing time, when it crept up out of nowhere. The welling up of negativity, the emotions, the panic, and the tears. It wasn’t like the other breakdowns. It came faster and was a lot more volatile. Then I gave in. I emailed her. To my fortune, she responded within a few hours and the next thing I knew, we had a Skype session scheduled for the following day.

Depersonalization Disorder. Apparently, I display symptoms of this. I looked it up after our session. WebMD says that its when a person would experience episodes of disconnection and detachment. It’s like having an out of body experience that is usually a reaction to some sort of trauma/trigger. Like an outside person looking in. The person is still connected to reality, but they are aware that the reality is distorted somehow. The awareness becomes stressful and causes panic. And looking back on how I described my experiences in an earlier post, I would have to say it sounds about right. It’s not a conclusive diagnosis. I only had an hour with her. But it’s a start.

God. God gave me all that in a week. One answered prayer after another. He is good and he is working. It was hard believing that, no matter how many times I preached it to myself. But maybe it just takes a lot of God dragging me around kicking and screaming and whining and crying before I begin to see where he wants to bring me to.