So many negative thoughts were pounding on my brain. Thoughts of hopelessness, futility, worthlessness-- all of them convincing arguments about what a waste my life had become, how little I've ever done that mattered in the least, and a flood of discouragement overwhelmed me. By the time I got back to the gym an hour and a half later only two words remained in my mind, "I quit."
It's like I was standing at a ledge of sorts. I felt like there were two choices, continue wandering around here in the land of futility, this "walk of faith" I call my life, or just jumping off the edge and walking away from it all. I actually wondered, or was it prayed how I would ever figure out how to live as though God no longer existed in my world. Could I just ignore Him? Push him out of my mind? He's always there, I know He's always there, but I just don't feel like it's making much of a difference lately, at least not one for the good. So what would jumping look like? How would I quit? How would I pretend what I know is real just no longer mattered in my life?
All day yesterday the sadness just hung on me. My husband kept asking me what was wrong. I didn't know how to answer. Besides, lately sharing my struggles with him has felt like handing him a millstone. It just weighs him down, and he has no capacity to help me. My glass half full husband can't comprehend my battle over negative thoughts. He wants to "fix me", and he can't. So every time he asked, I just told him I was fine.
This morning I woke up uttering a prayer. "Daddy, help me." Daddy, not Father, not God, but Daddy. Why? Because I get it. Despite all my struggles and aches in my heart, I GET that God loves me. To the very depth of my being, I understand the Truth, and that is not where my battle lies. And it has been with great guilt lately that I have prayed honestly before Him, "It's not enough." I want more.
I know I matter to Him. I desperately want to know what I do matters - to the world, to His kingdom, to other people. I know what the Word says, about good plans and being created for a purpose and I want to walk in those things. I have been saying for a good long while, "I know my gifts," and have been begging to be used in them. And instead I have felt lost and purposeless. It's become all I think about anymore - all that I don't have, and all that I'm not doing.
I don't know when I became so completely self-centered. I suspect in the very nature of being human the seed has always been there, but I don't know how long I have been watering it to the point it has now grown. And stepping back now, I see the bloom for what it is, a weed that's poisoning my soul.
"Daddy, help me."
Help me stop being so negative.
Help me stop being so hopeless.
Help me stop sabotaging myself with the lies the enemy has whispered and I now repeat with a megaphone in my own mind.
Help me stop thinking about me. All the time. Every day. Without ceasing.
I read a tweet recently that said "I'm always UP." God bless that person, that's not me. "UP" is such a long hard battle. "You have to choose your joy" is another blip I saw on a screen. It's not that simple. There's more to it than that, at least for me.
I grabbed my Bible for the first time in a long time this morning. I turned to the Psalms. I love that book full of the words of men who struggled. David - the man after God's own heart, I am so thankful he's in there - the struggler, the adulterer, the failure - the one who knows betrayal, disappointment, the pain of waiting. David wasn't always "up." On the contrary he was a man of many emotions, highs and lows, and yet he loved the Lord all along the way.
Asaph too, he seemed to be a man of many emotions, a man who knew struggle. I love his words in Psalm 73, they resonate in my very soul.
and have washed my hands in innocence.
All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever
Psalm 73: 13-14, 23-26
I picture him standing at a ledge of his own. And his question rings so true. "Whom have I in heaven but You?" Despite the hurt, the hardship as tough as I find this "walk of faith" to be, what other option is there? Even in a moment of fantasizing about it, I cannot begin to imagine walking away. I love Him too much, and I know His jealous love would not let me go.
I honestly don't know when I became this person. I think it was subtle and slow, and it has become as much of the problem as a response to my struggles.
Today I am carrying a couple cards in my pocket with scriptures on them. I'm starting in Psalms and going to work my way through. Today I read the first three chapters, and these are my take aways.
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
...And whatever he does shall prosper.
On the bottom I wrote "Meditate, work on the roots, flee negativity." Three simple steps I can take today.
The second card has more scripture:
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.
Hear me, "Help me Daddy. Lift my head." That's my prayer as I try to step away from the ledge.