I'm going to be very honest. I've been distant lately.
Tired, stressed...running circles in my head with the questions I have. Like my friend Carlyn wrote about, I've been feeling passive. Very shallow in my life. Physically and mentally exhausted. Emotionally nonexistent, sometimes. The problem goes deeper - I can't figure out why, and then I don't have enough strength in me to get up and do something about it.
For a while, I've had an intense internal conflict - good vs. bad. My mind can't seem to decide whether it wants to be happy or sad. So I'll sit there, weighing the choices, feeling like I should be happy but not quite wanting to.
I've been reminded that self-pity can be dangerous. It's so true, and I suddenly remember how much I feel sorry for myself. Upset, regretful. Wanting people to see and care. It makes it worse though - it lets the negative side win. When I let myself think or talk about feeling down, it reinforces those emotions and thoughts. It's a hard habit to break but I want to try. Annabel suggested helping others, and she's so right. I feel most connected to God these days when I'm talking to other people, encouraging them...
I think I've reached the bottom of it, the main problem. Because my head tells me I'm broken and that it's terrible and tragic. But my heart won't hear. It won't choose to care...and I don't know how to piece the parts back together. I believe that's the essence. My heart has been separated from my head and...I can't breathe.
The nerves don't transfer things like they used to, and my head can't remind the heart whatever I believe in and love. I am quite literally broken in half. Two parts of myself - which one has the strength to fuse everything back together? Neither, I'd have to say. Like so often, I think I need help from above.
But here, more questions arise. Where do I find the voice to call for help? Where do I find the balance? Do I even have to call? Do I just sit here and accept that I'm in a "dry place" and can't feel much right now? Do I work blindly through until something sparks? Or do I build a wood stack and wait for lightning to strike?
As I write this, the last option seems the most true. I need to move. I can't stay here. This dark, thin place is not a place for staying. God, I know I can't light that fire in myself. I can't tie my heart strings back to my head. Build a wood stack and wait for lightning to strike. I bring the firewood; make things ready, spend time with you; wait. You bring the spark. I just have to trust that the cycles of nature that move mountains can make it rain, too.
I've also realized that I have made "work" a massive idol. Homework, self-assigned deadlines, personal projects and goals - they have become my world. I shed tears over them, worry about them, put my life and heart on hold for them. Indefinitely? I've taken this idol and tied it to my heart like an anchor and thrown it into the ocean.
And it is oh so hard to drag it back up out of the water again. It's been buried in the sand at the bottom, made normal and engrained in my life, so much that I forget why I do it. Why I keep heaping sand on the pile, keeping the idol secure there in my ocean like it's a lifeline. But really, it's like I'm throwing dirt on my own grave.
I must find a way back up. To get out of this sluggish water, so I can breathe properly again. Cut the strings, Jesus - tie them back to you. Call back my heart and my head.
I understand the battle better now. The constant decision between joy and sorrow. For my heart and mind have been separated, and I've blocked the glue that's supposed to hold them together. I thought I could hold my head up, leave it on the surface like a bobber to mark my position, so that everything looked fine - then go exploring with my heart. I thought I could take a small stroke down into the ocean, away from the light - just for a moment - to see the bottom, to explore. I guess...I took more than one small stroke.
Over these months - maybe a year - I've dived down deep. Found an idol down there and tied my heart to it. (The glue would stretch, right?) I sunk lower and lower. Funny thing was, I thought I was going up. Perfect grades, good friends, a busy and successful life. Sounds good. Healthy. These are great things. It was easy to believe that I was going towards the light when I threw my heart at them.
But ignore the late nights. Ignore the stress and irritation. Close your eyes to the tears, because these are just side effects. Just tiny inconveniences, not long term, that must be overcome. Until they started to disable me. Too tired, too stressed. Working harder to keep up with the "standards". If I complete my to-do list, I'll finally feel good. Then I can be happy, carefree. But until then, just gotta plug through.
And then I just couldn't. I got to a point where I physically and mentally could no longer maintain the demands I'd built up for myself. I simply couldn't keep playing the deadly game, courting the idol. There reaches a point for every human being at which they realize that they are not invincible. The longer it takes, the harder it hits. Not that I had exactly been thinking I could do everything....but I hadn't hit a limit yet.
So my heart finally broke away. I was so tired, depressed, and without hope. I'd gotten pretty far down into that ocean before realizing I was going the wrong way. (And I know I saw it before this point...I just couldn't let go yet. I didn't have the strength to try to reject the idol. It was so heavy.) It was pretty hard to breathe down there.
I think God caught my drifting heart and ripped the string off. The fake-anchor-idol is beginning to fall away. And it hurts. It hurts when he does that. I've been grasping at that still-sinking idol for the last two weeks, even as God pulls me gently back towards the surface. It's hard to let go of a "life". But that wasn't a "life" worth living.
My heart needs to be connected to my head. I need to have feeling there that matches with my thoughts, that makes sense. That is deep and rooted in faith. There will always be battles - both within me and outside - and I want to have my head on my shoulder and my heart nearby. I don't want to worry so much, work so much...I want to rest more, enjoy more. Stop letting "work" be my priority. There is so much more to life...
I learn as I write. It's one of the main reasons I do it. My heart is often changed by the end of it. Earlier in this post I asked God to cut the string. To light my fire wood with an electric spark. To make it rain, because I wasn't feeling anything and a good rainstorm might feel good to the skin. I wondered how I could ever find the voice to call out for help, and how to balance waiting and trying.
I think he's already cut that string now though. The climax of the last few weeks could be equated to the pain and danger a diver goes through when rising back to the surface from a very deep place. It's dangerous. If they rise too fast, it could be fatal, so they have to do it in stages. Life is dangerous. I've been moving up, back....so slowly, to someplace with more light. God's started something in me. I believe he will continue it. I guess it's time to start swimming now.
~Love you all!
What are you anchored to right now? What is God using to call you closer to him?