Tears pool at the base of my neck. My nose threatens to drip any second. My checks burn hot and my eyes are puffy.
I’m not feeling beautiful today.
My insides scream for someone to notice the pain I’m going through. See me! Help me!
Instead, I walk around in an invisibility cloak of my own making; my need to appear self-sufficient, like I’ve got it all together, has fooled everyone.
Over the past 12 months I have experienced betrayal and rejection in some of my most important relationships. In response I have shut down, shut out and shut up. My emotions are frayed and I can’t seem to handle anymore. Yes, I have seen healing in some of these areas, but there’s still so much that is raw.
I have curled up within myself and just keep making myself tighter, smaller and harder. Don’t let people in, don’t trust again, don’t share what’s going on. Interestingly enough, I wrote a post last week about dealing with rejection in a Biblical manner…I guess I needed to read it better.
I realized today that this behavior has extended to more than those people I’m around. God has received the same treatment.
When I was reading Kelly’s post on her love story with God I felt like someone had smacked me across the face. The sting of reality hit me full-force.
“I couldn’t un-believe His existence; it was the only thing that made sense. But I was as close as I had ever been to hating Him. I didn’t want to have anything to do with Him. I didn’t want Him to use me anymore. I felt manipulated and betrayed and… dead.” – Kelly Langner Sauer
Her words resonated deeply with me; they had an honesty that I wasn’t capable of admitting to myself. I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. I’ve volunteered at church since I was in elementary school and I feel that God has placed a call to ministry on my life.
How do I reconcile all this with what I’m feeling? Like a sliding door, I’ve gone off track…but I don’t know how to get back into right alignment. I’ve tried reading my Bible, I’ve tried praying, I’ve tried worship.
The thing is…God always meets me. Last Sunday during church God spoke to me, “I see you.” Such simple words, but something deep in my heart shattered and the grief sobbed its way out. I stood there, my body shaking with emotion…alone. Even as He was telling me He sees me, it wasn’t enough. I wanted to know that there were others who cared, who looked past my mask to see the ache of loneliness. No one came.
How can I complain about this though? I have spent the last few months intentionally closing myself off. What do I expect? I wrestle with feeling lonely, neglected, forgotten and feeling guilty for being the cause of it. I want to call those who care for me, but feel selfish. I’ve allowed so much time to pass between communications and I don’t want them to feel I’m using them.
I’ve always been the capable one. Any situation or problem could be overcome in time. I prided myself on being efficient, independent and not burdening my friends. Now I ache for companionship, support, encouragement.
Today, it was found in the words of someone I have never met. This message in an email comforted me:
“Just breathe. Let Him love you. You don’t have to respond if you can’t. Our faith isn’t our work anyway. It is His gift.”
Since I was little I’ve heard the lesson of Ephesians 2:8-9
Yet I continued to believe that my service, my righteousness, my devotion was necessary to maintain a proper relationship with God. That gentle reminder that my faith isn’t my work ripped something out of me.
God has broken me. I’m not capable. I’m not self-sufficient. I’m not independent. I’m not strong.
Without Him I’m nothing.
That is beautiful.