Lately, I have been feeling pretty insecure. Now, that isn’t something you are going to see most people type out and post to the internet, and that is precisely the reason that I’m going to level with y’all: we all go through moments like this, and I’m going to be honest, they generally suck.
It has taken me years to cultivate a good sense of self, and for whatever reason, most of that was the natural, completely fully conscious process of taking enormous risks and seeing what stuck. This stuff has been sequentially more huge: Survive depression and highschool, Learn to value your mind and intelligence, Learn to speak out with and not for others, Learn to value your opinion and share it (however poorly), Get on a plane with a suitcase and a backpack alone and straight up leave, Meet Jesus, and rearrange and reorganize all the shitty things you are too afraid to confront on a daily basis into the context of God’s great love and moving forward.
Yeah, easier typed than done.
But these things defy age. If anyone else tells me that I am a) brave, b) wise, c) a magical unicorn that eats cotton candy and shits rainbows for doing any of the above, I will either smile a forced smile or look down at my shoes in sadness.
I’m not going to say that those things aren’t good things, even great things. But if we think about the conflict between HUMILITY vs. EGO more than we focus on reality, we limit a lot of the truth, whittling it down into toothpicks to fester with the terrible and gold stars to reward us for things we don’t have any right to take credit for.
If anything good comes into your life, it is after billions of years of suffering that lead to God choosing for that good thing to be sent to you. If you are physically and mentally capable of serving others, that is the greatest gift you can be sent, just ask Jesus. I wish there was no pressing desire on the world and thus, people as a whole to look at the good and take credit for it, but no one is exempt from that burden, and unless you aren’t Jesus Christ the Messiah, learning kindness and patience are the natural pain’s in the asses that come with that.
For the record, I suck at those terribly. I suck at not lashing out at my family when I’ve said the same information 80 times and it gives me rage to have to point out the same stupid logical time date and place tidbits over and over and over again, and to feel like I’m the only one trying when my ego decides to pitch a fit. But, that was never true, it never has been. The funny thing about talking about the truth is it is 100% good and 100% bad, and the only thing that is infinitely good is God’s grace and none of any person’s bitching. You have the choice to believe in a promise that will change your life and was paid for billions of years before Christ even died; before God casually spoke everything out into the void. I don’t get it, but neither do you, because we’re humans. And if that isn’t a reason to give kindness, patience, and above all, living the gospel a shot, then I have no idea what the hell else would be.
I am not patient, I am not kind. But lately I have decided to give the scariest thing of my young life to God, and it has given me the strength to bless others in a way that heals them. I’m talking about my love life.
I’m not saying that this kind of thing is huge. We’re talking cleaning up spilt Dr. Pepper in Biology when everyone keeps their seats and it’s sunk into your classmates iPhone. We’re talking about doing everything in your power to encourage the boy that is ridiculously kind and fascinating but stutters less when you take deep breaths on purpose when he gives his speech in your COMS class. We’re talking reaching out to loved ones and asking questions when you are most insecure. We’re talking forgiving the person you are in love with but no longer tolerating the suffering they trigger in you and others with empty words, lies, and cowardice that conceals.
I will not speak much more about that on this blog, because I want this to be a place of healing. I want to be able to talk about the truth, the full truth, regardless of what a “humble” or “egotistical” person would do, because if you catch me in the right damn moment, I’m not either of those things, I’m both. We all are. It’s okay, it’s a promise. And by the grace of God, it’s his promise.
I love the world, other people, and God more than I have the power to justify. I love so many things so much that crying is just as good of an outlet as dancing it off (that seriously helps), and I have to leave a lot of god damn battles on the table in the name of freshly internalized patience.
But I also know many things. I know a lot about walking through the dark, and I’m going to do my damndest to walk with and not walk for. The people of this world are no less broken and no more broken than I am. Let us walk together, after all, that way we can lift each other up (pretty sure Paul has something to say about that 😉 ).
But it is a choice. Every day. When you are mad. When you think you can’t forgive. It is a choice when you are happy, but it is a struggle when you are lost and broken. Processing and feeling the struggle in all its shitty glory is part of it, you have to run into the flames for the parts of you that aren’t goodness to be burned away. But you come out a greater blessing to the people you love and can’t escape from regardless, and if that isn’t worth investing in self-care and honesty, I don’t know what is.
I don’t have all that much to say in relation to all that can be said about God. There is no way. I have my opinion, and I will not write in in frilly, sensational, curtsying prose like C.S. Lewis. I believe he has much to say, but the dark is much greater than a curtsy, and it is within us as well as everywhere we don’t want to look. Bravery isn’t about spontaneously deciding it’s worth it, it is about practice, measuring your words with God’s ruler (as in, listening to the Holy Spirit and being wholly contrite), and it’s about not caring nearly as much about what people think and decide to tell you, even when it is easy. That doesn’t change if your ideas are terrible or beautiful, the point is, no one likes to believe they are wrong or see it flashed in front of their faces. But only goodness, patience, love, and the wholeness of God can do that, and I just want to make it 100% painfully clear on this one: THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF US.
I care about these words, more than most others I have written lately. I can’t guarantee anything as I look to the future, and that is an immeasurable blessing; I can go where God calls me and I will focus on being like Christ, however terribly. It doesn’t matter if I have wounded this semester, because it matters in a way that only will be resolved by actions that are boldly kind, and I have a lot of those in me, they are the one thing I don’t have to think about. More than anything, I want to be the kind of person that need not speak often to demonstrate goodness. And as of today, that is not me most of the time.
I know that God will look after all of it. It’s a knowledge that doesn’t need justified. I know that he will look after the boy that has broken my heart with the same redemption and kindness, as I know that if he cares to say anything regarding this situation to him regarding his next steps, he won’t be able to shake the “I told you so” voice of the Holy Spirit. The truth is fully bad and fully good, and it isn’t about fairytales, it is about sacrifice. And that is why we forgive.
There isn’t a right answer to this, him and me or anything else. There is only the answer, the answer is in God. There isn’t any sense of fairness, and there never was after goodness was shattered; it gets progressively more shitty and it always has. But the reality is only a fraction of what we see anyways, the Holy Spirit doesn’t discriminate and it was always kind, righteous, brave, and consistently like Christ, which means that as we fail continuously, we don’t have to be the perfect ones, God will be.
I will leave you with these words: Life is a gift. Life is a gift in the context of gratitude, life is a gift in the context of pain. You don’t choose what you are given, but at the end of the day, it hardly ever mattered, because goodness is given, it isn’t earned.
If you are in finals week, God be with you. If you are stressed and about to trip into the Holiday Season, he is sitting beside you as your crazy aunt rants about dividing your grandmother’s estate over dinner. If you wish there was something you could do about _________ that happens and is above your understanding, you’re in luck: just be kind. The maxim my mother taught me as a child about “Killing them with kindness” has always been true; believe it.
As for now, I’m going to drift back into the logical world we live in, and continue loving my life. It is enough to just be still.
All the best,