It’s the question I’ve been asking myself over and over again for the last two months. I feel as if I’m in the passenger seat watching myself drive my life into the ground. I come from a long line of alcoholics. My family has a long history of mental illness, and both of those traits didn’t skip over me. 2016 was a hard year for me. It was the year where all of my uncertainty, insecurities, fears and doubts rose to the surface of my life. Yet, one thing that I always relied on was my faith, but today, I sit here and I feel so far away from God. I feel as if I am the shore and God is the sun in the distance that you try so hard to look at but end up being blinded by its beaming light, so you look away and forget about the sun and stick to the shore because it’s familiar.
I find it funny that I keep saying, “I wish God would just show up and talk to me.” and I feel the deep pit in my stomach grow wider because there are no booming words ascending from the sky. No letters flown in by angels. No giant production that says, “I am God, hear me roar”. I am silly. More so, I have been blind. I expect God to show up in this theatrical manner, when I know that isn’t his style. God came to us as a baby, a symbol of innocence and vulnerability. Not what you would expect from an almighty entity that created us from dust. Because of these expectations I’ve let myself fester in my loneliness, angst, and depression. I’ve been angry at God for being silent. The truth is, I wasn’t listening. He’s been here talking to me this entire time.
As I sit here, I can pin point each of those moments. I’m foolish. I’m human. I have been stuck in a spin cycle and God has knocked on my door trying to set me free, but I keep crawling back into my hole and asking for another way out because each time that he offers me a solution, I turn him down, because it isn’t the solution I want. I have spent these last few months being selfish and stubborn. I have been miserable, depressed, and more anxious than usual. My mind has been clouded by my mental illness and I’ve been supplementing my pain with liquor. Last night, I got so drunk that I slipped and fell. My knees have two giant bruises and all I can think when I look at them is, “How did we get here?”
The thing about straying from God is that it doesn’t happen in one day. It happens gradually. You start by talking to him less. You prioritize your church less. You begin to slip into a spiral where God is no longer your anchor, instead he is your chain. Suddenly, you’re me. You’re kicking and screaming asking him to change your circumstances when really that isn’t what you want. What you want is to have your way, even if it leads you to your demise.
Lately, I’ve been walking around with a dark cloud above my head. Breathing has been difficult. Quieting my mind has been impossible. Some days I drive past our local bridge and think about jumping. One thing is for certain, I have not been myself. I’m used to being the bubbly and wild friend that lives for deep belly laughs and adventure. The reality is, I’ve been living in denial. I’ve been telling myself that my heavy drinking is just me having fun. I’ve been “casually” seeing a friend of mine and pretending that it has nothing to do with my crippling anxiety and constant state of anguish. I tell myself that skipping church isn’t me running away from love, I’m just tired and need time for myself. If I’m being real, they’re all lies. They’re the lies that allow me to wallow in self loathing and continue to put my life on pause so that I can keep temporarily filling the deep voids that I know can only be filled with real love.
I jumped into this rabbit hole and have been complacent about escaping. I put the relationships and people that truly want to invest in me and love me on the back burner. For what? For my own selfish need to be right, to feel wanted, to prove the world wrong about my choices. After all of that wrestling, I have to admit that I’m exhausted and I’m drowning.
Through this struggle and self deprecation God has kept fighting for me. I can’t deny that. I asked God why he won’t talk to me, but that’s all he’s been doing. He showed up in the form of family. My community has chased me like no man ever has. They’ve listened to me when I say I’m going to change and continue on the same path. They’ve taken my wounds and burdens and carried them with me because they love me. They are a true reflection of Christ’s love for me. To be loved when you are ungrateful, self serving, and fickle is real love.
Today, I look back and see those moments so clearly. God was speaking to me through JD when I sobbed in his arms and told him I was tired and done. He spoke to me through Jenna when she held my legs in her lap and told me I was selfish and worth diamonds all at once. He was there when Mrs. Cory, Bekah, Courtney, and Jenna sat around our apartment reminding me of my worth and the love I deserve. He spoke through Cory, who reminded me that change doesn’t happen by chance and it takes courage to choose a new path so you can come out on the other side and be there for others. He’s there when Oli says my name in his sweet baby voice. When Lou lays on my chest. When Row jumps up on the couch with me. When Charlie asks me for crackers. When Tait teases me about my half drunken La Croix and when Mark makes fun of my Instagram problem. He’s always there, and always present through love. In my heart I have been ugly and self serving, when everything I really need has been mine this entire time.
I may have strayed and finding my way home might not be a walk in the park, but if there is one thing I know, it’s that I have never been alone and I never will be. I have family. People that come up to bat for me simply because they love me. That’s more than I deserve right now and so much more than I could ever ask for. Part of me is disappointed
in myself for neglecting these amazing relationships and my call to live, but there is also a part of me that knows that falling this far has given me the opportunity to see what really matters. Am I afraid? Absolutely. There is still so much healing that I need to do, and I know that this isn’t the last time I’ll be hurting. Yet, there is a peace that I feel knowing in my soul that I am loved, and I am enough.