Certainly I am not the only person of faith that has sunk into a kind of passive state in which you have reminded yourself of the things you’ve done that have separated you from the Lord.
This has kind of been me for the last week. I’ve felt distant from God, mostly putting myself into a depressive episode in which I struggle to feel alive. I have no problems feeling human, in fact, it’s like all I feel is human. I feel weighed down by every ten thousand reason I don’t deserve forgiveness, and the devil on my shoulder sings loudly about how I’ve fallen so many times, over and over again, just like a dog eating its vomit, and I feel stained in dirt but I won’t wipe it off because I’m the one who rolled around in it.
The first week is always the busiest—it was the week of firsts, and firsts never fail to overwhelm me. It was my first full week of work, the first time I’ve ever worked a job in which I wasn’t cleaning toilets or wiping mirrors or delivering fans. I spent so much of the week underestimating myself and my abilities to do things that have come naturally to me for my entire life, like every poetry class comparing myself to every other poet, and repeating the same draining words in my novel writing class.
And I don’t know how, but by the end of the week I felt like I was a mud puddle. Caught in the wave of my dejection and relentless comparison, I was reminded of my sinfulness and of all of the reasons I didn’t deserve to feel near to God.
And what do you do when you feel like that? When you unrighteously separate yourself from the One person that has shouted your worthiness to every nation, has loved you though every heartache?
I know what I do. I retreat to the safety of my bed, and I crawl under the covers, and I turn on netflix or I scroll through Instagram, or I mindlessly laugh at tweets, and I forget for a little while that I’m a person.
I’ve carried that tradition, that unruly habit of retreating to be alone, and be, as I call it, not a person for a while. Initially, this was practice instituted by yours truly as a means of genuinely trying to take care of myself. It was supposed to be my way of forgetting my anxiety and to enjoy being alone without any obligations or responsibilities. However, over time, this should-be-good practice turned into unproductive, unnecessary, and some other third synonym vessel for my depression and anxiety to force me into when I feel overwhelmed and insecure.
This week I spent a lot of time feeling overwhelmed and insecure, so I just found myself a couple of times fueling this habit of “not being a person” and it led me, well, to put it frankly, it led me to Hell.
The weight of this was laid on my shoulders last week, and it hit me that part of being a parson means having responsibilities and insecurities, and faults, and sin. I realized that everything I was feeling was naturally human, and that by denying my “being a person” I was only stimulating the very things I’ve been trying to fight—the depression and anxiety.
I decided no more “not a person” retreats. I’m going to celebrate every week, every part of being a person by choosing to never not be a person.
As I write this now, it’s been a week since I made that decision and I can honestly say that it’s been a lot better for me––maybe I haven’t felt the greatest, but I think that’s the entire point of this whole following Christ thing that we get to do.
And what does God do when we feel like this?
Well, to put it simply, He restores us. He begins the essential, though difficult work of unraveling, of healing, of continuing the new creation process.
and I get a front row, first-person seat at watching the ways that He is restoring my mind, restoring the way that I talk to myself and to others, the ways that He is restoring the intricate fabrics of the lives of my friends, and so much more. He is so consistent within the process of restoration that I really have to try not to see it.
I get to believe that Jesus is there when we ask Him to be (and really just all of the time), but I know that He’s there in those difficult moments, and He’s not waiting around to see what I’m going to do, but He’s there gently nudging me in His direction. I love the He does that!
Throughout this last week, I’ve taken special notice of how Christ is consistently restoring me to be like Him and to really hone this “new creation” thing. He’s restored me through my friendships, and through my moments singing in the car, and when it’s four am and I’m scrambling to do homework, He’s sitting there with me––unfazed by the time I spend not believing in His restorative justice, and He loves me back into place.
Friends, I would love to get to know you all deeper! Please let me know the ways that God is restoring you in this season of your life.
grace and peace.