Into the Forge of God

What does it mean to lay it down? We hear that so often and we tell people that they can lay their cares at the cross, lay down their burdens and walk away and let Christ help and heal and deliver them. What does this really mean, though?

I immediately thought, “All right, God, I’ll look online and see what I can find.” He immediately showed me Peter. Who but Peter can fully understand what it means to completely and totally betray Christ and have Him reach out to him, love him, and hug him? While we all consider the story of the Prodigal son to be about us, and rightly so, maybe, just maybe, Jesus told that story for Peter. Maybe He was speaking directly to Peter, understanding that eventually we would see it to represent all of us who betray and abandon God only to be joyously welcomed back.

These are all fresh revelations and considerations to me as I type this. So, why am I here?

NOTE: I usually jump from first person to all inclusive in my blogs, so you can feel like you’re a part of it and apply it to yourself. This blog has a completely different feeling to it. Every time from the paragraph below and on, I tried to universalize the revelations, Holy Spirit made it uncomfortable and I had to go back and personalize it. Truly, even when I tried to deter from the above revelation and discuss the internet revelations of “laying it down”, it felt forced and stifled and I couldn’t move beyond the first sentence I typed. There is something here, some content, that God is bringing to light in me. If it helps and blesses you, please let me know. I find that these kinds of blogs are the most relevant. So, beware that there will be rambling. This is a journey blog. Thank you for walking with me.

First, let’s start with the feelings of being alone, the feelings of being overwhelmed and worthless, because I think we all face that at some point in our lives, don’t we? Well, I face it often, mainly because I am one of those always busy kind of people and I don’t really do the creative things I once did. In fact, outwardly I would be analyzed as dangerously depressed, as one of the signs is loss of interest in things and another is social isolation. Believe me when I say that I have both. Of course, there is a great deal more involved and I am not the least bit in danger of drastic measures because even on my worst day, I am grateful for the life God has given me. The darkness in my life is my own doing. God only brings light, you see, so the issues that I face are caused by my own hands.

That isn’t even the point of this. I digress, as usual. So, I was sitting here thinking about my upcoming graduation from ENMU with an unexpected Associate of Arts degree and I realized that my excitement has progressively waned and I don’t even want to walk in the ceremony on Saturday anymore and I was thinking about the distance and the things that prevent things from happening that I’d desire to have happen, and I was just feeling off and downcast. Not depressed, mind you, but just not wanting to don the cap and gown and see that my weight has increased horribly since a year ago and that I’m just a face in a sea of faces and who even really cares, truly, and this is all in the midst of constant support and encouragement. So, yeah, I get it when I feel like I just don’t care and no one else does, even when everything in life tells me differently. Sometimes, liars try to tell me that I don’t matter. That’s for later, though, a blog for another time.

As I finished up listening to the Glenn Beck show, I decided that I wanted to see what was going on with The Blaze on iHeart radio. I had it set on KLove, and Jud Wilhite was speaking about feeling alone and being called by God and believing that He is with me in the midst of it. Deuteronomy 3:8, “The LORD is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.” HCSB

It pierced my soul like a sword. I looked up Jud Wilhite on my cell phone and listed to his most recent sermon. Then, for lack of interest in investing while working, I turned iHeart back on to give me some music and inspiration and the song “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crows was on and I shut my eyes (I was and currently am on my morning break) and I said, “Okay, God, what are you trying to tell me?”

You see, the song was at the part that said, “Oh, my soul, you are not alone, there’s a place where fear has to face the God you know. One more day, He will make a way, let Him show you how you can lay this down, ‘cause you are not alone.”

Now do you see it? How in the world do I lay it down? How do I walk away from the travesty of my own destructive choices and actions? I am in dire straits currently, you see, and it seems like it’s getting worse. The sermon I listened to by Jud Wilhite was about the armor of God and standing firm and knowing that testing isn’t about my favor with God. He spoke about how Jesus had just been identified by God as His Son and in whom He was well pleased. And from that moment, God’s Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for 40 days.

Into the forge…but who likes to be molded and shaped and forged? The metal isn’t alive. It doesn’t protest. I do, however. The pruning of my dead and dying branches makes me cry out in protest, unless I’m willing to be pruned.

I’m hungry. It’s been growing and I feel so dissatisfied with the level of commitment and dedication and attention I’ve been putting into the relationship with Jesus. I’ve been to the wedding feasts and felt His banner of love waving over me and I’ve been in the battle when the fight for the moment is done and He changed my armor into bridal raiment and led me into the courts to dance with Him. I’ve been in the weary places where all I could do was lay my head upon His knee and be with Him. I’ve sat beside the fountain and have had intimate conversations with Him, gentle and strong and sure. The intimacy I’ve shared with Him is still in my mind and it is still a longing of my soul. It’s crying out to Him, pleading with Him to open the gates and let Him in, but my flesh and my fear are keeping it locked.

This isn’t about what was, but rather about what is. I am in a place where I have been more encouraged in my godly life and call than ever before, and yet I am more discontented than ever. The things that lay before me are not the things I ordered, you see, but that matters little at all, because the purpose of the journey, of what God intends to do and where He is taking me is beyond my capacity to understand. Another song by Casting Crowns sings of God asking me to let Him dream for me. His dreams and plans and goals are beyond my own.

Laying it down…how do I do that? How do I lay down the feeling that I’ve failed so miserably and am now under water, not even treading water anymore, and how can I even ask Him to help me? How can I even ask God to come and save me from this mess? I deserve these consequences, you see, and they aren’t eternal, but they are long-term here in the temporal. The feeling of being trapped and burdened is overwhelming me. I can see the future that He has for me, at least a part of it, but I have self-sabotaged so much that I am now under the water I once treaded in.

In a couple of acts, there are no regrets. They were necessary. It was the piling on of these necessary onto the willful and greedy acts of my life. I need to lay things down, put on the bridal gown, and dance with my Beloved. There is a cry for worshipers to arise, a cry for the passionate to lead the way into the courts with thanksgiving and praise. But, how do I lay down the heavy burdens I carry, knowing that they are still things that I must face tomorrow?

Looking at the definition of “prostrate”, which came up when I searched the biblical definition of “lay it down”, I see to lay lowly and be humble, to spread one’s body over the ground, lay flat on the ground, to “sink totally; to deprive of strength; to reduce”, and “to overthrow; to demolish; to destroy; to deprive of efficiency; to ruin”.

Wow. When I consider that many times, my only option before Jesus is to lay down and weep, just pour it all out to Him fully prostrate on the ground, no shame, not loss, just crying out to Him with no reservations, it makes sense that to lay down my burdens and my sins and my regrets and my failures and my sins at His feet would be to fall face down before Him and just let Him take them from me.

The burdens and the sins and the regrets lose their strength there, they are deprived of their power, and they are overthrown and destroyed…if I leave them there. How do I leave them there?

Peter. I identify with him so much it’s almost frightening. I mean, I’d rather be John, the disciple Jesus loved. Now, Jesus loved them all, of course, but John just got it, you know what I mean? He saw that He was nothing without Christ and that he was genuinely and completely loved by Christ and that became his identity. Wow. To be identified within myself by the wondrous truth of the love Christ has for me would be a life altering experience. I mean, I once lived it, you see? Long ago…so very long ago…when He could call to me in the grocery store and tell me to come to be with Him and I would go.

Leaving it at His feet is a separate task, you see? I can lay it down rather simply. I just can’t walk away from it. Peter ran the gambit of faith and failure and gives me an abundance of hope. He spoke Holy Spirit inspired truth and flesh-inspired folly. He was rebuked by Christ for his untamed tongue. He was full of bravado and most of the time he fully lived it out. He walked on water! I mean, really, this wasn’t a placid lake. This was a storm tossed sea! And he asked Christ to let him come out of the boat and walk on water to reach Him and Christ said yes! The fact that Peter sank is neither here nor there. He got out of the boat! What more can I expect from the man?

Peter cut off the ear of a man trying to arrest Jesus. Jesus healed it. Peter swore previously that he would stand with Christ until death if need be and then fell asleep in the garden, couldn’t even take time to pray. Jesus brings that kind of peace, you see? Even in the midst of His own turmoil, His peace covered His followers to the point that they could find rest while He prepared to lay down His life for them. In reverse moments, when facing a raging sea, they cried out in dismay at Him as He slept in the boat. Where can I rest my eyes? In His presence, for He was with them and they could see Him, there was fear and yet in the garden, when He was off with God and choosing His Father’s will and saving me, they were content and peaceful. Surely the climate, the very air, was full of the electricity of the struggle and of the impending darkness. Yet, they slept and so did I.

In the face of danger, even with Christ by my side, peace is elusive. I am in the very eye of the storm and He is with me and He is telling me that I am not alone and that I must trust Him and I must lay it down and leave it at His feet and trust Him, despite the storm, despite the appearance of danger, despite what my eyes are seeing. Trust Him enough to leave it all behind.

The Prodigal came to his senses in a pig pen. Am I not in my own pig pen? As Peter felt the shame of his betrayal and denial of Christ in the most vital moments of declarations, Jesus was aware of his shame and said, “And tell Peter,” because others would have gladly left that vile betrayer out of it. Understand that even Judas would have been summoned, had he not taken his own life.

I can’t even begin to imagine the feeling Peter had upon seeing Jesus again. The shame he felt upon even hearing that Jesus had, in fact, risen from the dead was overwhelming, I’m sure. “He’s risen, and I’ve failed Him!” Agony and despair and loss and tragedy. Peter didn’t even run very fast. John was able to overtake him in his excitement. Jesus had promised and had delivered!

Jesus is alive!

Later, Jesus appeared to them. It amazes me to no end that Jesus waited for Mary at the tomb. He could have left the angel there, as he did for the others, but no, for Mary, He lingered and He waited and He offered this woman who was rejected by all before she met Him the love that He always held for her. “Mary,” He said, and in that instant she recognized Him, because His love was poured out in the way He said her name and how could she possibly deny that familiar tone of reckless love when she had been so starved for love for so long?

Digression. It’s my gift. As I mentioned, this blog is one of those “journey” blogs that many get weary in and stop reading. And that’s okay.

Peter and John heard of His rising from the dead through an angel and Peter had to be woefully nervous and concerned. Would it be the same? Would it even matter anymore? How he had failed Him! He had let Him down! How could he ever be in His presence again?

I’ve felt that way. And, in the life of Peter, Jesus reassures me of His absolutely boundless love.

Ray Boltz sings a song, “He’s Alive” and it says, “Back inside the house again the guilt and anguish came; everything I’d promised Him just added to my shame. When at last it came to choices, I denied I knew His name; and even if He was alive, it wouldn’t be the same. But suddenly the air was filled with a strange and sweet perfume; light that came from everywhere drove shadows from the room. Jesus stood before me with His arms held open wide; and I fell down on my knees and just clung to Him and cried. He raised me to my feet and as I looked into His eyes, love was shining out from Him like sunlight in the skies. Guilt in my confusion disappeared in sweet release and every fear I’d ever had just melted into peace. He’s alive! He’s alive! He’s alive and I’m forgiven, Heaven’s gates are open wide!”

Peter, at that moment, laid it down and left it. He left the betrayal and his failure behind forever. Yes, he was aware of it. The action didn’t cease to be. It had happened and billions of people have been made aware of it over and over and over again. However, I have also been made aware of this moment, and the seashore moment, the fact that I can see clearly that Peter did, in fact, lay it down forever. Peter leapt from the boat and swam to shore to have an intimate encounter with Christ.

So, maybe that’s what it means to lay it down and leave it. It isn’t that the acts or even the consequences will go away quickly or at all, but rather that I can still leap from the boat and swim to the shore and be with Christ as His beloved, as His friend, and not feel distance or as though I need to earn the right to worship Him, speak with Him, seek Him.

In the forge of God, I am hammered and ignited and molded into His call for me. In the palace, I am equipped and rested and guided into His will. In the garden, I am seeking Him with my soul torn open and my heart grieving. In the boat, I am called to trust Him in the storms that the boat will reach the shore and that I can walk to Him on the water. By the tomb, I am instructed that He is alive and that I can believe His words and His promises. In the house, I am called to Him, to be forgiven and restored, to be held and comforted. In the upper room, I am called to worship Him, to receive Holy Spirit, to not be silent. In the streets, I am to follow Him, to be His hands and feet, to be salt and light, and to be love to all.

At His feet, I am to lay it down and leave it there and just be with Him. Just be His. Just beYOUtiful. There is nothing else that I can do, truly, if I want to leave this distress and burden behind and leapt into His arms and dance with Him again.



Pulling Sickness

I was sick yesterday, but that isn’t the point of this blog. I don’t even know if I will be able to put into words what has been on my mind since early last night, but I will try.

I started a diet yesterday. I need to diet in order to jumpstart a healthy eating lifestyle because I am so addicted to carbs and sugar, that without that initial phase of denial, I will never change. So, I utilized some leftover food to create a turkey and provolone salad, of sorts, with tomato and mayo. Yummy. It was really good. I had started the day off with a protein shake and then snacked on some apple slices, sipped some water, and happily ate my lunch around 12:15 p.m.

About thirty minutes later, there was pain and it wasn’t mild, either. I began to pace in my office, walking back and forth to alleviate the pain. You see, I had two quizzes to do yesterday during my lunch hour, and I was surely not going to save them for the evening. This professor has a unique way of wording his tests, in such a way, in fact, that I don’t tend to do very well when I take them, no matter how hard I study. To save them for evening would have been sealing my fate. I was determined to proceed.

I sat down at 1 p.m. to begin the first test and my stomach, though not at all settled, was not the least bit bothersome in my pursuit of excellence. After the quiz, which I scored an 85% on, I still had plenty of time remaining to do the second quiz. I opened it up to do just that and WHAM! Total chaos.

I threw up, I rocked back and forth, I suffered through abdominal pain as I worked through the quiz. It was horrible. I managed a 90% on that one, ultimately, but through a haze of discomfort and pain and wondering what in the world I’d done wrong. I blame the mayo…my mom said it could possibly have been the turkey. Either way, I was sick and it wasn’t getting any better. I asked to go home and, once there, had a few more bouts of vomiting and a whole lot of chest cavity pain when breathing and abdominal pain constantly. Laying down, sitting up, it mattered not in the least. I was sick and that was that.

My mom came home and brought me crackers and soup. The internet said that for mild cases of food poisoning, bland foods are best.

At one point, as I lay there, I felt a sharp movement in my entire body. It was intense. I jerked to a sitting position and moved by the trash can. It had literally felt like I was going to throw up, yet there was nothing going on. No heaving, no abdominal pain, nothing. Just a sudden jerk throughout my body…see? I just can’t describe what it felt like. I sat there for a few moments and just waited but nothing happened. After that, I was completely and totally fine.

I fell asleep and I believe the mild fever I had was broken during that time because I awoke a couple of hours later covered in sweat. As I filled the rest of the evening with random things, I thought about that moment earlier and it dawned on me what had happened, even though I couldn’t begin to find the words to describe it, I can at least tell you what it was.

That moment was when God pulled the sickness from my body. That’s all it could be, honestly. It was as if He reached into my body with His Abba Father hands and ripped the parasite out of me and tossed it aside. Then, He had me sleep so that the fever would run its course and leave my body as well.

I thought of posting a blip on Facebook and that didn’t seem to do it justice. Then I thought of just going on without acknowledging it, but that didn’t seem right either. So, I thought this morning that I would quickly blog about it and that would be that.

As I sat here writing this, I believe there are multiple reasons for Jesus pressing me to write about it. One, I believe, is that all glory is God’s and we must never miss a chance to shout about His amazing deeds and who He is. Two, is that we need to begin to believe that healing is possible and that it is powerful and that it is God’s desire for His children. And three, is that I believe that we are on a threshold here in America, to begin to see miraculous healings occur again, and God wanted me to feel, literally feel, Him pull sickness from me, because somehow and some way, He is going to use me in that awakening movement and the healing He intends to bring unrestrained back to the churches of America.

So, there you have it. Strange as this blog is, there is something to it, yes? Do you feel God telling you something? Something in regards to healing…your own or someone else’s? Maybe you’ve been given the gift of healing but are afraid to take hold of it and run. Well, prepare yourself because Holy Spirit is a mighty fire that is going to run through our churches and burn away illness and disease and sickness in all its forms. It’s coming. Prepare yourself for that day.

The heart of the matter

I’m always fascinated by the power of music. Psalms in the Bible shows us that music is for God. Today, we see music used in various expressive ways, which was true in David’s day, as well. I don’t pretend that mankind has always used music for worship of God, as it should be used, however, one thing that we mortals have always understood is the absolute power of music.

Music can return you to a time and place with the first strum of the guitar. It’s like a time machine…you can even feel the feelings you had that very day. Songs can remind you of a person, they can bring you sorrow, make you feel great joy, bring movement to your body, inside and out, and make you connect with someone you felt like you didn’t have anything in common with.

We can lift our voices in praise and worship Jesus Christ and we can do so even with songs not designated for that purpose, with some minor tweaking and a right heart.

Because, you see, it is the heart of worship that matters. Whenever I see churches that are so concerned with their worship team that they hold auditions, it’s disturbing. There are ways to allow someone such joy as being a part of the worship team even if their singing needs refinement. Why do we limit our fellow believers when God looks at the heart?

God told Samuel not to judge by the outward and David was the anointed future king. David, however, could sing and beautifully at that. Later, the word of God tells us that David was a man after God’s own heart. The heart, you see, is what matters. The heart of worship is all about Jesus Christ.

“Let our voices rise like incense, let them be as sweet perfume.” Return to the heart of worship and let your praises rise and be not concerned with those before you or around you. Your Father God is desiring to hear your voice. Will you lift it up and praise Him?

Behind my mask

I think that we can’t empathize, or even sympathize, with people who break down mentally over, say, the lack of paper towels, as one Christmas episode of Family Guy showed us, because we refuse to acknowledge the person’s value and worth. Now, many may not think that this is true and would argue with me, which I would allow, but I also consider that, when we discredit someone else’s stresses and annoyances and consider their tears wasted and wasteful, well, how much value are we putting on the person?

Well, even staying sympathetic and never becoming empathetic is not valuing the person, in truth. We consider them to be not worth our investment and our emotions and concern and we just pat them on the back and say, “There, there, at least you have toilet paper.”

But, truthfully, this wasn’t even the point of my blog. Oftentimes, my ramblings never are. This time, though, I caught on early enough that this blog should, in fact, be short and, well, not sweet, but to the point…somewhat.

My thoughts actually are orbiting around my own angst and the fact that, well, people say that it will all work out and they sympathize with me and then they go about their day and I truly and completely get it. I do. My level of sympathy for some is about the same. I offer the superficial platitudes and then continue on with my life. Simple enough. Sometimes, though, I do empathize and I climb down into that pit with them and listen and I don’t try to solve the thing with my words, but I let my actions do what can be done, while I am a presence for them to feel and see and touch and know.

I’m in a pit, people, and none of my friends or family read my blog because, well, they see me and hear me ramble and rant, so why take the time to invest in reading something random from yours truly. It’s fine. I’m not really bothered by that. But, here’s the deal. I’m in a pit. I’m sitting in a pit of despair. I didn’t really consider it that big of a deal a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t have a field placement set up yet. I just kind of figured it would all work out for me. And then I entered the Valley of No.

No answers.
No field placement.
No options for some random class that the program is suddenly insisting must be taken in the summer. Ha. Fat chance.
No thank you for the Phi Alpha project from the recipients.
No apology or attempt to right a wrong in regards to a nomination submitted and never considered.

Yeah. So, many of you look at this and shrug your shoulders and think, “First world problems,” Yeah. I get it. Hey, guess what, though…I am allowed to have these problems acknowledged once in a while. I spend my days hiding so much from the social media and personal interaction worlds. I exhibit a great amount of restraint. I want to bash the SFPS system for giving my 8th-grade nephew an A in English when he reads at a 5th-grade level. I want to bash my self-centered brother who has the nerve to be a verbally abusive jerk all the flipping time to my mom in HER OWN HOUSE, myself, and my dogs. How about the fact that I’m not doing the things that God has called me to do and there is no place for me to do them at this time? How about the fact that I hate my job because it is WORTHLESS and isn’t helping ANYONE, and those of you that know potential or current social workers know how much they desire to help others and can see how a worthless, pointless, paper pushing job with constant input and no output can be frustrating, yes?

Okay, rant done. The point of this blog is that you don’t know. When you see that person have a mental breakdown in the grocery store because there are no sunflower seed bags of the large variety, there is more going on than just that one thing. When you see a loved one lose it over one cruel word spoken or one missed invite or one missed birthday or one missed phone call or one missed time of hanging out together, there is more going on. While those who sympathize and quickly move on care less about the value of a person (not saying they don’t love them, they just can’t be bothered), those who can see and fully understand that there is more going on than meets the eye and are willing to do more than verbally pat them on the back and say, “Well, at least they have small bags of sunflower seeds,” those are the people to cling to.

Because I will tell you the truth about me. I very rarely get to this point. I always carry things hidden behind my mask. Not a mask of happy, happy, joy, joy, mind you, but behind the mask of strength and the ability to do all things and anything and believe that it will all work out.

Right now, folks, I’ll be completely honest here: I don’t believe it will all work out.

I’m not being anti-social, I’m just burned out

A couple of days ago, I realized that I’m just too burned out to function socially. I try, you see, because my desire to help others overcomes my burned out life. But, I am struggling with some difficulties in my life that others would not consider all that bad at all. And that’s okay, because they’re really not, but when one is burned out, well, it changes their ability to cope and understand and continue.

So, I’m sorry. I’m not being anti-social. I’m just burned out.

Cold or Warm

Sometimes tears are cold and sometimes they are warm. Why is that? Some will say it is the temperature of your skin. I believe it is the source of your tears. Surface tears lack warmth while soulful tears do not. Science will disagree, but frankly I don’t care. Science, while beneficial, believes we evolved from apes, so why would tears have any meaning deeper than clearing debris from an eye or changing temperature based only on the feelings on the surface, on the skin? Tears express feelings…some surface, some deep. Cold or warm.

I guess I’m used to it

I have begun to understand the truth of the situation of my life. Firstly, which was not going to be included here, but as I am walking through the Valley of No, I have found that I am spoiled. I’m not spoiled rotten, you see, but I have a good, good Father God and He spoils His princess very much. He tells me no, of course, in order to keep me from rotting. However, I am in a place where no is all I am hearing and I have to say that I don’t like it very much. Daddy, my bags are packed. Can we go now?

Additionally, and the reason I started typing this blog in the first place, I cannot find a field placement. I am weeks away from having to be established in my place of practicum for my Senior year and all I’m getting is silence. No one has told me no. No one has told me anything. Why? Because this is Santa Fe and it is rare indeed to find faithful people in the response department. We’re talking 16 hours a week of free social work and no one will call me back? Madness.

But, I am in the valley, so, well, it’s expected, I guess. Or , it should be. But I’m used to yes! Not constant yes, but when it matters yes. You know? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you aren’t one of those people that pay attention to God’s moving in your life. I am, though, because He is my source of all things good, even correction, and so I’m here, defeated and tired and just plain frustrated.

And I’m at the edge. I’m standing at the edge looking down. I’ve realized that I have lived most of my life this way. Blame it on childhood trauma. Blame in on procrastination. Blame it on just plain old being unaware of the danger until you face it. Whatever. I’m here and every once in a while, I move closer to the edge and the wind drags me near the point of falling before I lean back into safety.

But I never leave the edge.

Lately, God has been showing me about fire doors and their value in our personal lives. Fire doors, you see, are made specifically to slow the spread of a fire in order to give people time to evacuate safely. The issue, you see, is that my work doesn’t care and the doors are constantly left propped open…despite a note on there in bold and brilliant type that says: Fire Door Must Remain Closed.

See, a fire door doesn’t work at all if it is left open. At all. It does nothing but give the fire access to a hallway that would have been prevented or delayed had the fire door been closed in order to do what it is purposed to do. Fire doors are made of different materials than regular doors, you see. They are specifically designed to do something and that something is save as many lives and as much property as they possibly can.

So, by all means, leave the doors propped open because it’s too much of a burden to open the door as you walk down the hall.

I’m ranting. That wasn’t my intent. My intent was to admit that I have finally realized that I never leave the edge. I just stand there and hope that I’m able to lean away from it every single time I am dangerously near it. It’s exhausting, to be sure, but it’s also the way I’ve lived my life as far as I can remember.

What happens when I’m being pulled by the wind and I’m dangerously close to falling? Well, I begin to hate myself again. I’m not talking about the random moments of shame or guilt that come that make us really dislike our darker, worldly selves. Nope. I’m talking about the straight up hatred of me as a person. My looks. My personality. My gifts. My failings. Everything. I just hate myself. And, while I don’t harm myself in these moments and I don’t think suicidal thoughts, I also don’t handle negative comments very well. It’s easier to beat my head against the window, say, than to listen to one more backhanded compliment or obviously negative comment about the horrid waste of space I am.

This is mostly considered depression, I realize as I write this. Self-loathing is a dark thing, especially since we keep it hidden and no one knows. Hey, here you are world, if you’ve read this far, you now know the cold truth I carry deep inside.

Another thing that happens is that I become a great deal more aware of the lack of things in my life. I can focus on the fact that I lack self-control in the area of finances and it, well, sucks. I wish as a writer I could find a better word, but hey, since we’re on the subject, when was the last time I wrote something amazingly great? Years, my friends. Years. And, what about Bible studies? Yeah. Vacant halls and walls.

Despite all the things going on in my life, I feel like a failure. A constant failure. I’m graduating with an Associate of Arts degree in May and yet I’m disappointed that my honorary Phi Alpha nominee was never received and never even considered and no one cares but me. No one. My job is a vapid waste of time and life. Who am I helping? What benefit am I bringing to the lives of others? Waste, waste, waste.

So, these thoughts and many others are what happen when the wind is pulling against me and if I don’t lean back quickly enough, I’m overwhelmed. I find that I stare at things bleakly and I feel like it is just so crazy worthless and that I’m going to die. Every night, as I lay down to sleep, I just know that God is coming to take me home. Why wouldn’t He? I’m on the edge, aren’t I? I’m not doing my best. Not at all.

See, and that is the thing that I find myself saying, here on the ledge, every single day, wind pulling at my soul or not. I have to be a better person. I’m sorry I’m not a better Christian. I want to be a better person. And then I go out and do the same stupid things I did the day before. And I’m not talking about these huge rebellious things. I’m talking about spending money I don’t have. I’m talking about not being a hundred percent focused on my work. I’m talking about the self-loathing, because let’s face it, as a Christian, we cannot hate ourselves.

Now, we can hate the sin within us, but to hate who we are as a person, our character and our personality and our looks, well, that’s insulting our Creator in so many ways. So, I don’t like myself as a person which just adds to the self-loathing, and there you are.

I don’t even know what the point is of this blog. I just feel so tired and drained and amazingly worthless and just abundantly emotional and it sucks. It is aggravating because when you try to talk to people, they are dismissive.

Have you ever noticed that? You tell them things and they just kind of shrug and give you a pat on the shoulder and expect that to work. That is called sympathy. I don’t need sympathy, folks. A vacation to the Bahamas, yes, but sympathy, no. It is rare indeed to find someone that sits and listens and doesn’t say, “Well, did you read the textbook? The textbook tells you what to do,” when you say you can’t understand a Math problem. Yeah, dude, I read the darn textbook and guess what? I’m still crying and I still can’t solve the stinking equation!

So, the Bible has the answers and so does God and there are no better alternatives. I am not saying that this isn’t true. I just want you to listen and not shrug your shoulders like my feelings are just stupid and don’t matter. Because they do. Sometimes, you know, they just matter and need to be seen as mattering.

I get this. In fact, I live this most of the time, listening and being there and not placating the person, but actually seeking to help them process and understand what they’re going through. Heck, that’s why I’m seeking a degree in the realm of helping people. Why doesn’t anyone want to help me?

Well, it is rare that I share, you see. This is the most raw blog I’ve ever written. I censor myself, even here. Best foot forward at all times. Must appear strong and in control. Must not show just how raw and torn and weak and upset I am. I have to keep it all together so that I can help others. I can’t have anyone focusing on helping me, you see. There is too much going on in the world, too many people that need strong people like me to help them.

Maybe I’ll start an annual Social Workers conference where they can just come and be needy and be helped and exercise a weekend of self-care and not having to be strong all the time. Of course, I’d be running the thing, so I’d still have to be strong.

The person closest to me is my mom and I can’t even share any of this with her. She gets angry, you see. Well, maybe angry isn’t the right word here. Irritated? Frustrated? Yes, frustrated that her daughter has suddenly become this needy and crying person overwhelmed by negativity and stung by rejection, truly feeling those moments of single life and thinking what man could love a broken and angry person like her? So, in those rare moments when the tears fall in front of her or the frustration is vented, she gets irritated. I get it. So, I spend my life irritated, too, and frustrated and so I am quick to snap and constantly do so.

I want to be happy. So, I started to ask God why I was so miserable and unhappy. Maybe that’s why He is walking me through the Valley of No right now. Maybe that’s why He’s showing me the edge and just how raw I am inside, just how sensitive I am to anything that touches those raw wounds in my heart and life. My bags are still packed, God. Ready whenever you are.

When did happiness become such an elusive thing? I don’t know. You know, I’m graduating May 13th with a degree I didn’t even expect and I should be off the walls excited. Yet, I’m sitting here and thinking who I should and shouldn’t invite and why (it’s a 3 hour drive and there are other graduations that day) and I’m thinking of how my mom will respond to things and I’m wondering if I will make it across the stage with a smile or a scowl. What will the pictures look like? I hate myself, you see. Ugh, so ugly.

Yeah. Raw, folks. Raw. I’d rather you didn’t read this, truthfully. But, if you did, maybe you’re feeling the same way I am. Or, maybe you like to read about other’s pain. We all have those evil moments in us to read about the breaking of a strong person. Good for them, those strong individuals, those favored people. It’s about time they were broken.

I’ve always been broken.

All right, this blog is over 2,000 words now and I think that I could go on for thousands more, so I won’t. I don’t have anything to offer you if you’re in the same boat as me, except for this:

I will pray for you, if you let me know that you want me to. I will listen to you, if you need someone to do so. Because, in truth, I can’t avoid the desire, deep inside me, to be there for others in the way that no one, except Christ and paid professionals, are there for me.

So, if you want to have someone listen, if you want me to pray, send me an e-mail.

Have an amazingly blessed day, all. Thank you for reading through my angst, judgingly or not. 😊