Confessions of a pain-hoarder.

I have this baggage, this baggage that I want to shove back into suitcases & shove every last one of them into the very back of the very top of my closet. People cannot & will not see these things I have tried very hard to hide. The suitcases are ugly & what I have shoved inside is even uglier. I cannot deal with the pain that will come from opening them & having to sort through every last ugly & messy & dark thing inside. And the hardest part: I have to. This hurts & my mind does not make sense. I’ve been in this daze for the past couple weeks where pretty much every minute of every day, I just think, “What is going on?” And I suppose I have told myself that this is a better place to be than tears & constant pain.

This past week, someone asked me, “What is your biggest fear?” And I really had to think. I’m afraid of a lot of things. I’m afraid of the dark & spiders & clowns & walking down the halls of our dorm in the middle of the night & being in the hustle & bustle of a big city & the feeling you get after watching crime shows & feeling unworthy & being unlovable or invaluable. But the biggest one, which I had never been able to pinpoint until these moments with a friend: One day, in just one day, I woke up to realize that a person I loved with every inch of my being did not love me back. I had opened up & trusted & been the most vulnerable I have ever been up to this point in my life, and this person did not care about me. He did not love me. I am afraid that one day, I am going to wake up & realize that my relationship with God is the exact same way. I cannot trust Him. He does not love me. He will not keep His promises to me. Because I loved & I crashed & I burned. And not just God, but any friendship or relationship I have: what’s to say they all won’t wake up one day & realize they don’t want to love me anymore? 

These are the things that scare me: that I am unworthy, unlovable, invaluable, a burden, unsubstantial, fill in the blank with any lie the enemy could ever whisper to you. And I know that’s exactly what they are, lies, but I can’t shake the feeling or not hold onto those because my heart says, “Don’t forget that person that never loved you in the first place but convinced you otherwise. This is what happens when you open up & love again & love others & love yourself. You crash. You burn. You cannot be vulnerable. This is what heartbreak feels like. Don’t you dare forget it.”

I know this pain comes from loneliness, and not loneliness like physically being alone, but it goes back to what I said in a previous blog post about how the loneliest place in the world to be is lost in your own mind & I’m still without a map, trust me. And I have sat here & cursed God & questioned & doubted & gotten so unbelievably angry. How could You create me to feel this way? How could You let me be this lonely & this self-loathing? How could You create me to feel like a burden? I have nights (almost every night recently) where I surround myself with friends because it is better to be around a bunch of people & fool yourself into thinking you don’t feel alone rather than sit by yourself & realize it is true. But I had last night & last night I was the most alone I have ever felt before. I laid & cried & shook with anger & wondered how a God I thought I was so in love with could do such a thing to me. And yes, I sound like a selfish brat. God sent His only Son to die for me & I can’t just suck it up & deal with some earthly pain. But that’s how I feel right now in this moment. I feel selfish & alone & like a burden & unworthy & unlovable & the only person I don’t want to be around is the one person I can’t get away from: myself.

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I fear that the caffeine buzzes & shoving baggage into overflowing suitcases will only last for so long. I do not want to deal with painful things. I will be the first to admit that to you. I’ve got baggage. And my heart holds onto it all for dear life, like a hoarder. I hoard my pain. I keep it tucked in every nook & cranny just so I can remind myself what it feels like. When I start to feel again, those little pockets of pain jab & taunt me. Don’t be vulnerable. Don’t be vulnerable. Don’t be vulnerable. You can do this by yourself. You can be your own strength. And those are lies.

And I can’t do this by myself anymore & I let fear dictate my heart because I know that in order for God to be completely my strength, I have to let those things go completely. Full surrender. White flag & all. And I’m not willing to do that.

I still want to be in the wilderness with Him. I want to be able to surrender everything that is within me. Everything in the darkness & hurt & pain, and I have no idea why I can’t just do it, just let it go. I want Him to pull me away & take everything. Every feeling I have ever had, lay it on the table, and show me that He has felt this way before too. He knows it. I want to be reminded of what it feels like to be accepting of people’s love & how to love myself & what it feels like to feel worth something. I want Him to redefine everything about me & tear me up from the inside out. I’ve been letting fear & anxiety tear my down from the inside out, but I want to invite God in to do that Himself & in the best way possible. I need some renovations, for lack of a better term. Completely demolished & built up again. Raw. That is one word I would use to describe this season of life. Raw. And painful. And tearing me up from the inside out. I want Him to deconstruct me just so He can build me up & make me new again.

One moment I did have this week, which was pretty incredible when I have thought that I’ve been getting the silent treatment from God, was during a sermon I got to hear this past Sunday. The last few words of the sermon had the most impact on my heart. “Do not forget who you are.” And in that following moment, my mind went completely blank, and all I could hear was:

I am a child of God.

And I sit here right now, honestly telling you that it was fleeting. It was great to finally feel something, yes. But I don’t let that define me. And it should. It really really really should. I have to tell myself Truths & I have not been doing that. I’ve been constantly repeating lies to myself & letting them suffocate me. I heard someone explain it to me in a way that sounded ridiculous, but it also made complete sense at the same time. It’s like when a person thinks they are drowning & all they have to do is stand up & you tell them that & they won’t. I just need to stand up & I don’t want to & I don’t know why. That may sound super messed up, but believe me when I say you won’t understand it until you’re in the water next to me.

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” // Isaiah 43:1-4 MSG

He would sell off the whole world to get me back & trade creation just for me. When I go through rough waters, He will not let me go down. He calls me worthy. He calls me valuable. He sees me. He knows me, in all the darkness, and He loves me. He loves me no matter the circumstances. His love is unchanging & unwavering. And I can’t believe it.

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I’m ready to feel pure joy again. I want to come out of darkness & loneliness & pain. I want to fight. I get little glimpses of joy, but there is an eternal joy that comes with freedom & I know it because I have felt it before. I know it’s possible & I know it’s there & I know that there is no joy that comes apart from the Lord. I am ready for celebration & joy & freedom & I just need the map to get there. That’s the most frustrating thing is that I am wandering through the wilderness & I’m waiting for that clearing. The end of the trees where I come out & look upon the water & know that this is joy. Unspeakable joy from the Savior who came to take away the sins of the world & bring us freedom & write our salvation & break every single chain so that we could taste the Kingdom & bring it here. I can feel it with everything in me. From my head to my toes, something inside of me says, “Do. Not. Stop. Fighting.” And that is the Light.

And you know, I might wake up tomorrow & not feel this way. I might want to succumb to fear & shame & anxiety again, but it’s a process. I will trust the process because He is good. He is always good. I know that to be true. He is good. I will keep walking in the wilderness, with God by my side, even when I think He’s not there at all, and I will find the clearing. I will find the joy & freedom & celebration that only comes from surrender. It’s coming.

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