Mama said there’d be days like this.

And somewhere in between the coffee dates & office conversations & worship nights & prayer vigils & newly-formed friendships, I missed the reason for community. Completely missed it & it was right under my nose the entire time. This isn’t a competition. “The day you wake up and realize not everyone is out to get you or push you out of the place in which you belong to try and take over what God has called you to will be a very good day for you,” I’ve had to repeat to myself. Sometimes I mistake people’s comments for hits & my automatic reaction is to want to hit back, but it doesn’t work that way. The world isn’t against you. At least, it isn’t right to assume that. If these are the lenses you put on, every day of your life you’ll be dodging punches that weren’t even meant for you. You’ll be wondering what make-up to use to cover up your black eyes, when in reality, they aren’t ever going to happen. You will tremble in fear. You will dig a hole so deep that will be close to impossible to get out of.

Fear is a paralyzing thing. I don’t even know what to classify it as. I have a deep hatred for it, but I think that’s because I know it all too well. Fear & I have formed an intimate relationship in the past few years. Fear in books & in pens & in bed sheets & in keyboards & in cameras & in people. I can find him anywhere. Fear meets me where I’m at, especially when I look for him. I recognize him. He greets me with unworthiness, the two inseparable. Unworthiness is a comfy sweater I’ve trapped myself in for a while now. I’m comfortable in it. So comfortable. I love being used. If I could pinpoint an unhealthy love language (there should be a test for that one), it would be: “Hello, my name is Jenna & I don’t mind being used by people. Actually I love it.” I mistake dependability for being used though. Dependability = good. Being used = bad. Dependability ≠ Being used. Glad we cleared that up.

I’m not sure how many times I’ll have to say it to convince myself I’m worthy & that I have value. Maybe it’ll be the 20th time from today. Or maybe 378th. Or maybe 4,506th. Or maybe the millionth. God only knows (literally). Do I need to tattoo it on my forehead so I see it every time I look in the mirror? Or maybe somewhere on my body? Or in notecards? Or sticky notes? Or every tangible thing I have? How the heck is this supposed to work? How am I worthy?

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I’m tired of feeling inauthentic & I want to stop it. I want to completely erase everything about myself & rewrite every word to my story. Some days I wouldn’t say that, but today I do. I realized I don’t want to have to share my messy heart with people. I know we’re supposed to help each other bear burdens, but I don’t want to subject somebody to that. It’s not the load that weighs you down; it’s the way you carry it. And I’d like to carry mine alone.

I have relied way too much on other people to affirm me & define me. And I’m still empty/haven’t figured things out for myself & wonder why nothing has changed. Please, hold me up & hold my hand & tell me everything is going to be okay & let me believe it & tell me how to fix it. Tell me what to do to make this go away. I share my entire heart & spill my guts & expect everything to be fixed by other people’s words or comfort, but somehow things are still in the exact same place. It’s like I couldn’t even get past the starting line of the marathon.

I sat in a dark bridal room of our college chapel last Friday night. To my left was a mirror, completely marked in words that people had written to depict what God saw them as. Valuable. Child of God. Beloved. And then there was a cross lying on the table with a nail sticking out of it & we were supposed to write all the lies we believed about ourselves or the burdens we keep carrying around & then put that piece of paper right through the nail & onto the cross. The only words that crossed my mind to write:

These hands are dirty & still You call me Yours.

These hands are dirty & still You call me Yours. Wow.

Punch fear in the face today. Be the one to start the fight, even though this is unfamiliar territory for people-pleasers. I believe in you & hopefully that’s just enough to give you an ounce of courage, knowing one person believes in you. It’s okay to be feisty & critical & maybe even a little bit cynical. You don’t have to say yes to everything. They tell me confrontation might even be a good thing. I had to call a bank lady & get a little confrontational after an hour and a half on the phone with her today. Talk about breaking out of a comfort zone. I almost cried though, so I don’t think that counts.

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I think there’s a difference in being too grounded and having your head too far in the clouds, and I think I’m searching for the happy medium (I’m locked to the ground). I want to take life less seriously. I want to learn to live a little more freely (or completely free, but I would definitely be okay with a little bit more freely).

Emptied. I want to be completely emptied.

I am thirsting for inspiration, in any form, but particularly in writing. That’s what I crave right now. To be filled with inspiration & emptied in my outlet. I want to be filled with eloquent words & people’s letters & inspiration from photographs & drawings & quotes & conversation & everything. I want to be overflowing.

Get me alone, God. That is my deepest desire right now. I want to be completely & uncomfortably alone with God. I think I’m afraid to find out that a God who is Creator & Deliverer to so many people could never know me intimately & I could never know Him intimately. What if I find out that He doesn’t care as much as He was supposed to, as much as I expected Him to? I would rather not know Him & assume things about His character and love for me than get to know Him & find out He wasn’t everything I’d hoped for. But somehow I still pray to know Him more intimately, even though it scares terrifies me. Let go, my soul, and trust in Him.

And I know all the words are scattered & maybe they didn’t make sense to you, but they clicked for me. Something finally clicked for me. For the first time since freedom & solitude & the retreat, I got it. I get that I have to get myself alone with God, even though it’s terrifying. That’s why I haven’t felt love: because there is no room for fear in love. No room at all.

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