This morning I broke down in tears. I don’t cry a lot. Okay, I RARELY cry. It came on slowly and when it rains, it pours. So after a slow onset, the flood came crashing through.
The cause? Well, I think the cause comes from multiple sources, but the specific source that pulled the trigger? Social media. What a trap those darn news feeds and instagram stories can be. They can be so toxic in that they encourage and promote comparison and they aid people in painting their lives in whatever way they see fit. No one wants to log on to social media and talk about how awful their lives are (well, most people don’t set out to do that). When we log on to our computers, unlock our phone screens, sign in to websites, we are asking to see the highlights of other people’s lives – the pretty, defined, set apart things that they are choosing to share with us.
So, this morning I cried. I cried because I miss my old dog, Chloe (pictures of her showed up in my facebook memories – DARN YOU FACEBOOK!). I cried for friendships that are broken or that are slowly changing. I hate change. I even hate GOOD change. I will dig in my heels, scream cry, do whatever it takes to resist ANY form of change. I cried over guilt that I feel – shame is strictly from Satan, my friends, and unfortunately it can sneak its way into our lives and manifest in places we don’t expect – places we wouldn’t think to look for it, and then before we even have the time to recognize it – BAM! Shame is there, and it has made itself at home in our heart. What a nasty, pesky, sneaky little (huge) thing shame can be. I cried because of uncertainty – not knowing what’s to come or what my next 2.5 months will really look like, not knowing what to expect from people or places or experiences. All the fear that I’ve been absorbing and pushing down came bubbling up again – what if I’m not good enough? What if I fail? What if people don’t like me? What if I can’t do this?
Once you’re on the “what if?” train, it’s exceedingly difficult to get off. It leads to nowhere good. In fact, it usually only leads to “shoulds” and “would haves” or “could haves” and those aren’t good either.
After crying a few tears and word-vomiting on my ever-gracious-and-patient parents, I washed my face off, put on my big girl pants and tried to empty my mind of all things negative and consuming.
I think God created me to be literally incapable of meditation or of clearing my mind. I have tried SO many times and simply can’t do it. I continue to keep trying in the hope that something miraculous will happen and I will suddenly be able to just BE. No such luck today, though. What kept coming back to me? What kept popping back into my brain?
Yesterday I was sitting in the back seat of a car with 3 lovely humans. I don’t actually know them all that well, but we grabbed a bite to eat, chatted, laughed, and connected. As we were riding back to church the thought occurred to me, “How did I end up here?”
How did I end up in this car with these people? How did I end up at this church? How did I end up at this school? How did I end up in this state? And then there were questions with no conceivable answers….how did I end up with this journey? How did I end up with this family? How did I end up so broken, so fragile, so weak?
But mostly this: How did I end up so lucky? And that’s where I had to pause and remind myself….I don’t believe in luck. I don’t believe in fate or coincidence or anything of the sort. I may say it lightly in passing, “You’re so lucky!” “Wow, what a coincidence!” but in my heart I know that nothing of the sort actually exists.
It’s God. God’s design. God’s plan. God’s perfect, sometimes extremely frustrating, timing.
All the answers come full circle back to God. All of them. Every time. I didn’t end up where I am, with the people around me, or who I’ve become because I “got lucky” (or some days, arguably, unlucky). I wasn’t placed in my specific family or this state, this school, this church, by mere happenstance. It’s not coincidence that I’m human—broken, flawed, weak, sinful.
It’s never random. And this is both comforting and extremely unsettling. As I rode in that car and listened to the laughter, the stories, the community forming in the air around me, I felt my heart settle. How did I end up here? God. God placed me here. He didn’t do a random toss, or a lazy throw – He placed me here. Me. Here. In this place, for a reason. My story doesn’t look like other people’s stories. That’s okay because my story has a purpose. God has a plan for all the things I’ve endured and all that I will endure in the future. God knows it all and it is all already written in His book.
That doesn’t really answer all the questions, but it eases all of the anxiety, the worries, the fear. And the fear and worry is where Satan sneaks in with his buddies guilt and shame and plants seeds of doubt in our hearts and minds. At the end of the day I don’t really believe that we NEED to have all the answers to the questions we face in life. Actually, I think it would be bad if we all had ALL the answers – then we wouldn’t need to rely on each other so much. If we all had all the answers that we need our communities would be lacking in love and friendships. Questions can be scary, especially when we feel panicked because don’t know the answer or if we suspect the answer may be something we don’t want it to be. But rest assured, friend…God has your life all mapped out – from your first cry to your final breath. He knows it all by heart.
And it is and it will be G.L.O.R.I.O.U.S.
It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel anger, sadness, and loss over broken or lost relationships, dreams, goals, families, etc. It’s okay to tell God that you’re confused, angry, hurting – He wants to know all those things. He simply wants us to talk to Him – to keep a conversation going as constantly as we can! But it’s not okay to stay sad, to continue to cry, to wallow in your hurt because when you wallow is when you open the door to Satan and he has the ability to assert himself into your life. Instead of wallowing we must remember that God is a god who cares, who knows us, who loves us, who has our entire existence planned out – every step we will take, every word we’ve spoken, even the number of hairs on our heads…He knows it ALL. Wallowing leads us to those questions without answers. They are fine questions to ask, so long as we don’t expect a concrete answer; so long as we can find peace accept that we may never know the answer. God works in mysterious, majestic ways – with plans and dreams that are greater and bigger than even our most wildest imaginations.
Thank the Lord for that! And thank the Lord that we don’t need to have all the answers to the questions surrounding us. Thank the Lord that we don’t have to map out HOW we got where we are, we simply have to thank God for getting us there. Praise Him in the triumphs and praise Him in the storms, my friends!
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”
― Ayn Rand