I remember it clearly: It was 2008. America was over. A new president had been elected. It was a clear sign that the “end” was here. The Great Tribulation had started and Christianity itself was at risk of mass genocide!
Naturally, this meant that I had the motivation I needed to ask this really pretty girl from church out on a date. I mean, the world was ending… what did I have to lose?! It was the first time I ever mustered up the courage to ask someone out.
It was also my first rejection…
She let me down easy. While I could make a case that she turned me away due the same apocalyptic terror that inspired me to ask in the first place, let’s face the facts: No amount of beautifully crafted sarcasm or love of fantasy movies could cover up the fact that I was not ready for a serious relationship.
At the age of eighteen, I had developed into a relational invalid. I was deeply insecure, chronically depressed, and had an ongoing struggle with self-destructive thought patterns. While I came a long way in terms of overcoming my social awkwardness and began to move to far more healthy frame of mind, I was far from being in a place to justify pursuing that kind of a relationship. Nearly a decade later and I’m still warding off the same problems.
But here is the saving grace: I’m getting better
With each passing year, with every failure, I become more aware of who I am and of my value. Through it all, Christ has been redeeming me: healing me from the inside out. The sickening truth is that our trauma, wounds, etc. don’t just go away overnight. If you get locked up in the belief that it’s all your fault and/or that you have to overcome it all on your own, like me, the progress will be even slower.
We all need help sometimes. The key to getting through my pain isn’t to hold it all in, nor is it to try and find relief by relationships or gaining prestige. It is from learning to be vulnerable and to make REAL connections with humans. I need honest feedback and for people to hear the truth of my struggles. I need to take the risks so that I can be surprised by their love and acceptance. Love and acceptance that has been right here waiting for me to open up this whole time.
Here are just a handful of things that I’m learning:
•You’re not the only one who feels the way you feel. To think that you are the only person (out of several billion human beings) experiencing life as you are, then you are falling into a trap.
•Thunderstorms are God’s way of reminding you that He is big, and yet still very present with you.
•There are few things more precious than Italian food with those you love
•Denying others the opportunity to love you is a severe injustice and akin to murder (a blog post for another time.)
•The harder you hold onto something, the more likely you’re going to lose it.
•Books are severely underused and underappreciated.
•Don’t compromise to impress. It is far better to be rejected for being yourself than it is to lose yourself trying to get approval.
•Wake up every morning seeking to be a better you than the you the day before.
•Learn to be vulnerable at the right times with the right people.
I’m nowhere close to where I want to be. I’m often very emotional, even neurotic, I sabotage my relationships with doubts and distrust, and I punish people for the wrongs of others. This is a part of life! Growing, fighting! So let’s fight together! Let’s fight for healing because we are most definitely worth our time to discover who God made us be.