This past season of my life has been the most challenging I have ever encountered.
I am emotionally depleted, mentally drained.
A part of me really despises using the word “season” as a measurement of time because of it’s ambiguity. If I’m walking through a dark valley I want to know the exact number of days I’m walking. Who is with me?
I have been climbing a very high wall for some time, almost ten years to be exact, praying and faithfully maintaining hope that I’ll eventually reach the top. But I have fallen. I have fallen hard. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that instead of getting back to climbing I have wallowed in my misery for a spell. For a “season.”
I have wallowed and cried, and pounded my fists, yelling at God to bring some kind of answer or feeling of reassurance and comfort. I want to hear Him say: I have not forgotten you.
I haven’t heard much of anything.
This lesson I’ve been learning, this astoundingly difficult lesson, of praising God in the midst of my life’s crumbled mess, my numbness, my anger and grief, has been like no other lesson I have faced.
I know I am not alone, countless others have endured similar battles. I am also aware others have walked harder, rockier roads than I, but the core of our angst and fear is all very much the same. We worry we are being left behind, worry we are missing out on something which will bring happiness, wholeness. We wonder where we went wrong? What more can we do? Are we foolish in keeping our hope alive?
I do not want to be found a fool.
I took a page from my grandfather’s book and chose to be very practical in addressing this recent dip I’ve experienced. I might still be wallowing on the inside slightly, but a couple weeks ago I felt a shift, experienced a little clarity, and told myself to get it together on the outside. Very much living the fake it until you make it motto.
Letting go of dreams is hard. Celebrating with those who are living your dreams out is hard. Realizing what you’ve always wanted may not be what God has in store is hard.
Life is hard.
The challenge is not letting the mourning that comes with closing doors seep into the life you do have. And that is exactly what I have done. I have put stress on family and friends by allowing my frustration and grief to be placed on their shoulders, simply because I was too weak to carry it on my own. No one wants to be a dumping ground. When you’re closing the doors on lifelong dreams there is a sense of failure that comes with that; so to not feel like an utter disappointment you scramble to find validation in it all, and you dump. I lost out to my selfishness, and that in turn has made me emotionally unavailable to those in my little world, let’s call it out, I have been annoyingly cynical and mopey for quite some time.
I have not been graceful in handling this fall of mine. I have leaned on people, and that is unfair. I have failed entirely at keeping a smile pasted on and a positive attitude going. My pain tainted my personality.
It is unreasonable to go crying to others over my own troubles expecting them to understand this emotional chaos inside. Only God can handle the lamenting and the pain; He has given the strength it takes to walk this path of just being me and Jesus. He will also give the guidance to navigate back to some wall, some dream, that is the one for me to start climbing after once more. Even if it looks entirely different from what I thought it would.
I believe praising God in the middle of your dark valley is the only way you’re going to find the light again. It is a statement of trust. It is a way to confirm in your heart He does work all things out for good. Practically speaking it truly is the act of putting one foot in front of the other, standing upright and moving through your days. It’s going to hurt, it will hurt a lot. But I’m learning to get through this I will have to embrace the pain. That is part of the trust. According to scripture this is a teaching opportunity, how fun for us…
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” Hebrews 12:11-13
It is extremely uncomfortable to write about this. It might be extremely uncomfortable for you to read it. But someone out there is going through something similar, and in the very least I can say to you, you are not alone. I truly believe I serve a good God. So during all this turmoil, all this confusion and hurt, I will still praise Him.
For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. Micah 7:8