So everything is coming to an end.
Ha, and I’m managing to fuck it all up.
So I am starting a new chapter and moving away from what has been home for the past five years of my life, and I’m leaving my community and comfort and everything I’ve known to head off into a really unknown place. And I hate the unknown. I have no control over the unknown. I just have to blindly walk into it, hoping for the best… but being prepared for the worst.
And by the worst, I mean, damn, what happens if I have a depressive episode in this new place? Away from all my friends, my counselor, my safe places… I’ll be surrounded by new people, and I don’t really know any of them, in a new state, which I’ve never been to before, with no vehicle, so I can’t runaway if things get hard. I’m just stuck. I feel like I’m going to a convent because I don’t know how liberal this group of Christians are or are not, and I’m not even that liberal, so it’s not like I’m looking for a convent ran by Ellen… even though that would be a damn funny place. But seriously, I have the concerns about if I can even be myself at this new place. The girl that struggles with depression and her sexuality at times, but has the space to process these things and find healing and restoration and can share her struggles with her closest allies… using as many cuss words as she pleases and drinking beer regularly and wine occasionally and only slightly joking about how she would totally smoke weed if it were legalized. I don’t know. I’m still wrestling through this whole mental illness thing and fighting to remain healed and restored in areas of gender identity, sexuality, and sexual abuse. Will there be space to make a mess in this new place or do I have to pretend I have everything together?
Selfishly, I want to stay where I am and try to make a name for myself because over the past few months, I’ve just been shitting all over any sort of chances of me looking good to anybody. My humor has been coming across as crude and unkind. I think my attempts at being obedient to the Lord has come across as arrogance. My anxiety and restlessness over this transition has caused me to appear distant and selfish and basically a complete asshole. I feel like I’m saying a lot, and nobody is understanding what I’m trying to communicate. But I’m scared that if I stop trying to communicate that I’ll leave and nobody will even notice. I guess that is fine. If nobody acknowledges my leaving and acts like it isn’t a big deal, then leaving probably won’t be as hard. I mean, the hardest part about leaving people is missing them, and it’s hard to miss people that you don’t feel wanted by… and it’s even harder to miss people if you think they view you as a really shitty person. And that’s how I’m feeling. I get that it may all be in my head, but what if it isn’t? What if I am remembered by everyone here as mean or unkind or arrogant or an asshole? And what if I am remembered that way because I actually do suck… and my friends have just gotten used to it and tolerate me? And now I’m gonna go try to make new friends, but I still suck and they don’t know how to tolerate that.
A huge part of me is hoping this is all in my head, but I see the disposition of my heart that would rather runaway than remain in a place of anxiety, restlessness, and fear.
I know, I’m really just word vomiting at this point and it isn’t very fruitful.
So back on task. I don’t want to go to this new place—primarily because it’s unknown to me, but also because of the questions like, What if I return and nobody even cares that I was gone? What if all this stress is a recipe for a depressive episode? What if I don’t make any friends in my new place? What if I make really shitty friends who tell me that I just need to fast more and pray harder during episodes? What if I am completely misunderstood? What is the next depressive episode is worse than the last, where my brain and the darkness almost won?
But then I’m reminded of a really harsh rebuke that I keep getting from the Lord, over and over and over again.
It’s not about you. None of this is about you.
Regardless of where I’m at, there is potential for a depressive episode. I mean, in this safe place I keep worrying about losing that I’ve lived in for the past five years, I had the worst bouts of depression of my life. It’s in this “safe place” that I was sexually abused a year ago Saturday. This just teaches me that shit can happen anywhere that I am. There’s potential for a fallen world to suck everywhere I go. So basically, my trust can’t be rooted in my location, or even in feeling safe. Because my feelings are merely chemical responses that come from my brain—the very thing that keeps trying to kill me.
So during this transition, I am setting up a theological framework from which to operate because how I am operating now isn’t working. It’s just making me hate me more and more, and every negative response I receive from others fuels this self-hatred.
I am going to struggle with mental illness, and maybe even sexuality issues, while I am in this new place.
While this may be a fear I hold, and it has potential to switch from fear to reality, here’s what I’ve learned… Issues of both mental illness and sexuality come from my brain. Chemical responses control my emotions and my attractions. The Scriptures say a couple of things that I want to hi-light:
- “There’s a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 16:25)
- “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
In the Jewish understanding of the heart, it encompassed the whole person; it is where thoughts, emotions, desires, etc. came from; today, we could equate that to the brain because we understand that our heart doesn’t really do these things. We could change that verse to say, The brain is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?, and I think we could be a little more scientifically correct. So basically, my brain is really no good, and it tells me ways that seem right, but these things only lead to death… or suicide.
So who is going to have lordship over my life, my brain? Or the One Who is the embodiment of everything good, holy, and absolutely perfect?—in Him, there is no flaw; there is no mistake; there is nothing unclear or confusing; there is perfect peace and perfect joy; and he has invited me into all of this. He is no stranger to all my shit. He has seen my submission to the darkness, my inability to be anything good without Him, my shortcomings with loving others well, showing mercy, or being kind, my sinful thoughts and secret lusts, my uncanny ability to be an asshole and forget to put others before myself, and every single time I have willingly given up on and not trusted in everything He is. While I know Psalm 139 speaks of how He sees everything, and we find comfort in that He has seen us when we feel invisible, I know that Psalm 139 reminds me that He has seen everything that has forfeited my chances of ever being anything good. Yet still, this Man, Jesus, invites me into the inheritance of all He is. I actually am allowed to operate from being in Him. I don’t deserve this. I really really really don’t deserve this. I deserve Hell. I deserve what happened to Jesus on the cross. I recently read Plato’s Apology and for purposes of simplifying my point, Socrates is being accused of impiety (basically atheism), but he says to his jury that he isn’t going to try to convince them to acquit him of his charges because they have sworn to keep justice, and it would be unjust for them to forgive these charges, so then they would be just as guilty as Socrates. That’s me. It would be unjust for this just God to simply forgive my sins without some sort of punishment, sacrifice, etc.. I mean, Hebrews 9:22 says that there’s no forgiveness of sins without bloodshed. Here’s the Gospel: God wouldn’t be just and righteous anymore if there wasn’t bloodshed for all this shit that I’ve brought to the table, so that’s why there’s Jesus. That’s why there’s the cross. That’s why this horrific scene occurs. Because I can’t enter into His Presence without remission of my sins. I’m too dirty to enter the throne room. I’m too unclean to speak with this perfect and holy Man. I’m too sinful to be with Him. But he changes all of that.
What a fool I am to trust my brain more than this Man.
So yeah, none of this is about me. He only invites me to be in Him for His glory.
What if I don’t make friends? What if I’m forgotten? What if nobody understands me?
Okay. So what? There’s a giant in this land, named Secular Humanism, and it attempts to tell me that my entire existence revolves around me, my comfort, and my glory, but this giant has to fall. I understand Paul in this: that my momentary, light afflictions cannot be compared to His glory. If I gotta suffer and die with Him to reign with Him, sweet. Sign me up. If suffering and dying looks like what Jesus said about leaving home and comfort to follow Him, then why am I so hesitant? Why am I so quick to say no to carrying my cross, and yes to staying friends with the world? Why do I think I am the exception to Jesus saying that nobody who puts his (or her) hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of Heaven? Why do I think that anything I have to offer matters other than to just give up my life to the only One Who has ever mattered?
It took this blog post to remind me that all these worries, all these fears, they’re really just vapors. So what if I’m remembered as an asshole… apart from Jesus, I am WAY WORSE. But even when I am sucking at being Abba’s kiddo, He still calls me daughter. So yeah, I’m leaving a bunch of cool stuff, but His Presence is the joy set before me, now and always.
It is well with my soul.
Cause He holds me.