Have you ever been chugging along on your road of life, and suddenly find yourself flat on your back? I certainly have. One minute I can be tooling along, life seems to be going well, and the next, I am in an emotional tailspin. My self-confidence (and God-confidence) plummets. I then land in a pit of yuck. My wheels spin. My windshield is splashed with mud. All I see, all I feel is the negative – failure, hurt, loneliness, regret. What happened? I don’t usually know right away.
It is funny what brings it on, this pain, this darkening of the glass. It can be pretty random. Once, it was when I discovered I wasn’t invited to a wedding. (I know, right?) The funny thing is, I didn’t even want to go. But some friends were going, talking about it, making plans. And we were not included.
In a flash, my emotions were highjacked. My heart lurched off the road of contentment into a pit of despair. We have been excluded from other events, I remember. And then the scab from earlier wounds is ripped off … sitting by myself in the lunchroom…. alone waiting for the bus…. the only one in science class without a lab partner. My heart again feels that raw pain, rejection, loneliness. And then, Satan hisses these words, in a voice remarkably like my own “I don’t belong anywhere. I am not wanted. Or known. Or loved.”
Later that day, we went to church, but being in a big group where I knew almost no one, just reinforced that sense of detachment, of not belonging. I didn’t even know what was wrong. I just knew I couldn’t stay. So I left. And the rest of the evening, I withdrew into my woundedness, feeding it with chocolate and chips and Facebook and meaningless television.
The next morning, as I was praying, I was reminded: Yes, now I see through a mirror dimly…but I can see something – a good bit, actually.
And I begin polishing the mirror.
I start with giving thanks.
Not for this dark pain, deep within, that surfaces from time to time. But, thanking God that it surfaces, so that He can shine the light of His truth on it, and heal it a little more, or even altogether.
I recite the truth I know:
- About myself: I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Cherished. Unique and precious. A chosen and adopted child of the God of the Universe. I belong to Him. And He lives in me. I am never alone. Always beloved.
- About God: He is 100% good. Strong. He knows me better than I know myself, and loves me more than I can imagine. And His love never, ever fails. He knows my needs before I ask Him, and meets my needs for identity, value, belonging, focus, and safety. I have nothing to fear.
- About the journey, and the plans He and I have prayerfully made. And what I have learned so far.
I meditate on some favorite verses.
- This is the day that the Lord has made. Let’s celebrate! Psalm 118:24
- Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
- The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-3
- And yet, I am always with you. you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel. And afterward, You will take me into glory. Psalm 73:23-24
On the Road Again
Before long, God “pulls me out of the miry pit, and places my feet upon a rock.”
I pause for a little while, letting my emotions settle, reorienting to the path I am committed to travel. I take a deep breath, turning my face again to the future. And then I grab His hand, and take a step. And another one.
And I am on my way again.
Now, a little more whole. Now, seeing a little clearer, or a lot.