Today I woke up with an ache in my chest. I have been wandering around in a daze for so long that I’m not even sure how to label this feeling: This yearning, hopeful heartache that makes me excited, terrified, sad and angry all at once.
What do I do with it? I write. I bleed the feelings out through ink on paper. I capture and release them, instead of fighting to control them.
I struggle to find the balance between controlling things and just not caring about them. I want all or nothing. Perfection or disaster. I want my life to be the way it “should” be. If it can’t be that way, I just want to buy a bottle of tequila for dinner… I want a man in my bed… I want the power and the pride that comes from eating less and less. I want to throw it all away. I want oblivion.
But as great as it all sounds in the moment, I know how it ends. I’ve stumbled down that path many times. And it always leaves me with is the same dull heartache… with pain… with tears… with longing for more.
And I’m reminded God is the one real source of hope and joy and peace:
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes feelings are too much. I just want to shut them off and be numb for a while. The nothingness is like a comfy old blanket wrapping around my shoulders, hiding me from the world.
But despite my best intentions, feelings always eventually break through. Tears break free at the worst possible moment. I wake up in the middle of the night to the terrifying tightness in my chest that threatens to steal my control over my own body. And in those moments, I remember: I can’t do this on my own. I am not strong enough to white-knuckle it. I can’t just ignore it and expect it to go away. And I cry out again for God to save me from myself.
Over the years, I have been lost and found more times than I would like to admit. It always amazes me that no matter how many times or how far I run, God is always there right behind me when I reach for Him. Patiently waiting, even though I gave up on myself a long time ago. Welcoming me home, even when it means picking me up and carrying me like a stubborn child.
For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
– Ezekiel 36:24-26 NLT