Wednesday, November 28, 2007

“Loved by God, kept by Christ.”

This and other scriptures have been my mantra the past few weeks. I have been having a rough time lately, feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, hurt, insecure, and yearning for the approval of others. I feel like I’m fighting these feelings, and intrusive thoughts, lies that pop into my head based on the things I listed. I’m fighting them with prayers and scripture. It’s like some sort of faith-based-self-induced-cognitive-behavioral therapy – I’m trying to restructure the maladaptive thoughts and belief system with the truth that I know is God’s word. And it helps. For example, when I start to feel guilty and ashamed, I remind myself, “There is therefore now no condemnation in Christ,” “Those who put their hope in Christ will never be put to shame,” and “As far as the east is from the west,” that’s as far as my sins are from God. The Spirit is freedom, and I don’t want to beat myself up about things that are already forgiven, I want to experience freedom and life.

And God’s grace is at work through this time. The scriptures I am reading are becoming so much more real to me. They’re not just things I think; they’re things that I experience. Somehow, for the most part, I feel at peace. I feel hopeful, and I feel that this is right where I should be. Though November has been lonely and sometimes sad, it’s better than the anxiety and confusion that was September and October. I can handle sad and I know that it will go away. Anxiety and doubts, I’m not really sure what to do with those. More tangible, external things are also happening. I have dear close friends and relatives who, while not here physically to take away my loneliness, have been only a phone call or email away, and have supported me, prayed for me, and talked me through my rough nights and mornings. While I’m new at my church and all of these people are new to me, I’ve started to become closer to them. I am starting to connect with them and feel at home. A couple of weeks ago, I shared with my small group the loneliness that I’m feeling, and they’re responding and I’m starting to experience through them this connection with others that I long for. I’m starting to really experience what it means for a church to be a community. It’s not perfect, these aren’t my new best friends just yet, but step by step, I’m experiencing the community that my heart desires.

I’m also trying to let go of my expectations of these new people in my life. I’m trying to not let my self-worth be determined by other’s approval. I do desire close friendship and connectedness, and I need more support here, but I’m trying to not be needy. When I go into situations when I’m around new friends and just release my expectations, and just try to love and enjoy them, well, it usually goes great, connections just flow naturally and I’m thankful for that.

I have been so focused on myself these past few months, but I want to love others more. I want to really, genuinely care about all of those around me. I want to step out from myself, step away from my trying to make myself better and happier and instead focus on giving to others and enriching their lives.

I have no idea how any of this sounds. However this comes across, writing this is more real to me than writing about being white. I have started writing a follow-up to my whiteness post, but today is not the day to finish it. I actually started writing this post Sunday evening, during a time that was probably a low point for the past couple of weeks. I am feeling better, and I know that in spite of the rough times I’m experiencing, I’m becoming more whole and more myself because of it.


Ben said...

I know the feeling. All of them, I mean, that you write about. And that's one of the great things, I think, about having a blog - being able to work through things, verbally, and then stick them out there so people can know what's on your mind and what you really think about things (and if you don't let yourself second-guess your writing, you can be more honest than you know how to be out loud).

Psalm 65 is one I've read recently that was so rich, so good for the soul, I felt like I'd never known Scripture got so beautiful. It was a good one to read around Thanksgiving time. I won't mangle it by quoting a snippet here. Give it a read all the way through.

And I'll leave you with a verse from another nearby Psalm (68:5), a great one to throw on top of the heap if you haven't already:

"Father of the fatherless
and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation."

if walled in climb up said...

Kelly, I wish I could give you a huge hug right now and then we could go on a girls' night out, or just take it easy, laughing hysterically at a girly movie and eating pour-over cheddar popcorn.

Since I can't do that with you right now, please just know that a girl just a little far away loves you ever so much.

Anton said...

Oh good gravy this was refreshing. This is real Christianity, this is what Christ died for. He loves you.

Martha Elaine Belden said...

i'm so glad you wrote this... and i love the comments from your friends. our friends. we have great friends.

i'm sorry you're feeling this way, but i'm also not sorry. let me explain...

God is teaching you right now to trust Him fully... it's your only option. i know this, because i'm there now, too... and i've been there a lot over the last few years. it's a crappy place to be from our perspective, but one day very soon you'll look back and realize what a beautiful time this was because you were forced to fall on your knees and trust Him... almost blindly (i say almost because it feels blind... but we do have His word)

awesome things are happening in your heart and mind right now, and it's exciting. you'll see it soon.

i don't know if this is remotely comforting, but try to believe me. and read and re-read your own words... because you wrote truth. and truth will set you free when you begin to feel trapped again.


Cara said...

anton, what did i tell you about using "good gravy"? well, forget what i told you cos i think you can pull it off.

i love you, kelly, and i needed to read this cos i've gotten away from my faith-based-self-induced-CBT.

good luck with your finals and papers. can't wait to see you again.

Laura said...

"I’m becoming more whole and more myself because of it."

...that statement is just dripping with the kind of peaceable wisdom that life is made of.

I'm so proud of how you're handling life right now - not sure if I've said (or could say) that enough.