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.