Numb

 

“Phew, she canceled on me, I don’t actually have to leave the house today.”

I didn’t have to get out of my pajamas for another couple hours.  I had spent the day before, laying on my couch for most of the day, and here I was wanting to do the same.  Even with piles of laundry on my bed and a sink full of dirty dishes, and I had a BBQ that I was invited to later. I was given relief for a few more hours.

No one really talks about the hard days growing up.  They tell you things like, “Work hard and you will be successful.” “Get an education and you can have a great job.” “You never know when you will meet your spouse, but you will.”

Life is hard.  Sometimes there are things we encounter that are hard simply because they are.  It isn’t necessarily because we did something or there were big changes, but because the daily grind of life is a toil.  It is hard.

However, the hard days are glossed over for this thing that we are chasing, “THE GOOD LIFE.” The life that is comfortable and secure, with enough money in your bank account, a good job, marriage, kids, a minivan, a house in the suburbs. Or maybe a version of that.

But what we don’t talk about enough is that life is hard, difficult and messy.

People get cancer, people end up not finding the love of their life in college, jobs get cut, houses fall apart, cars break down, babies never come or miscarry, people change, move away or hurt you.

In the midst of hard days, we chose one of two routes, either push through the hard or numb ourselves out and avoid it.

The later is usually my choice.  Hard days lead to exhaustion and spent emotions.  I long for rest and refreshment and for some reason, the idea of laying on my couch doing nothing always sounds appealing.  I turn on Netflix and zone out. My addictive personality is fed and satisfied, and craving more.  T

wo days later it is time for me to go to work again and I still feel exhausted.  I just spent my weekend not really living, just numb. Feeling far from God, not really experiencing anything.

I let myself hide, not face the hard things, because I think it will be easier.  I avoid friends, and pretend it is just because I am not working out and didn’t get enough of my summer. But that is a lie.

It hits me Monday morning….

“Is this the life you really want?”

Even though I am living a life that I didn’t necessarily imagine, it can still be a life that I choose.

Because if I am truly honest, I just react to what life throws at me.  I tell myself that it isn’t my fault, “things changed,” “I am not in control of certain things in my life.” I let myself fall into the depression, when I know that there are patterns that perpetuate these feelings.  These patterns pull me down in the pit.

But it is a lie that I believe that I can’t help how life has turned out. Because I chose how I spend my days.

I chose whether or not to get out of bed in good time on a Saturday morning.  I chose to turn on the TV instead of just going to bed.  I chose to not text my friend back because I just want to escape from the questions.

That other route…the one that involves pushing through the hard things. The one less traveled. It means doing hard things. And the truth is….we are fully capable to work through hard things.  We can chose to face the hard things and still live despite the trials and level of difficulty.

I am not saying that this is a white knuckle through hard things, just trying harder, doing more or fix it yourself. That’s a lie too.

Because the greatest promise is that we aren’t left on our own.  Often I have chosen to be numb because I believed that I had to push the hard thing on my own, I had to face down the demon by myself.

I don’t.  I don’t stand on this earth without someone standing right beside me/in front of me.

Friends, this isn’t a confession of figuring life out, or telling the story how I have conquered the avoidance tactics I take when things get tough.  This is a confession that I am not good at this, running towards life instead of from it.

This is a recognition that this is not the life that I want to live.  This is not how I want to spend my days! I want to live life present and alive, in connection God and with the people that I love.  I want to uncover the life and passion that are underneath the surface of these numb feelings. The older I get, the more I realize that the hard days make the good ones even sweeter and more full. img_7373

The ironic thing is that I said these words to a student last week that maybe I need for myself, “I know that this hard, but I believe that you can do hard things.  You have the potential to do a lot of hard things.”

If you think about human history, and how we continue to advance, break records, and overcome odds against all sorts of circumstances, we are capable of more that we would ever believe.

AND we have one that overcame first and did THE HARDEST THING so that we wouldn’t have to. He overcame the world, he fought back the enemy and won.  So that even in the midst of trials and tribulation we would know that it isn’t the END!

Friends, take heart.  We have an savior that knows that trials will come, and hasn’t left us alone.  He has overcome the world, so that the world won’t overcome us.

Do you take the hard road or the avoidance one like I do?  Do you lean in or run away?  How do you find encouragement when things are just plain hard?

(As I was finishing this post, I looked back at some of my previous posts in the last month. They are all about hard things, change, conquering hard things….it is sort of a theme, but I am okay with that! I hope you keep reading!)

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Addicted

“You will never be able to eat whatever you want. You are a food addict.”

Harsh words that I needed to hear again and face up to. Even though it is hard to swallow and even harder to come to grips with.  Food will always be a problem for me, everyday

Those words were prompted by a year of excuses and denying my reality.

About a year and half ago, I returned from an epic trip to Australia with my family. Before I even went on the trip, I was carrying a few pounds after completing my 3rd Half marathon.  (I wasn’t running the miles but still eating the same amount of food.) So returned from my trip, I tried my best to get rid of those pounds, which I did, but they came back.

Slowly, after a few disappointments and a busy grad school semester, I mentally gave up. 

Last summer, between moving and a foot injury, some of those precious pounds that I worked and sweat off a couple of years ago began coming back.  Then in the midst of depression and hopelessness I spiraled.
At the start of the year, I realized that I had stopped hoping and dreaming about what could happen next.  Let’s be honest, in my mind I had thought that getting skinny was my best hope for good things in my future. 

I had thought getting skinny would fix anxiety, procrastination, relationships, and my own fears.

It didn’t.  It didn’t fix any of that, in fact it made all those things much more complicated.  I am still learning that.   

I also am still learning, like in life, there is never a point of arrival where things are over and you can live happy and content in that arrival place.

(Maybe this is the record that will be on repeat until the day I die. Maybe this is the one anthem that will be sung to my heart again and again.)

In the midst of that conversation, the hard reality hit me, I will never be one of those people that can eat whatever they want and not gain weight.  I will never be one of those people that doesn’t have to work out.  I will have to work hard for every pound and every calorie.

In the same way a alcoholic or a drug addict or a hoarder has to face up to the truth of their situation in order to heal, I have to do the same.  And I have to do so every day. 

But let me get spiritual on you, this is the reality of our souls as well.  We are sin addicts. At the core of who we are, we are sinners. We want to worship at the idol of ME. We feed that idol when we deny the reality of our sin nature.  When we down play the severity, when we chalk it up to circumstances or blame other people.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)
 

The part that makes this easier to bear, is the fact that God hasn’t left us in the street with a needle stuck in our arm.  The second part of the the passage gives us hope.

BUT God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— (Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV)

When I think about this truth, and the reality of where I am at with my physical battle, I am hopeful.  If God is able to save my soul from the trappings of a great addiction, how much greater will he be able to help me in the battle against these physical addictions.

I don’t write this because I have finished the race, but because I am still running it.  I might be getting lost, backtracking, and stumbling.
I write this as a reminder to look to him who hasn’t left me to run this alone.
I write this to encourage myself to keep going.
I write this because all is not lost, but rather saved by his grace and mercy!