Boredom creeps over me. My pen frantically taps on my paper as if to show the whole world how over this I am. My teeth chew on the inside of my lip in an attempt to ground myself back in my body. My mind keeps wandering; flitting back and forth like a dog chasing a squirrel. My intense stare searches through the window, as if the trees out there will magically give me answers to the questions burning within me.
A sigh of frustration tumbles past my lips and I abruptly push my notebook away and slide my chair back. I can’t write. I can’t focus. Every time I attempt to write there is an anxious, maybe even angry, restlessness within me. This restlessness, anxiousness, and frustration has created a divide in me. I feel like ‘normal’ me is standing on one side of the divide and this restless/anxious version of myself is on the other side with a pair of binoculars searching. She’s searching for the normal again, but she’s also searching for so much more.
We all know that there are moments in life that you just feel down; exhausted by life. It can be an overwhelming sinking pit. One thing triggers it and after that everything else piles on top.
The past few weeks I have been struggling with some tough questions. I have been struggling with my faith; with having vision, purpose, and motivation; I have been struggling with feeling loved; struggling with feeling worthy or capable; and struggling with why I should even write.
It’s funny how one niggling question can snowball into what seems like hundreds more. For a person who finds a lot of strength and comfort in their faith, struggling with faith can leave me feeling very lost and weak.
However, any sort of crucial questioning and struggling within one’s life can leave an individual feeling disoriented and lost.
In moments where I feel this way one of my many coping mechanisms is avoidance.
Yupp. I’m an avoider a lot of the time. I love having balance and peace in my life, so when things disrupt my peace I often try to avoid them until I can find a balance again (which is why I sometimes have a do-and-think-later policy, because otherwise I overthink and end up in avoidance mode).
I was trying to avoid the uncomfortable and tough questions rather than facing them head on. This avoidance lead to anxiety because nothing was being resolved. The anxiety lead to distance (from myself, others, and God), which lead to detachment.
My attempts at avoiding tough questions and my avoidance of having to struggle through things ended up having a huge snowball effect on my attitude and mentality.
So yea, if you have been wondering why I haven’t been putting blog posts up lately, it’s because I was avoiding having to sit down, be still, and come face to face with the chaos within me. Writing forces me to work it out, and I wasn’t ready to do that yet. I also didn’t put a blog up because I didn’t want to write something that I honestly wasn’t feeling inside. I knew if I sat down and wrote the third part in my Missing Pieces series it wouldn’t be authentic. In all honestly it probably would have been a pile of b.s., and even if the reader couldn’t tell I could, and I just wouldn’t feel good about that.
The past few weeks have been an internal struggle.
BUT! That is okay, that is normal, that is life.
Struggle is real in everyone’s life, and I would go so far as to say that not only is it a part of life, but it is an essential part of life.
It’s okay to struggle, but rhetoric does not always enforce that. A lot of the time struggle has a non-optional tag of shame attached to it, like if you are struggling it’s something to hide or feel shameful of.
This can be especially true when you struggle with something you claim to whole heartedly believe, for me this would be my faith. I want to clarify that struggling with faith is not shameful, it is also not an abandonment of faith. Struggling with faith just means that you are deeply exploring what you believe to be true, which is good!
Even Jacob wrestled (or had a struggle with) God, as we see in Genesis 32:24-28 “And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, ‘ let me go, for the day has broken.’ But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.’”
Struggling with God, or with anything, should not be labelled or viewed as shameful. It should be seen as good because it tests you, strengthens you, and can be seen as a sign that you are growing and being refined.
Struggling is necessary, as much as it sucks, it is an essential part of the process. When we struggle with important things ,and when we ask questions, we come out on the other side with a stronger clarity in our why. When we struggle and find an answer we can be more certain that what we stand for is true.
Releasing the shame and sharing our struggles and our stories not only liberates us from shame, but it can also help others who are struggling. When we have gone through the battle and come out stronger on the other side, it helps encourage and strengthen those still in the battle.
I am most definitely not saying go hop on your socials and tell everyone everything you are/have struggled with (unless that’s something you feel called to do then you do you). However, what I am saying is that if you are struggling you should talk to people you trust about it, don’t think you have to bare it alone. Process your struggle, and then if/when you are ready it might be helpful to share your story/struggle with someone else who you see struggling.
Keep on struggling through it. And once you are through it don’t forget the power of your own voice, even if it feels small, insignificant, or unheard; use it.