Friday, July 30, 2010

Whatta week.

I believe our expectations can be self-fulfilling prophecies, to some extent. However, this belief did not stop me from expecting this week would suck, nor did it stop this week from sucking. I went to a funeral, one of my best friends, which happens to be one of my most difficult relationships at the same time, moved away, and I'm packing and moving, which is just stressful.

But I am thankful for some things. You know when you have a minor injury and you keep checking to see if it still hurts, like poking a bruise? I've been doing that, thinking to myself, do I think my life is worth continuing today, or would I prefer it be over? It feels crazy to say I have ask myself that but it's been nice to answer with the former.

A large part of this change has been resting in the fact that God loves me no matter what. This is a concept I've heard about my whole life, but never understood the importance of until lately. It seems so simple. It seems simple to say "My identity and worth do not come from others but from Christ in me." But it is an entirely different thing to realize it is TRUE and live out of that truth. This week when I obeyed the Lord, I saw the worth that my life has, that I can be His hands and feet and exemplify His love.

I'm so thankful today. I am thankful that God's grace has kept me alive, I am thankful that He gives me opportunities to love my friends in meaningful ways, I am thankful that He enables me to allow friends to love me back.

But I'm also scared. I'm moving in with some girls soon, and I have really good feelings about it, but the nagging insecurities about whether I am lovable, or even likable, won't go away. I want them to like me and be glad I am their roommate and I need to pray that God help me stop myself from making their approval an idol in my mind.

It feels good to process these things.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Every time I've tried to post since last week, it's kinda fallen flat. Today I have to because I'm feeling something awful and this week I was instructed not to distract myself from terrible feelings or "deal with them later" but deal with them now. I just got a call from one of my closest friends. I'm friends with her and her significant other, and today his mother died. We all knew it was going to happen, he's been spending lots of time with his family in preparation, but no matter what we know or perceive death always feels like a sucker punch.

It's weird, too, how it's kind of secondhand grief. I've been fortunate in my life to not yet have anyone close to me personally die, but it's always been people close to those I'm close to, like a close friend's little brother in high school. I think it's a good person to be in the lives of those affected. I'm one step removed, so I can listen and pray for them without feeling completely destroyed.

But because I'm me, I always have this guilt. There is so much badly placed guilt in my life, lies from Satan to keep me from intimacy with God. It's good for me to declare that I know that is what the are, and that Satan has no power over me. But anyway, it's like I'm not allowed to be sad, or as sad as I think I would be if I allowed those feelings to be felt. It's weird how you can shove feelings down. What are feelings? Is it a brain click that we are some how able to unclick with the power of unhealthy coping mechanisms? I get an image of them coming up from my stomach, I guess like vomit, but then there's me, always forcing them back down.

I digress. I need to go home and pray about this. I need to get filled up so that when I speak to them next I can pour out the only thing I know is real and good for true comfort in this world, which is God's perfect, perfect, perfect love. This has been a theme in my mind, reading and meditations this week. God loves me. This isn't emphasized enough in the tradition I'm in. People seem so fixated on our sinfulness and wretchedness that we speed through the Good part of the Good News.

I know our wretchedness is deep, long and terrible, but I was born and have lived with extraordinarily low self-esteem my whole life. I need some comfort after facing the darkness inside of me. I read a bit of Brennan Manning's The Furious Longing of God, and I know people think he focuses too much on the Good and not on the dirtiness of our selves, but it was SO helpful to my soul. I know there is a required context and nuance to the verse below. But for now, it's going to rest on my heart, comfort me, and give me the strength to comfort people I love so, so deeply.

I am my beloved's,
And his desire is for me.
Song of Solomon 7:10

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another thing.

Not to overwhelm the blogosphere or anything, but another realization I had this evening:

It is TRUE that our value does not come from others and their opinions, but from the already completed amazing work of Jesus Christ on the cross that makes us whole and perfect to our Father God, who created us, loves us and chose us.

I have this long-lasting sick demented way of thinking about myself that depends entirely on others, and sometimes on just one person. To the extent that several people can love on me and God can show me He loves me but if this one person doesn't love me or treat me right that day, I am devastated. I give him this power over my self-worth that he has done nothing to deserve. Thank the Lord that I have friends to remind me that it's not because of me being worth less than any one else that this person doesn't love me.

This is what God knows is best for me, right now. He knows it is not best for this person to love me. He knows there is a much more abundant life than what I want.

And I have to write this down, because I know it will happen again. I'm so quick to forget these lessons.

Quit pussyfootin' around.

Lately, a lot of my friends have given in to God in HUGE ways and decided to say yes in hard, scary situations. Mine is not as big as theirs, their decisions to move overseas and get married or not get married or tell someone about Jesus, etc. But I finally did something today.

I won't say God told me to do this. I will say that He placed an opportunity in front of me. He's done this before. It was a few months ago, and I pussyfooted around long enough that I just never obeyed, and ended up staying in the job I'd been doing and not loving.

Then someone e-mailed me about a job. A potential dream job. But I said "I can't do that. If I do that, I'm choosing a path for my life. I don't want to choose a path for my life." This, I think, is my depression talking. I'm not good enough to choose a path. I'm not good enough to be successful in something I actually love. I need more schooling, more personality, more good looks.

But today I walked into work and I looked around and I realized: "This is a nice place with nice people but I'm not excited to come here. It pays the bills. It doesn't hurt me. I can stay here. But why don't I at LEAST try to get my dream job?" And then I wrote a cover letter, updated my resume and sent off an application.

It would be awesome if this was God's plan for me and I got the job. But even if I don't... I think I'll be a little less scared next time a door opens. I want to run through doors God opens for me, not look at them and spin around in circles and make excuses. I beg God for direction, for answers, for a reason to live. Then he puts one in front of me and I ignore it? That's stupidity, and depression.

I feel so free right now. Thank you, Jesus.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


So, now I'm obsessed with reading online about dissociation. Interestingly, it's really typical in everyone. Like anxiety or depression, those who study it think everyone experiences it at times to certain degrees, but that it can be extreme and problematic in some lives. Everything I read just makes sense of my life. Not just the terrible memory that I mentioned in my other post, but also my other diagnoses, my self-criticism and overall uncomfortableness with myself, etc.

I'm also trying to read through my old LiveJournals (geez, was I candid as a 15 year old) to remember things. It's not pleasant. I've always felt the way I do now about myself, I'm realizing it, but at some point I began to internalize it.

This morning was terrible. I got to work feeling miserable. I felt like I'd offended numerous people and acted terribly. I have to stop analyzing every social interaction and conversation when I walk away from them. I have to stop replaying situations and determining how I could have acted better.

My mom triggered me this morning, with her typical guilt trip and accusatory statements. I'm trying to set boundaries, and I'm incredibly frustrated that she isn't making an effort to treat me carefully, because she knows what is going on. That just made me grumpy and then I started checking out of this gathering I was at. There was a talkative guy there so I let him talk and talk and talk, and some part of me appropriately nodded at times.

I don't know. I'm so down today, but it's better than recent days because I keep feeling this nudging that says "This isn't it. I'm here and I'm healing you. One day at a time." And that's nice.

He asked life of You,
You gave it to him,
Length of days forever and ever.
Psalm 21:4

Christ in me, the hope of glory

God in my laughing
There in my weeping
God in my hurting
God in my healing

Why is it so hard to let God be everything? What else is worth it?

Friday, July 9, 2010


There's this huge, enormous comfort in knowing that you're not the only one who feels or has ever felt a certain way. I think it's because deep down we greatly fear that we are alone, that we will end up alone, and that's because we aren't properly getting that need met in Christ. I don't know how to fix that. But I do know that I felt so much better today when I finally said to my therapist "Ninety percent of the time I feel completely detached from my life. I have these jarring moments of self-realization when I think 'Oh, this is my life I've been living all day. That's me in the mirror.'" I've never been very good at explaining this feeling to others. But because she's a therapist she knew what questions to ask and how to figure me out.

She said that we call this disassociation. Being the avid googler that I am you think I would have tried that term. But the thing is, I didn't know if it was really that out of the ordinary. Lately, though, I've felt like it's getting in the way of my life. I feel like I needed to ask her about it.Anyway, I did google it when I got home, and I read the Wikipedia page (alright, sure, it's just Wikipedia, but still) and I was just comforted that maybe there is a name for this thing I keep feeling.

I know some people hate labels and it makes healing more difficult, but for me, it helps. I feel a lack of personal identity, and a great difficulty finding that in Christ. I fight in worship to feel present. I connect most with God when I'm singing and dancing and clapping for Him because I'm engaging my senses and I have to be present in that moment. I don't feel Him as much when I read scripture or pray because my words feel fake, unless I'm in great distress.

The scary thing was when she started to say that this is usually in regards to childhood trauma. However, because I feel like I've always disassociated, and we remember things we associate with strong emotions, I don't remember my childhood. I hardly remember anything. People will tell me things that happened in the past and I will believe them and that's where my memories come from. This is scary because she wants me to pray about starting to remember things. And to focus on trying to be present in moments. And when I do disassociate, if I notice, try to figure out why.

So maybe my whole life problems are just this one coping mechanism. It's made sense of some particular sins I struggle with, and my bad memory. I think the trauma, which doesn't have to be super intense to cause such a thing, is growing up in a household with lots of anger, fighting, screaming, etc. I didn't feel safe there. I was always scared. No one physically hurt me (that I remember or have been told) but I was never emotionally comfortable. I've known that for a long time. It makes me sad because I know my parents just did what they could and have tried their best.

It also makes me sad because I feel at fault for so much. I'm realizing more and more than I have a terrible view of myself. I always assume I did wrong, even without negative feedback. I think I internalized consistent negative feedback and have made this my gut reaction, so that I can't be criticized before I criticize myself.

I'm scared to take this journey. I'm scared to remember things, I'm scared to potentially feel things without detaching mentally. I'm scared to love myself, really. But I know the Lord has brought me to this place to lean on Him and know Him and His love better so that I can really love others and spread His Gospel better. I know that. I don't feel that but I'm just going to keep reminding myself. With Scripture, with Prayer and with Worship and David Crowder's help.

Your love is relentless
And I'm glad for it, I'm glad for it
Your love is relentless
I am glad
Your love is relentless
And if not for it, if not for it
I'd perish for sure
If not for it
Savior for the faithful
We're in the hands of God
Love has come
And we are safe
Hope has come
And we are safe
We're in the hands of God.

I don't even feel like I wrote this. But I KNOW I did.
Please Lord, take this confusion away.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Well alright then.

Clearly, that last post was written when I was in quite the bad place. Lesson learned: alcohol + antidepressants don't mix. And when you get home after drinking too much and you just want to go to sleep... don't take your sleeping pill. I guess my judgment was impaired beyond belief.

Thankfully, I was wrong, and I did have a friend that cared and knew what was happening when I called and came over to save me from myself. And the next day, the day I was so scared of, was terrible at first. But I opened up to another friend and I let people love me and pray over me and I felt better. I did.

I woke up depressed again this morning. I was supposed to go volunteer but I didn't want to. I felt worthless and selfish and angry. I felt suicidal. But my friend was in the other room and she cared, and another friend sent a text right then saying she prayed for me. These are both people I met in the last two weeks. Our God is an amazing provider. I'm about to cry, sitting in this coffeeshop, just thinking about how present He is and how much He loves me to have brought these people to me. Even though I hurt and I'm depressed, I am thankful at least for that.

I've been reading the Psalms since January with very little consistency. I'm only on 18. But here's what I read yesterday:

28For it is you who light my lamp;
the LORD my God lightens my darkness.
29For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. 31For who is God, but the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
33He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

I have a lot of friends.

Today I want to die.

And quite frankly,

None of them know. And none of the care.

So i guess the right word is acquaintances.

Happy birthday, America.

Friday, July 2, 2010


I'm sad right now. I'm sad because I've been feeling happy. This is nonsense, I know. I wrote that post yesterday about something I was really thinking about. I was really thinking about theology, and wanting to know more, and not just thinking about my depression.

But today, I feel like the medicine is working, I feel like I'm doing good things every day, I know everything looks right. I'm sleeping, I'm serving, I'm exercising, I'm eating well. But I can't shake the feeling that I should be doing more, which makes me want to remain in my depression, which makes me sad.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Not by works, not by works, I know it's not by works. I know that I can't DO anything, I can't add to God's grace. I know that. I just cannot live it. I cannot make a connection between my head and my heart. I cannot shake the feeling that pervades my relationship with God and my relationship with every person I know that it is what I do that gives me my value. I just want to do everything. I want to be smarter so people will think I'm smart. I want to be nicer so that people will be drawn to me and say nice things about me. I want to be funnier, prettier, more talented, happier, more normal for the same reasons.

And I know that all of these things are empty, will fail me, will not satisfy, will not fill me up. But I keep chasing. I'm running the wrong race. But my flesh won't let me go.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I had another positive day today. I volunteered, went to the gym, did work and ate healthy meals. At the gym, I took an Ashtanga Yoga class. It was my first of this kind, and I enjoyed it. Exercise is hard for me. I don't enjoy much of it, and when I find something I do, that works, I generally want to do it more. This happened with ballet classes, which are too expensive.

Yoga works for me. I enjoy it, I feel the burn, I sweat, and it helps me with anxiety and depression. So I googled the term "Christian yoga," because my therapist said "Wouldn't it be nice if more Christians taught yoga?", after I mentioned that I'm taking Yoga classes, and that when I do, I pray and meditate on Scriptures that I have memorized and I avoid saying "namaste" and bowing, etc.

But... as a scholar of religious studies, it's hard to argue with the fact that Hindus have been quoted many times as saying "Yoga is Hinduism," like in this interesting Time magazine article on the topic. The poses are considered sacrifices to Hindu gods, and the practice is a method of reaching closer to their pantheistic concept of God (please excuse my gross oversimplification of something I'm not even close to fully understanding. hopefully you can see my point anyway).

I'm not comfortable being that crazy, legalistic Christian. I'm scared when I think (or the Holy Spirit suggests through His nudging) "maybe I shouldn't drink. maybe I shouldn't watch that TV show. maybe I shouldn't listen to that music." I was raised as a privileged American, in this sweet land of Liberty. And we do have liberty and freedom in Christ! But where do we strike that balance between being libertines and legalists? Particular forms of music, TV, movies, activities, whatever may not be inherently bad, but that doesn't mean they help us run the race we are running toward Him.

So, is it enough just to focus my attention on Him during yoga? Does it require "redeeming" poses and renaming the practice, like the creators of PraiseMoves? For now, I'm just really not sure. I'm going to talk to a few close friends that are believers, because I don't fully trust every Christian I met via their website. I'm going to pray about it. Actually, that should be first.