There really is no way to quantify, or qualify, the struggles I have been so deeply entwined inside the core of my being, my very selfness, so to speak. Sometimes words help. They used to help a lot more. These days…not so much. I find it difficult, almost impossible if I were honest, to articulate how deeply I have been torn, confused, unhappy with myself, while all the time wrestling my own soul into an acceptance of God’s immeasurable grace. Even just saying that to you only highlights to me the inadequacy of language.
I feel, at times, buried under the deepest seas, feeling the weight and burden of sustaining my life with all its practical demands (food, sleep, clothing, and hygiene) and the added burden of the necessary interactions with family, friends, coworkers, strangers in the marketplace, etc. When I feel overwhelmed to that degree, all I want to do is sit still in my house in the dark and withdraw from the world.
Then there are those moments, and most of the time they do only feel like moments in retrospect, when I feel confident in my place before the Lord—sustained and lifted by the Spirit into the unseen reality so that I am comprehending more fully all of what is happening around me and experiencing the fullness of Spirit life until it boils out of me in tears. I cannot tell you whether those are tears of joy and gratitude that I am once more participating in what God is doing, whether they are tears of sorrow and frustration for the difficulty that both I and those around me have in letting go and letting God, or perhaps a combination of the two extremes. I only know that I weep in some visceral response that I have no control over and no desire to control.
I find myself reaching for things out of years and years of habit:
- books to read, that once I start reading I lose all interest in;
- food to eat, which has little or no taste appeal anymore and makes me feel physically less well in various ways;
- alcoholic drink, which no longer really tastes quite right and doesn’t make me feel any better;
- music, that I also lose interest in quickly once I start listening;
- physical activity, which I find I have no desire to attempt and no strength when I attempt it anyway;
- and even sleep has no appeal and seems pointless.
It is at this point that I am just beginning to recognize the tastelessness of my current existence. This also seems paradoxical. I don’t feel in the least bit suicidal, which might be the obvious conclusion an observer would make. “Being” me just feels gray. I love; I laugh; I cry; I get angry; I talk and banter with others; and it all appears to my observer’s mind to just be external. Maybe I have not physically shut the door and turned out the lights, but on the inside, I’ve turned off. I feel no connection.
Oddly enough, I know this to be a lie. I am very connected with my loved ones and friends. We pray together, and I see the truth of the spiritual realm around me. If I were to be honest with myself, I would have to say that the reason everything feels so gray and disconnected is because I keep searching for the ultimate connection with the Life inside me, yet I cannot seem to find it.
It’s there. God’s there. He’s there beyond a shadow of any doubt. I know this only because I know this deeper than words can articulate. I’ve always known His presence in my life. I cannot conceive of life without. I think what I’ve been struggling towards is some way to let go of all the things I reach for and simply sink into the Person of God, the Holy Spirit, already indwelling me.
O Lord, may you give the ability to quit striving and rest in You.