Life is hard and transitions suck. Graduating college was great, but the period of transition following is hard. Harder than I expected. Because not only am I transitioning, but the lives of the people around me are all transitioning too and we’re not transitioning together, but each in our own ways.
Something I have realized in the last few days is that for the last 8ish years I have been trying to fit a cookie cutter mold of a person. I was trying to live up to the standards and expectations set before me by the people I was around. But what I’m realizing is that it is exhausting to live life that way. It is exhausting constantly trying to be pleasing to every person. To strive to live to a standard of perfection because you’re trying to live up to the expectations you perceive have been set before you.
As my heart and mind started entering into this transition my spiritual life also started to transition. But I didn’t realize it. I thought that back in June when I went into a spiritual slump it was just the usual summer slump people so often talk about. I figured in the fall the slump would fade away, and when it didn’t I started to get frustrated. It started getting harder to persevere. I started relying on my own strength rather than leaning into grace and relying more on the Lord.
This struggle of faith has persisted and persisted. I would fall into sin and run to confession not because I wanted to but because that’s what I was supposed to. But I don’t think I was receptive to the grace the Father was trying to give me. I was just going through the motions. I struggle a lot with one particular serious sin and so it is second nature in a sense to fall into it and then just go to confession. I would plan it out, practically running to the confessional. But this most recent time I couldn’t bring myself to do it, not just yet(because I was..am.. sick of going through the motions). I needed to stop.
Pause. Breathe. Ask.
What is going on here? What is going on this broken heart of your dear girl?
This morning I woke up with this odd, unexpected sense of renewed hope. I felt ready to explore this. You see, yesterday I tried what I usually do – which is word dump on God in a moment of desperation, but I couldn’t do it. I, on some level, resolved to just give up, in a sense. At this point – I just didn’t want to force it. Things were just going to keep being hard and that’s okay. I got this… And then this morning surprised me. I was doing my usual morning facebook scroll as I enjoyed my cup of coffee and stumbled upon this article that I wasn’t going to read right away but was going to save and read later (I do that A LOT). But instead I ended up reading it. I swear it is grace, and only grace that allowed me to stumble upon that article and read it. But it struck a chord.
Grace upon grace. Grace upon grace.
The article talks about how Jesus experienced the nitty-gritty-daily grind suffering too.
He felt lonely. He experienced anger. He felt overwhelmed and like he couldn’t catch a break. He felt tired. He felt misunderstood. He felt annoyed. He got hangry, I’m sure.
Because our good Lord found it necessary to enter into the full human experience. He experienced nitty-gritty-daily-grind life just like we do. And because of that He is with us. He is with us in the weird, awkward uncomfortable stages of transition. He is with us in our desire for companionship. He is with us as we struggle to know our lives purpose.
Today what I realized was that so much of what I was experiencing I didn’t believe God was with me. And I didn’t believe God could ever know what I was going through or experiencing. I was choosing to believe that God was disgraced with me, that he was exhausted by me, that he wanted to give up on me. I know I’m stubborn as hell. I know I’m bullheaded. I know I like do things on my own. I know I can be feisty and sassy and let my emotions get the better of me. And I can be negative and pessimistic and hopeless. But today – even if just for today, I have been reminded that despite all of this God is with us. He doesn’t give up on us, despite how many times we may push him away, He’ll be waiting when we’re ready.
You see, that’s the beauty of our God. He is not a pushy or forceful God. But he is a gentle God who gives us free will and the freedom to choose him. He gives us the freedom to come to him and give to him what we can. So maybe today I couldn’t open up all that has been going on in my heart, but we started. And we’ll take it day by day. Because what I realized is that I put back up all the self-protective walls we’d once knocked down and it’s going to take work to tear them back down. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to hurt – but we have a God who is ever merciful and ever patient. And for that I will give thanks. Because we have to remember to dance in the rain because life is the messy bits.