It doesn’t appear I’ve made much “progress” if you look at my life right now. In many ways I’m more non-functioning than ever. Been sick on and off for months. I have crazy anxiety that leaves me terrified to be left alone.
What you don’t see is my inner landscape. Despite the anxiety, I’m more calm internally than I’ve ever been because I know I don’t have to fight it anymore. It makes me wonder if that’s a reason the anxiety has been so bad lately, as if all the bottled up emotions and stress of my life are finally free to unwind, and the anxiety is just my body working it out.
Or… I just have a serious anxiety problem.
It is hard for me to say that overall I’m getting worse because I really don’t believe that. I’m actually getting better. I may be a mess on the outside right now, but you never saw what I looked like on the inside. I used to be so so so sick on the inside and I was the only one who ever witnessed it. I was so dark, so lost, so terrified of so many things. I was a cruel master of my soul, daily lashings and completely lacking in mercy.
These days the taskmaster isn’t around as often. The whip is more absent than not. I’m no longer attempting to beat my soul into submission. I’m… ok. I still get scared and I still mess up, but now I find grace and compassion and a voice (my voice) saying, “It’s ok to be human. You are loved.”
I’ve wrestled with so much. I still wrestle with so much. But now I know it’s ok. There’s no standard to measure myself by and be found wanting. It’s ok. I’m ok. Everything’s ok.
I’ve had a really hard time with God and Jesus the last few years and even if I deny them both, it doesn’t stop Love from sneaking it’s way into my heart. I can search for God in the Bible or the life and words of Jesus Christ, and these days it doesn’t really get through. There’s so much baggage that often times it’s better for me to just dump it all and search for God elsewhere. But God is love and I recognize now how love has gotten thru in the midst of my doubts. Because I love myself now more than I ever have. It’s me tapping into the love of God and channeling it through me. I just don’t often recognize it as God.
The most unlikely place I’ve discovered the love of God is in my rejection of the love of God. When I rejected the narrow ideas I’ve held of God and his love, I was actually free to let love in. I didn’t know it was God because it didn’t match my previous ideas of God. But God still got through, because God is greater than all things and can do that.
“Even if you don’t believe in Love, Love believes in you.” -me, many years ago
I’m having a really rough time lately. But right now it feels better to think back on how far I’ve come and to recognize the peace deep inside me that I strained to find for years. I have greater access to it now because it is becoming less and less dependent upon my ideas and beliefs about God.
At some point I realized that I never worshipped the true God, I worshipped my beliefs about God– a subtle but profound difference. This worship of our ideas and beliefs surrounding God is plain idolatry, and it’s rampant throughout Christianity and every other religion. Idols always fail. Mine surely did. I’m glad to have thrown out my worthless idols of doctrine because none of them could save me.
Only God saves- God, who is not subject to our beliefs about who or what he/she/it is. God does whatever the fuck it wants. God loves who we’re convinced are unlovable. Just like the sun shines on the just and the unjust, and the clouds release their rains on saint and sinner alike, God pours out love on all of us whether we think we’re worthy or not. How stupid it is to deny the very showers which drench us! How insane it is to convince our fellow humans that they are dry and condemned to fire when they are swimming in an endless ocean!
We are always bathing in Love. Recognizing it and truly aligning with that fact is the dance of life.
Love is a divine gift, and I must remind myself that this gift of love cannot be revoked through human interpretation or definition. I have no right to deny myself the love of God.
I’m a mess, and yet I’m lovable… not in spite of or because of my messiness. My status of mess has zero bearing on my lovableness. I AM Love. And I guess sometimes Love just looks like a mess.
I’m finally starting to accept that.
I guess if I had to pick, I’d pick anxious and sickly Grace with curious internal peace and gentle waltz with Love than well-functioning high-performing Grace who’s constantly beating herself up for not performing high enough and not being able to grasp the illusions she incorrectly thinks are Love.
We really don’t need more examples of how to live “healthier” lives. We just need to see other people who are as fucked up as we are boldly and radically loving themselves out loud. Oh sure, you’ve mastered a schedule and self-care routines and breathing exercises to calm your anxiety and all that truly healthy stuff. Good for you. But can you love yourself if all that shit falls apart? Can you love yourself outside of that routine and structure?
That’s my journey. This is where God finds me and I discover the true nature of Love.