I struggle a great deal with loneliness. There are some people in my life who know this, but it’s not common knowledge. I started struggling with this on a very deep level in high school. It has caused me so much pain throughout the years. There have been many sleepless nights/mornings like this one that I could not stop thinking… that I could not shake the loneliness and feelings of not belonging or being loved.
Loneliness makes us feel alone and abandoned in our endeavors and leaves us in a spiral of consuming thoughts. Loneliness tells us that we’re worth only so much — that even those that love us can only possibly love a certain amount. Loneliness can feel infinite, it can feel impossibly overwhelming, and in moments of desolation, it can feel like it’ll never leave us. – Andre Bohrer
My birthday was five days ago (please don’t send me messages wishing me happy birthday). I hardly did anything to celebrate it. I didn’t make a big deal about it. I didn’t even respond to the “happy birthday!” posts on my Facebook wall – many of them superficial and random. I cringed inside anytime wished me a happy birthday. Why? It’s complicated to explain, but I will try.
I used to really enjoy celebrating my birthday. I used to enjoy people taking the time to plan some kind of event, receiving meaningful gifts, having a good time, and knowing (and feeling) that these people were celebrating my life because they loved me.
That changed at some point through the years.
I dread my birthday now. I can’t stand the superficial birthday wishes from people who could care less about what’s going on in my life and how I’m truly feeling. I don’t like the idea of having a whole day to celebrate my life. What is there to celebrate anyways?
This is where it gets even more personal. I read that post by Andre a long time ago where he was answering someone’s question about this same thing. I resonated so much with what he was feeling that I sent him a long message. He wrote something that day that helped me pinpoint one major reason why I don’t like celebrating my birthday.
I don’t show myself enough love, (which translates into), I don’t think I’m worth the love.
This one sentence wrecked me. The reality of this statement brought me to tears and self-reflection. Allow me to quickly expound on this. I enjoy celebrating my friends’ birthdays. I enjoy planning events for them, getting them gifts, and having a good time with them. I will go out of my way to make sure someone else knows they are loved and appreciated most of the time. I tell my close friends (probably too much) how much I truly appreciate them. I want people to know how amazing they are and that their life is truly worth celebrating!
But not mine. I don’t think people should waste their time and efforts into celebrating my life, because I don’t believe I’m worth celebrating. It’s extremely hard for me to love myself much of the time, so it is hard for me to accept other people’s love. And, most of the time, even when I do accept someone else’s love, it’s hard for me to believe it’s genuine (I’ll write on that soon enough) because of past experiences.
“We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
This is something that is a continual work in progress. Each year it seems to be harder, but each year I learn more about myself. It’s hard to admit these things, but I can’t truly deal with them without getting it out in the open. This is the real me.
Almost half a year ago I wrote a post titled “Seasons of Waiting” in which I reflected upon what God was teaching me during that current season. I learned how to trust God in the unknown, in the waiting, in the doubt. Just as the weather changes during seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – so our lives change during similar seasons – loss, doubt, shame, growth, etc. I haven’t really talked to anyone about where I am currently in this season of change, so I’d thought I’d blog about it. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy.
Let me start at the beginning.
When I wrote the previously mentioned post on waiting, I was in my final semester of my senior year in college. All throughout college, things had changed – career paths, friends, jobs, interests, beliefs, etc. Graduation was now right around the corner. I was very excited that I would soon be moving forward in my life.
Yet, at the same time, I was terrified.
We are asked one question over and over again since our childhood – what do you want to be when you grow up? That question carries over into our adulthood as well. In college, our teachers and classmates ask questions such as: What do you want to do with your life? Where do see yourself in five years?
As a child, I would have quickly informed people that I wanted to be a police officer. Don’t ask me why, because I couldn’t tell you. I was just so enthralled by men and women who captured “the bad guys.” Yet, as time progressed and I got older, that interest grew dimmer. I was still very fascinated with fighting crime and catching the bad guys, but I no longer wanted to do that as a career.
Then, as I proceeded into college, my focus soon changed to teaching. I wanted to invest into teenagers’ lives as I taught them and gave them hope for the future, regardless of their past or present circumstances. That changed as well. I still have the desire to invest into teenagers’ lives, but not in that field.
Now, God has called me into ministry leadership. This terrified me in the beginning. For a long time after I surrendered to ministry, I was bound by fear.
Check back tomorrow to read the second half of the post that describes my current season of change.
- How have your career paths changed over the course of time?
- Are you currently in a season of waiting or change? If so, what is God teaching you?