I just didn’t want to continue
not like this, not like this – –
thinking the same
feeling the same
responding the same
reacting the same
Even if not much will change,
I just didn’t want to continue,
not like this.
Fantasies lead me to believe days can be better than this,
and I know that not all days are bliss or absent of anguish,
but even in the anguish, I can’t continue like this,
not like this.
Some days I feel so strong, little petty obstacles never even make me squint my eyes,
and other days, I feel so fragile little circumstances are sure to define my demise.
One minute I’m confident and certain
and even if you pull back the curtain, it’s all good because I’m confident of my identity.
And then other days I want to hide behind my desk for fear of folks sneering and peering at my insecurities.
So what do I do?
What do I do when my strength has dried up like wax at the bottom of a candle
and I feel like my hands are so calloused they can no longer handle
holding on to the yesses and amens that now feel like a scandal
and that’s only because the pain is so real and so deep, it’s hard for me to stand still and process
so I wiggle and squirm and squirm and wiggle and feel unconscious
and even conflicted
because the hope that I hear about seems so resistant
to my reality – this skin and flesh that I carry from to day to day
so I give myself permission to scale back my hope and expectations
because of this life called the fray, the fight, the struggle,
but I can’t help but notice David’s relationship with hope
and how he was so magnificently transparent with his grief.
I kid you not when I read his poetry,
his vulnerability makes me weep.
He sounds like me – –
one minute he is up and the next minute he is down.
I read his lines and feel like he too gets turned around.
One time he wrote, “O Lord, how long will you forget me?” and later in the same poem he wrote, “The Lord is good to me.”
In another one of his poems, he writes, “God, why are You so far away when I groan for help?” followed by “I will proclaim Your Name to everyone in the city.”
So, like David, I have chosen to slow down and embrace my pain.
But I’ve been terribly fearful of my thoughts
because they leave me soaked in incomplete thoughts, tears and grief
and I often feel shame because of the push to weep
and I constantly wonder, “When will this gripping pain release?”
I thought I knew pain, but not like this
not like this.
This “When it rains, it pours” syndrome
has me drowning in a “How much more can I take?” conundrum.
One minute I feel His throne is my home
and I have so much inner peace within
and the very next minute my thoughts implode
and I feel like burned up leftovers from the affects of sin.
Daily battles beat at my chest.
I can feel the bat up against my chest.
I can feel my insides screaming, “Dang! Dang!
Why does the pain have to be so heavy?
Why do people have to be so messy?
Why do I feel so alone even when I’m surrounded by friends and family?”
I feel like I’m spinning and spinning
and in circles I go
and I’m trying to hold on fear I might fall
I close my eyes and pain I see
and when I open them up, questions and more questions stare blankly at me.
And I get dressed and go about my day like everything is peachy,
but on the inside I’m screaming,
“God, why are you so quiet when my tears are so loud?
Why can’t I hear You on this merry-go round?”
And I weep and I cry and I cry and I weep.
This adventure called life has misinformed me.
Why is this so ugly?
And why do I feel so empty? so broken? so worn?
like a kickball left out in the sun.
I have emotional stretch marks that people can’t see
because I cover them up out of shame and misery.
I feel embarrassed by my brokenness.
I have so many questions, so many questions.
I have a million questions and journals that no one will ever see
because they keep log of my heartache and confusion that often run rampant in me.
I have a question today and I know I’ll have one tomorrow.
I have hurts and pains that right now feel heavy and endless
and so I accuse Jesus of being an escape artist
when in reality, He is the Great Escape
but when the pain is so great, I frequently forget that He is the way – –
not always out of my situation, but always out of depression, hopelessness and isolation.
Therefore, I will go to the cross
when I don’t have it all figured out and I need wisdom and revelation.
I will go to the cross
when I feel weak and am in desperate need of His comfort and restoration.
I will go to the cross
when I am unsure of my identity and need reassurance in His solemn love towards me.
And then . . .
And then I will then forget to go to the cross and will instead turn to the world and all of its competitive seductions.
I will look to it to see if it can provide me with quicker and more fulfilling satiations.
I will see the cross and render it incapable of satisfying my every need.
I will chase down other gods and demand they complete me.
I will judge Eve’s decisions in the garden and then mimic her completely.
I will have all that I need, but feel God is certainly with holding His best from me.
I will find those who share my pains or those who share my disbelief of the cross and all that it has to offer
and I will lean back and laugh at God and act as a scoffer.
I will beat my chest and declare that He is not good and a fool only pledges to the cross.
but I will wrestle morning through night deeply insisting that Christians are the real ones who are lost.
I will try and bargain with God asking for His protection and love, but desire not His Lordship and Sovereignty.
I think it is surely those qualities in Him that have so ruined me.
And then . . .
And then I will be empty and desolate and hate the internal fighting within
because there is no joy in Kingdom insurgence; there are only the wages of sin.
So I will return to the cross because I know where it can be found.
I did all of the hunting and chasing, and never once did the cross leave town.
I know where to find the cross because I know where to find Him who hung so willingly.
I know where to find Him because He has given me Himself in the Spirit as a seal upon my very being.
I don’t have to go and look for Him; I left, but He never did.
I was the prodigal who ran away; I was the one who sinned.
I laughed and mocked and He humbly waited for my fall.
He knew that I would need to come to the end of myself in order to give Him my all.
I should have hung from that cross; I should have earned my salvation.
Who willingly gives up their life in order for someone else to freely have restoration?
I don’t understand why You left Heaven to come and walk among people so fickle, fragile, and weak.
Look at me; I know Your goodness, got offended, and wrote You off as someone who is cheap.
But cheap you are not, not with the price of blood being the cost.
So, why would you give up Your life when we sometimes intentionally choose to be lost?
Why would you leave the cozy temperature of Heaven to come to a planet paralyzed with idolatry?
It’s your humility that strikes me the most because You laid down Your sword and came through the virgin Mary.
You didn’t even enter into a distinguished wealthy family who owned a chain of hotels.
Instead, you chose to be born in a manger because there was no room even in the motels.
A manger? Really? A wooden crate that really should’ve been too small to hold You in that inn.
But, you left Your Deity in Heaven so we could come to know you as brother and friend.
Your humility, I pray that it continues to astound me because when I stop staring at it, I sin.
When I forget what You gave up for me is when I find myself demanding another friend.
May I stay close to the cross, and not watch You, but follow You; for that is Your command.
And when I get offended and disappointed, may I remember that Your promises are forever Yes and Amen.
Anita is also part of Ambassadors Alliance International, a passionate team of people who go into impoverished areas to assess their needs and provide help in the form of food, medical supplies, clothing, education, and job-training that will lead to self-sustainable change.