The last couple weeks, I’ve been struggling with bouts of sadness that come and go throughout the day without any explicit reason. Nothing bad has happened. In fact, many good things have been happening.
But still, the sadness. And my struggle to hold it.
I think some of the sadness is connected to continued grief from my healing journey these last many months. Even though much healing has happened, there’s still so much to continue processing. Ongoing revelations. Impact on relationships. Growing pains as I learn new ways of existing in the world.
The grief is real, and I just keep trying to hand out handfuls of grace to myself along the way. But there are definitely ways I flee the grief, and I think that contributes to the sadness too, almost adding more on top of it.
Last week I shared with you that I’m learning how much space healing opens up in our lives for greater contribution and productivity. There’s suddenly all this space inside of us where woundedness used to be, and there’s a growing edge in learning how to fill that space with healthy, life-filled endeavors instead of tracking along the well-worn grooves of brokenness we’re so used to traveling.
On top of that interior space, I’ve just had a lot of exterior space open up for me too. This week, I finished the last in a long line of projects for various publishing clients — have I ever told you I’m a freelance editor by trade? — and these projects have followed, one right after the other, for several months now. I sent the last big project off on Tuesday, tied up some loose ends throughout the rest of the week, and then got to Friday evening and realized I was stepping into the weekend with absolutely zero outside projects on my plate.
I can’t tell you the last time that happened.
And so this interior and exterior space. And learning how to fill it well.
And then the sadness. And learning how to live with it.
I’ll be honest with you: Most days, as the sadness has been showing up in the open spaces, I’ve grasped for anything other than God. I’ll turn to Facebook or Twitter. Or Instagram. Or playing my solitaire app. Or watching Netflix. Or eating food that’s altogether bad for me.
I do these things to try to fill the space and soothe the ache. But the thing is, they only make me feel worse because they don’t make the ache go away. As soon as I’m done doing any one of those things, there the ache is, staring right at me again.
A few days ago, I realized I was fleeing myself and fleeing God through all these things.
And here’s the truth: Turning to God is hard for me sometimes. Can you relate? I feel like Eve in the garden, running and hiding and covering myself up in fear instead of coming out in the open to meet the one walking in the garden who wants to meet with me — the one who created my body and soul.
I flee him because I’m scared. Of what? I’m not sure, really. Perhaps the truth. Perhaps intimacy. Perhaps what he may say. Perhaps what I may say.
And yet, when I turn and face him, the thing I most need is there.
It might sound kind of weird to say it, but when I was thinking about what it’s like when I finally stop running and turn to face God, it’s almost like an egg being cracked open. I can almost hear the slurping sound of that egg being pulled apart at the seams. And then everything’s inside — the white and the yolk, all mixed together. Beautiful but messy.
God sees it all in there. And so do I.
The truth is, it’s never as scary as I think it’s going to be, this stopping and turning and facing God. Rather, it’s like coming home. At last. It feels, more than anything, like relief.
Do you ever struggle to turn and face God? To let God see you where you are? To let yourself see where you are?