“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
-Carl Rogers @ TWLOHA
Anger and bitterness have officially entered the building. They seem to be taking up residence in my home (of little ole me). For a while, I have felt myself moving toward loving feelings about my situation. Looking for ways to accept that I am going through a tough time and it’s to make me a better person (which I do still believe). But now I feel like I am resorting to resentment about things, especially a few people who have perpetuated my situation.
I know anger/resentment/bitterness is a normal part of moving on. But I feel like this isn’t a healthy type of anger, it’s a damaging one. You see, this kind of anger makes me not want to run to God. It makes me want to hurt someone as bad as I hurt. It makes me want to fester in my own obsession (because that’s the real root of my problem here, I’m obsessed with what I am going through).
This type of anger makes me not want to believe there is any other purpose here than to try and fail. It makes me resent others who have what I want instead of asking for what I want and believing one day God has that planned for me. The problem with this kind of anger is that it makes me feel like I just don’t care. And let’s be honest, caring has never been a problem for me. I care too much.
I kind of feel like I am at the edge of just taking things into my own hands to get some answers. I feel like if I just get the answers I need (even if they are bad), I can get some absolution. I almost took up an offer a friend made to me to help that along. I want some answers bad. I want some action bad. BUT yet again, God intervened before I had the chance to make any mistakes (for myself or others).
I have been feeling lately like maybe I made a mistake letting so much time pass without resolving some of the issues on my mind. I have been afraid that I’m changing too much and the others involved have too. I keep forgetting that the change that is happening (maybe even the bad patch I’m going through) is a good thing (in the end). And I definitely keep forgetting that God changes our hearts, he dictates our steps. As usual, my deductive reasoning skills may be keeping me in the absolutes area (black and white). I just keep thinking I know how people feel (and as a result, what will happen) just based on the limited view I have of what I see. But truth is I don’t really know anything and getting the answers I want won’t change that. They may make me feel more capable of dealing with my situation, but I think the whole point of this is for God to teach me I don’t have any power here.
Once again, I am looking for something finite and earth-bound to place my dependency. I have shifted to the point that I’m not even sure what I want anymore, I am just desperate to not feel so sad, lonely, out of control, and confused. I can’t stop myself from thinking that if I know the other side of my situation, that I can decide how I feel. If I’m honest with myself, I should admit that that statement alone is a big part of the problem. I keep looking for a change to make me happy, to force me into where I want to be. But the reality is, I’m not going to be happy no matter what happens.
The quote up top not only applies to myself, but my situation. Truth is until I accept my situation for what it is, I can’t change. Until I realize God isn’t going to give me what I want just because I want it, I can’t accept it. That true happiness isn’t going to come when I get a promotion, find the love of my life, have kids, write a book, or any other miscellaneous situation I could come up with happens. That change won’t occur until I stop asking for it to be fair or holding a grudge because it’s not. That it’s not going to make a difference how much time goes by or if I sit in the corner stomping my feet like a child.
Not a single thing I do changes what God is doing. I think it’s so easy to feel like we have the power to make things right or to ruin God’s plans, but we don’t. Truth is, no matter what I do, God will make things right in the end. I can go crazy and leave the mess for God to pick up (which He inevitably will have to do) or I can sit back, be patient, and be a part of what He is doing. I keep letting my sinful, selfish nature tell me that if I don’t do something, then eventually it will be too late. But the God of the Impossible says that He has everything in His perfect timing.
Once again, while I just wanted to cower and lick my wounds or lash out at the nearest person (and I’m sad to say I have done both today), God had another plan. He sent me to another very cool resource. Hope you take a minute and check out this article:
Where the author is suffering something far worse than I am, he says, “We all have our challenges and afflictions, all of them different because we are all different people. One person’s affliction is no worse than anyone else's—they are all designed to serve some purpose. The key is not to avoid them, but rather to learn from them.” He says that God is bringing us to those places because He needs to get our attention. I think a lot of my problem is that I don’t want God to have my attention. I want to do my thing. I’m tired of hurting and working so hard to grow.
“God also wants us to walk closer to Him and develop a greater intimacy with Him because He loves us too much to let us stagnate or backslide. So after He gets our attention, He will attempt to purge from us sins that are holding us back from living the extraordinary life He has planned for us. Mine was pride. I see that now and would never have come to this conclusion without the affliction and challenges I’ve had to go through.” Truth is, I think this is the stage I am in. God is trying to purge me of my self-involved way of thinking. But like breaking any bad habit, it hurts immensely.
I have realized some of my problem is that I can’t stop talking about my problem. I will find myself bringing subjects up with my friends so that they have a reason to ask me about my situation and give me an excuse to go on and on about it. This, needless to say, just keeps feeding the obsession I have of my own situation (and although they won’t admit it, I think it’s driving my friends nuts). I decided the first step I can take is to stop talking about it with people. Yeah right…if you know me, you know I talk A LOT. I’m trying, but literally I can’t even make it through one conversation (some of that is because of my unique situation-again being vague to keep something’s private for the sake of others). However, I feel like if I don’t try to keep control of that part of my situation, it will keep controlling me.
Another thing I think I might try is to spend some time alone, and not just watching TV, but praying and thinking about how I feel. For those who don’t know me, this is not something I am excited about. I like my own alone time as much as anyone to do the things I want (listen to my own music, watch TV or movies, read books, etc). But I certainly do not like to take time by myself on a regular basis (I’ve had a lot of alone time in the past, I’m over being alone) and I like spending time with my friends. But a lot of my continued obsession lies in the fact that I can’t get away from part of it (not at work, with friends, etc). Because of that, I’m not getting enough time away from the situation to figure out how I feel independent of it.
As I have said before, I have no idea why God is putting me in the position He is, but that there is a purpose and I believe part of it is just overcoming that circumstance. I keep feeling like if I get what I want, then everything will be ok. That even if I just get a glimpse of the future, I can be ok. But truth is I know that isn’t the case. The last week and half is proof of that. I keep feeling like knowledge is the key to being free from what is holding me back from life. From being happy, moving on, acceptance, growth. But the truth is I need so much more than to know God’s plan. I need to allow myself to be a part of it. Catch is, it has to be a hands-off part.
Yancey Arrington in his book “Tap: Defeating The Sins That Defeat You” says, Pick whatever sin you are struggling with and at it’s baseline you will discover it ultimately is a spiritual issue. This means you need spiritual resources to address it. Paul emphasizes that only those indwelt by God’s Spirit can defeat sin in the manner God wants.” Yet again I am reminded that the step I am supposed to be working on is with Him, not my other situation. And that I can only conquer it His way. My way just leads me in this never-ending circle of defeat I am already in.
Truth is, I still have a lot of unresolved issues with God, but they aren’t about Him. The true root of my unhappiness is me. Guess it’s time to start climbing again. I just need to let Christ carry me. He is the only way I can reach the top.