Deep Waters

I feel everything. A bundle of nerves sensitive to the touch, the exposed vulnearablity feeling raw in the open air. I don’t even know what to call the emotions I feel aside from frustration and desire and false hopes and shame. I just know that I feel too much yet not enough but what I feel is wrong and I would be strong and move on, but I can’t.
I feel like I’m not enough, that I can’t do things right and that I’m pushing people I love away out of fear that they will see this side of me and wonder why they even loved me in the first place.
Then I get these glimpses of the woman I want to be-strong, compassionate, wise and fierce. She is confident, capable and caring in a way that draws others to her rather than repels them. I try so hard to get to know people, what motivates them, what gets them up in the mornings, yet I often don’t know the answer to that about myself. And when people try to return the favor, I balk at their inquisitiveness, uncomfortable at their scrutiny rather than flattered at their curiosity. I feel like there are sides of me that have to be justified, explained why I’m wired this way and cannot be changed. Then there are the areas that need fine tuning, tweaking if you will, areas that are sensitive due to their lack of changes that are long overdue.
I feel powerless to change the unchangeable, especially when reminded of the areas that I have yet to even improve upon in the slightest. I want to be better, wiser, stronger, loved loved loved- for all the ways in which I am not those things. I want someone to know me better than anyone else, and love me despite knowing me better than anyone else. I want someone to love my mess, accept my flaws, and help me flourish to be the woman I desire to be. But still be by my side on days when that woman is out of reach.

Why is falling in love so easy, yet falling out of love so hard and such an arduous process? Is it because when someone has become so much a part of your mind, your life, your being that a simple “goodbye” won’t suffice. It seems like it takes your heart a lot longer to convince of the departure than it took your mouth and head to say it was time. We can’t help who we fall in love with, but we can control what we do with that love. How we act upon it, how much we let ourselves get lost in it…and how much of ourselves we let it take with it once it’s gone.
The pieces that are left behind are often what take us so long. We have to salvage what’s left, take inventory of what was lost, and see if there is the possibility of finding replacement parts. Or even if those parts are worth replacing. Are they something we don’t actually need to keep going on, like two kidneys? Or are those parts irreplaceable, and a new one is required asap…like a heart.
I was told once never to apologize for my emotions, never to feel sorry for how something made me feel. But emotions are often what betray us. When our head says no, our heart says, “Who cares what you think! I want it.” As the saying goes, the heart wants what it wants, and it does, even if what our heart wants will be the very reason we are on our hands and knees picking up the shattered red pieces later on. And we don’t get to say I told you so, no, we can’t do that because even though we thought we told our heart no, on the inside we said yes and walked alongside it as it moved forward.
So there are times like now when my heart and head and soul are fighting each other to decide if it was worth the heartbreak, worth the tears and frustrations, and worth the shame and regret. And they are also fighting to decide which woman it’s going to take to get through this; the strong, wise, fierce woman…or the emotional, blubbering, vulnerable ball of raw emotions that is earnestly seeking her now.
When I feel like there is a standard to be met, a bar to be raised even higher, I must remind myself that I cannot do it without the strength of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, both of which feel far from me at the moment. I know that I am in deep waters and that I am struggling to swim against the current, yet all I want to do is stop and float. I don’t want to look around, find the shore I desire and make a choice- because that means that I’ll have to start swimming again. And I’m tired…so tired.
Shame and guilt bear a weight quite heavier than I expected. I keep thinking that my small moments of cool resolve will be enough to lighten the load…but sadly, it isn’t. When my flesh grows shaky and my loneliness strengthens, that same shame and guilt return two fold in my moments of weakness. Even when good friends help share the burden, the fear of failing them mixed with the bitter taste of the undeserving grace they serve me simply adds a layer on top of the pile.
Oh what am I to do? I’ve never been one with much willpower or self-discipline. When life gets hard, I run. I don’t like to fail so I take away the chance of even the possibility…which often eliminates the possibility of succeeding as well. But I’ve also been down this road before and it cost me a friendship and gained me a lesson learned- or so I thought, till I found myself here again. Not quite the same nor what I expected, but the same tendencies to push, pry and justify my flaws have arisen. And I can’t afford the consequences this time.

But isn’t that what following Christ is? Pushing past the discomfort, the selfishness, the complacency that comes without the Spirit’s conviction? the Bible says that I should count it a blessing to be disciplined by the Father, for a Father who loves his children disciplines them for their best intentions are at heart. Maybe God is teaching me to be a better swimmer; amongst the high waves, icy waters and salty gulps I choke on, I may see Him as an instructor who has abandoned me.

Fortunately, the one constant about Him is that he never gives up on me, no matter how messy, shameful, dirty, wet or broken I become. He will welcome me with open arms, stay by my side as I heal, and hold my hand as I take shaky steps down the path He has made for me.
Easy to remember when I’m alone in my bed feeling alone yet inspired to become that strong woman…yet when I’m out in the world that path doesn’t seem too exciting anymore. It seems boring, challenging, and a path without passion. Lord, forgive me when I succumb to the world and it’s superficial worth, to its fool’s gold, rather than swimming towards You and walking down your steady path. Lord, your grace is so undeserving and so under appreciated, yet I cannot (and don’t) express my gratitude for it enough. It would take more than 10,000 lifetimes spent utterly on my knees in praise to give You the thanks that You deserve.
Lord, smooth waters don’t make for skilled sailors. Help me to keep swimming, to get stronger, and embrace the power that is within me with Your strength.


-Jess

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