I’m struggling. What can I say? I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that tomorrow is my last day at SOW, but this past week, I’ve been slipping.
I would tell you what Jesus thinks about it, but the fact is I haven’t spoken to Him about it yet. Suddenly I feel unable and unwilling to let go of all my old comforts – all my dark little caves in which I love to hide. The cave of sadness. The cave of self-pity. The cave of unlovableness. The cave of unrequited love (romantic or otherwise). Cold and dark, but familiar and indulgent.
And then there are the old pieces of armour. This morning during praise & worship, the worship leader told us to exchange our cardboard shields and swords for the armour of Christ. And my mind was flooded with the image of a beautiful armour, strong yet supple, like a living metal, a second skin encasing me, and the Word of God as my sword.
And yet more and more I’m reverting to hiding behind old and outdated shields of my past identity – that I cannot dance because I’m uncoordinated, that I just cannot get along with girls, that I’m socially awkward and have zero social skills…
In particular with the social skills – why is it so simple sometimes and so difficult at others? Actually if I think about all the interactions I’ve had here at SOW, the basic pattern is – social interactions initiated by others are easy, as long as it’s someone I am already comfortable with or feel interested in (not in a romantic way, you understand, but in an “ooo that person seems interesting” way). Social interactions initiated by me are only easy if I already love the person and am pretty sure the person doesn’t mind me either.
Every other interaction outside of those 2 categories has been such a struggle, especially over the last few days. Being present to people, gracious, welcoming… I feel like my capacity for, and also my inclination toward, doing any of the above is very much lacking.
I’ve also discovered that after all these years of discussing friendship as a concept at work, I still have no idea how to actually pursue a friendship with someone. I’ve always been the antisocial one and so it has generally fallen to the other party to initiate the friendship and pursue it, so to speak. Writing this now, I’m starting to wonder how I ever managed to make friends with anyone. Not in a “wow it’s a miracle I have friends” way, but rather I’m actually curious – if I explore the beginnings of each of my friendships, what will I find? What roles did I play?
Anyway, in the middle of writing this post I visited the adoration room and spent a bit of time in silence, half asleep, just being physically in the presence of Jesus’ real presence. And as I was sitting there, I realised that the real issue is not that I’m struggling. The problem is, I hear Jesus trying to tell me surrender these struggles to Him, and my answer this week is “No”. There are some things in that messy box of struggles that I just am unwilling to let go of. And I feel a somewhat like I have to surrender all or nothing. And so I just retain possession of that box, every messy thing within it, so that I can continue indulging that one area of my current situation.
I think perhaps the worst part about the past week has been the tension between the good moments and the bad moments. One moment receiving great consolation, the next drowning in self-obsession. One moment healthily balancing enjoying time with friends and being in solitude with God, and the next, isolating myself while wishing for company, sinking into a loneliness that is directionless.
I don’t have a conclusion. If I can’t reach out to friends and I don’t want to reach out to God, then all I’m left with is myself, and cut off from God all I am is a black hole for myself, a star imploding into nothingness at the end of its life.
Jesus, please break through my stubbornness. And maybe, help me to value and receive the love that is being given to me, and to let go of the love that isn’t. Jezu ufam Tobie.
I do believe; help my unbelief!