I've been having a hard time lately. And by lately, I mean the last couple of years, with the past year and a half, right when I got very sick, just gut wrenching. It's a season, just a season, one of many seasons, and one I know that God is doing a great work in, and one I know that comes from the result of being willing to do the work and drudge through literally an entire life's worth of muck. I know all of that but holy crap does it suck. Like, rip your guts out, break your heart, extensive amount of tears, sucky suck suckington.
(This is where I put a disclaimer that says I know right now in the world a billion people are suffering unimaginable circumstances, right here in my Country and all around the world. I know this. I am not naive. This does not go unnoticed. Click the Read More button to learn how post-it notes started to shift everything.)
This week in particular felt like I wasn't going to make it. I could write out all the reasons why but you don't need to know, plus I'm not seeking pity, nor seeking validation of what I'm writing here. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday found me in bed until about 1pm. Heck, Thursday I woke up crying (and pretty much didn't stop the rest of the day). I felt hopeless, despair, and achingly alone, convinced I'll never step back on a stage or set again, that I'll be stuck where I am permanently. That's often how depression is talked about, this feeling that you're going to feel like that forever. (You guys, how FUN is this blog post?! So uplifting, I know. Stay with me, we're getting to the point.)
But that's the thing with me - underneath all of these feelings, there is a calm, steady, exceptionally quiet, constant truth. Like a delicate hum underneath an ear-blowingly loud earthquake. And that truth calls bullshit. That truth says (whispers, maybe even mimes, idk bc it is SO QUIET), "you will not stay stuck here, these feelings are lies, this is not who you truly are and you know it".
And last night, around midnight, when I was trying to figure out what to do next, I felt an overwhelming urge to write scripture and put it on my walls. When I lived in NYC, I had post-it's and notes to myself taped on the wall, along with things torn out from magazines, drawings, quotes I had written. Most of these things were about acting and notes to myself like "yo, don't text him", and other eloquent statements. I had ONE (one, just one) up about God that was actually literally brilliant and has brought a lot of people to their knees but we'll save that for another time. I've been reading my friend Stephanie's new Devotional (which you should get, go ahead and order it, I'll wait) and had a flash of doing an exercise in it regarding what God says about us. Not what WE say, not what our feelings say, but what God says. And then I had a memory of Lara Casey talking about taping scripture up on her walls when she was going through something (this was in a book, yeah? maybe a blog post?). And I knew anything that is a little Stephanie, a little Lara, and a little me, well, I was on to something.
I was up on my feet fast (this from the girl who had been unable to get up until 1pm) and found an unopened pack of brightly colored, notecard size post-it's, and grabbed a pen, and I started writing. I started with "His banner over me is Love", because that's something Stephanie highlights in her book, and it's been wrapped around my heart since I read it. I wrote it on a bright yellow post-it and stuck it up on the wall directly above where I sleep. Then I wrote out Jeremiah 29:11 because, hello, who doesn't love a little Jeremiah 29, and then I wrote Zechariah 2:5, and on and on. With every post-it I felt stronger, more powerful, more alive, and excited. I was remembering who I am.
This is a dangerous thing to put on the internet, you know? People will make assumptions, select labels for me, create judgement. They will think this little blog post allows them permission to think they know or understand my heart, choices, life, whatever. They'll form misguided and uninformed opinions. People who love or admire me will see it as brave, powerful, and vulnerable, and people who have been looking for a reason to knock me down will tuck it away for future ammunition, and people who don't like me will use it as justification to make fun of me or judge me. That's okay, people are messy and flawed, I get it, but no label will be correct. I know who I am, I am His beloved, I have a banner of Love over me, and I am not afraid. There is no depth or darkness that I can't be pulled out of and there is no depth or darkness that isn't growing me and for my good and part of His plan. When I share stuff like this it's because I choose to, and because I know there is a heart aching right now that needs these words. Simple.
Something I've been repeating while on my long runs is "everything in my life that feels bad is a gift from God and everything in my life that feels good is a gift from God". This, to me, is what God has been trying to teach me in this season of my life: whatever it is to look to Him and say thank you. Book the job? Cool, thanks Lord! Didn't book the job? Cool, thanks Lord! When the boy I love calls me? Cool, thanks Lord! When he hides out for months? Cool, thanks Lord! When I'm skipping around joyfully? Cool, thanks Lord! And when I'm in despair? Cool, thanks Lord!
The world tries to tell us who we are, the people around us try to tell us who we are, the lying insecure voices in our heads try to tell us who we are, the media and social media tries to tell us who we are. I have been a victim of this countless times and I'm one strong motherfucker, it's just so powerful. I vote we stop listening. Stop. Listening. Find the source of truth, see what it says about who we are, write it on a bright post-it, and tape it up on your wall above where you sleep. Let the truth of who you are and who you've been called to be sink into you while you sleep, like a banner of truth, and a banner of Love above your head, encircling you, reminding you that whatever is coming next is going to be so good, you will not stay stuck, and the hill to this valley will be worth every single step.