As I walked back to my room this evening, I felt like a veil of sadness covered me. I thought about all the school work I have to do, preparation for an event our christian organization on campus is to host next week, and the mere fact that I’m exhausted, and I broke down. If I could step outside of myself, I would have laughed at the sight. A young girl clad in a black coat and a winter hat with the face of a bear, walking in the cold, swinging her hands, and shedding tears. Actual tears. The cool wind was soothing on my face, though. If only it would soothe my heart.
I’ve been feeling what I think I’ll call “birthing pains.” I feel strongly that I’m going through a phrase in my life (spiritual, academic, and emotionally especially) that I will understand only at the other end of this tunnel. Never in my life have I worked so hard at my school work. Never. I also don’t think I’ve worked this hard at maintaining my spiritual life, either. I mean, I could do better. But can’t we always do better?
I stopped abruptly after about two minutes into my walk from the library. I asked myself, ah, did I mean to leave the library? What am I doing walking back to my room? In that moment, I realized that I hadn’t meant to leave the library just yet. I had stood up from my reading to use the bathroom, but instinctively wore my coat, gathered my books, and left.
That was when it occurred to me that something was indeed not right.
Even while I was in the library, honestly, I wasn’t even doing my school work. I was reading a christian book. Don’t worry about me friends, I don’t have to read every single page of the over 500 pages of reading I’m assigned across my five classes each week. I’ll be fine. It’s okay. I’ll still get an excellent result because God has promised it to me and He doesn’t renege on His promises.
I was already feeling this veil of sadness in the library, which is why I decided against my school books. In the christian book, I was severely challenged. I also struggled to understand and even agree with a lot of the things I was reading. I don’t particularly want to write about the things, but the bottom line is that I was feeling inadequate. For life, for my work on this blog (which I hope grows beyond my dreams) and even generally. I kept thinking: Lord, how will I make it in this life? I’m walking around here smiling and dancing and being jolly. But in my heart there’s something I don’t have. I don’t know what it is, but I know that I want it and it’s not there.
I even thought about the wondefully desperate call Peter made when the apostles were on the sea and it got stormy while Jesus was fast asleep in Matthew 8:24. In my own contraption, I thought: Holy Spirit, do you care that I’m feeling some type of way that I cannot understand? Don’t you care that I feel like I’m drowning in this ocean and I don’t even know what it is about?
I wonder, I wonder.
I came to my room and on cue, began to play a sermon. The preacher asked that the people pray, so I joined them in prayer. I didn’t even have the words, so I just prayed in tongues. I like it when I can hear the word of God playing around me. It drowns some of the silence of living in a single room. I like my Single for the things I can do here but sometimes I want some company lol. Anyway, that’s not the point.
As I sat settled down to listen to the sermon, I also opened my reading for the class tomorrow and I tried to read the introduction so that I can at least submit the mandatory reading response tomorrow morning. Still, the vim to read wasn’t there. So I began to write this post.
Anyway, I have come to the end of this convoluted post and I’m much happier. When I started to write, I thought I probably won’t feel this way in an hour or when I wake up in the morning. But what I’m feeling right now is legit because it’s how I’m feeling and I want to record it.
There are two things I learnt from my little melodramatic meltdown this evening.
1. Even when you don’t feel like it, open your mouth and pray. Open your mouth and say actual words. There’s something about loud prayer that changes your atmosphere and feeds the Spirit of God back into your heart. It may seem silly, and even when you don’t want to over-spiritualize things, just open your mouth and pray. The bible says in Psalm 81:10 that we should open our mouths wide and God will fill them.
We don’t only open our mouths to be filled. We also open them to release our stress, our worries, and our cares on Jesus. When we open our mouths to confess honest confessions about how we feel awful or confused or emotional, we release up space in our hearts to receive God’s gifts. No matter how you feel, open that mouth and make a positive confession. When you have nothing positive to say to yourself, play a sermon, some christian music, and let the spirit of God begin to move in your atmosphere.
2. Acknowledge how you feel. We try so hard to be strong and to hold it all together. That’s not true strength. True strength in God comes from knowing exactly how we feel- who and where we are, our strengths, our weaknesses- and offering up everything we have to God. He knows us better than we know yourselves and the sooner we stop hiding and trying to cover everything up, the sooner we’re going to receive the help we need.
Finally, It’s okay to not be okay. Just breathe, breathe, and breathe once more. Breathe in the sweet fragrance of the Holy Spirit and let Him comfort you.
I may wake up not at my optimum tomorrow. That’s okay. When my heart is overwhelmed, I can always say like David in Psalm 61:2 From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Have a lovely rest of your week, guys!