Friday, October 12, 2012

Off the Beaten Path

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Something that I have struggled with and I'm still struggling with daily, being encouraged. I compare myself with other people more often than I should, more so my circumstances with theirs. Seeking validation from people I think, for sometime, has been a thorn in my side. I measure many things with other people. I've even found myself comparing my spiritual growth with other believers, which is so ridiculous, but it happens. I don't make myself do it, it just happens. I once was having a conversation with a guy I know who is well versed on the Bible and can explain and reveal a lot of things in scripture that I haven't been able to grasp yet, and instead of feeling happy for this guy because God has given him the ability to understand certain mysteries and things like that, I think to myself, "How come I don't know this? Shouldn't I know this? Am I still blind? What am I doing wrong? Should I study more? Am I studying or simply reading?" These things make me question my knowledge or lack thereof of certain things I guess I think I should know. Maybe I have some kind of complex or something I don't know. God has given me understanding on many things and I give Him the glory for that, but I don't know why I always compare myself to others, as of recently it's been primarily to brothers and sisters in Christ.

There are days when I wake up frazzled and not knowing what to do. Sometimes there are those days I don't even want to get out of bed, those days I hardly feel motivated to do anything, so I sleep late, and when I get up I feel horrible because I think to myself, "You wasted half the day again." I wonder to myself if I'm lazy or what. But when I wake up it's like a race for time trying to get things done before the day really is gone. Because of all this frenzy going on within me, even the slightest thing aggravates me. A spoon or fork slipping out of my hand, something as simple as trying to open something that doesn't, something not staying in place where I put it, things as simple as that some days really feel like the straw that broke the camels back, and I just breakdown crying. A deep sadness for some reason always stays with me.  I try and hope whenever I go out to not run into people from my past simply so I wouldn't have to be faced with, what I find to be an invasive insufferable question, "So, what are you up to these days?" I smile awkwardly when faced with that question and then I become very uneasy, wishing I could crawl under a shell and hide and cry. It shouldn't matter what anybody thinks of me, family, friends, anyone, but it does.

I question my value, my purpose, a whole lot, too much I believe. There are days I even wonder if I'm fit to spread the Gospel, honestly, more often I don't feel worthy, but still  there are many instances where I feel compelled to do so. My conscience has been really getting to me recently to the point where it overwhelms me. I make mistakes, and trust me when I say this, after I've made a mistake no matter how minuscule it may seem to others, my attitude can shift and change how i feel for the remainder of that day. I've struggled with depression a lot in the past and I feel my insecurities have really stagnated my growth and sometimes I feel it still does. Some days I can go from being really cheerful and waking up singing hymns or whatever cheerful song comes to mind, then end up being really gloomy later.  I can't remember a week that went by recently where I didn't start crying just out of the clear blue, just crying and crying. I think all of this stems from me wondering my self worth, my purpose, wondering which direction to go in life. I get puzzled on how I am able to encourage people and can't encourage myself. I don't know why I keep coming back to this place, everytime others have encouraged me and I feel I have finally got it all worked out and I'm better, then there's a regression.

Writing used to make me feel like I had purpose, it even filled the days and made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile, it doesn't anymore. I never used to really get super excited to write anything but whenever I did, I liked it while I was doing it, but now I don't feel much about it. I've been praying to God about removing out of me the desire to do things that aren't according to His will, to remove from me the propensity to be drawn to worthless things, maybe this is it, the desire to be a writer or whatever. It doesn't bother me, because even when I wrote and I feel like I was doing something of purpose, kind of like waking up to a career or something, it really didn't truly make me happy. I liked it, but I didn't feel truly happy or anything, most days I wondered why even bother nobody will read it anyway. 

I'm getting older, even though I'm still very young, but I have always been a person, at least, my family thought should "be somebody" and that pressure is always in the back of my mind, so much it makes me really sad sometimes, because I'm not what anybody expected I would be. I didn't go to college and later have some really impressive career, no, my life is simple, and if measured to the world's standard of success it's not anything to write home about. I have no life achievements that can be captured and shared on Instagram or twitter. I'm not brimming over with quirky little quips, memorable anecdotes or self made platitudes that will get a hundred likes on Facebook or a 100 retweets on twitter. I'm introverted most of the time. I don't have dreams or aspirations, but everytime I turn around the world is telling me I should, and also I should chase them down and accomplish them all before I die. I don't have a five year plan, or even a five minute one. I know for most this might be disgraceful or even something people might conclude as the reason for the sadness I mentioned earlier, but it's not, rest assured, it's not. 

No, my family  probably won't ever be impressed or feel proud of me and brag to people about my accomplishments in this life, but I'm starting to feel that it's okay, even writing that releases some of the pressure, kind of like that pounding pressure that has your tooth throbbing when you know you need to pay the dentist a visit, it's like that horrible feeling slowly subsiding.  I have prayed to God to remove my heart and mind off of worldly things and to place it in heaven. So, when those moments come when I feel cheerful or happy, it's not because I have a lot of money in the bank, because I most certainly do not. It's not because I have really  prestigious affluent friends or a fancy wardrobe or drive an impressive car, because I don't. It's because I found out what truly matters in life, it's that my soul prospers, even if my finances don't, that the inward man be renewed although the outward man perishes, that there is indeed richness in contentment and a person can indeed be content even if what they and many others had initially expected of their lives doesn't come to fruition. Most importantly, that I, like my Savior Jesus Christ, overcome this world. I know I will suffer in this life, we as Christians were marked for a bit of suffering 2 Timothy 3:12, and perhaps my deep sadness may simply be hinged on something that isn't really bad but a kind of cleansing of some sort. Perhaps me questioning my path in life is a product of a renewed mind, because in my mind before I was certain which path in life I wanted to take, and God wasn't on it. Perhaps, realizing that in order to truly find my life in Christ I will have to lose the one created by my flesh, the one I had been conditioned from childhood to believe is the correct, perfect, and  acceptable way for ones life to be. My understanding thus far and peace I have found in Christ Jesus is sufficient and for now that's all that matters to me, this is what I must remind myself whenever I start the whole comparing myself to others thing. It's okay to take a step off the beaten path. The truth is, we are not supposed to feel fulfilled and complete with anything this world has to offer. I think it's important that we examine by what standard we measure success, God's or this world's, because experiencing true joy and ultimately where we spend eternity depends on it.