I need to be real.
I’m wrestling with my soul today. Actually, I’ve been wrestling with my soul for a long time.
I want to give in. I want to wave that white flag. I want to run. I want to let my anxiety take over, to have its way.
This doesn’t feel right. This doesn’t feel good. In fact, the only thing I feel is fear, worry, and stress. What if I’m not doing the right thing? What if all of this conflict means that something’s not working? What if I’m over thinking everything? What if…
I can’t help but think too much. I was a child who worried about his every “next step.” I wanted to know where we were going, what we were doing, how we were going to do it, and why we were even bothering with it two months before we were ever supposed to do anything.
God forbid that I ever come down with a headache or a stomachache. Any slight pain and my mind would automatically jump to the worst case scenario. I was a literal walking WebMd. No matter what anyone told me, I was convinced that I was dying.
I say all of that to say this: I’m a walking worrier.
My issues with depression and anxiety root themselves in relationships with other people. The hard thing about this is that I’ve hardwired myself to inadvertently run, or at least long to run when conflict shows up. Why is that hard, though? Sounds normal, right?
Well, here’s the issue: It doesn’t matter who you are, where you go, what you do, or how you do it, there will always be conflict. It’s an inescapable fact. Here are a couple of other inescapable facts:
1.) Relationships are hard.
2.) You’re not always going to feel good.
3.) At the end of the day, it isn’t about you anyway.
Number 3 is a hard one for me to write because it’s easy to ask of other people but deep inside my soul, there’s a longing that says, “Yeah, it really is.” See, I know that this life isn’t about me. I have a hard time believing it, though. Why?
This world I live in constantly pervades my mind with the thinking that I need to go out and get what I can, while I can, and try to keep it as long as I can so long as it makes me happy. There is no thought of other people. It’s a dog eat dog world and I’m supposed to thrive in isolation.
This kind of thinking makes it easy for anyone to assume that conflict means failure, sorrow means avoidance, and anything shy of feeling happy means you need to run away and start over.
We all know relationships are hard. There are times when conflict arises and never seems to go away. There are seasons when you wonder if you made the right choice. There are thoughts of “What if…”
In today’s world, these thoughts are indications that you should cut your losses and move on. If someone isn’t making you feel happy then that person isn’t the right one. I mean, you know, the right person will make you feel happy all of the time with no exceptions. They will cater to your every need, make sure that you are fulfilled and satisfied in every way, and even go so far as to laying their own life down for you if the need arises.
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Well, I’m sure that you’re all thinking the same thing by now…
Don’t misunderstand me, relationships can be and should be all of the above. They have the propensity to be such things. I fully believe that if we are following God’s example of love then they will become such things. BUT…
Here’s a big but…
There are times when we find ourselves angry. “My partner didn’t do this or that…” “She forgot this…” “He said one thing but then I found out it was a lie…”
No matter how much we wish for another person to satisfy our deepest need, it can’t be done. In fact, I can guarantee you that it will never happen. I believe this simply because other people weren’t made to satisfy us. It’s not their job. It’s not their duty. It’s not their life’s “call” to be your, and my, personal “yes, man.”
God created us to worship Him and to realize that only He can provide ultimate satisfaction. Humans are imperfect. God is not. He always has our best in mind. He is the only one that we can put our trust in and never be let down. He also calls us to go against the grain of what the culture is saying around us.
Instead of looking for someone to make you happy, why don’t you look to make someone happy? Instead of looking to have your needs met, why don’t you go meet someone else’s needs?
The truth is, there are going to be times when you want to quit. In recent weeks, I’ve wanted to quit writing on multiple occasions. I’ve wanted to run from conflict. I’ve wanted to move to a new place and start over. These things will happen and I believe that it’s ok to feel them. To try and deny that they are real would be to try and deny your “human-ness.”
What I don’t think is ok is running from conflict for the sake of ease. Sure, being single is easier for anyone. Yes, quitting my writing endeavors would give me more time. I guess moving to a new place would allow me to write a new story.
Would it be worth it? Absolutely not.
Is it about my desires and my needs? Not on a firsthand priority.
In summary, I sit here today wrestling with my anxiety. Am I going to quit? Will I throw in the towel? What happens when life really gets hard? What happens when the trifling conflicts I face today become actual difficulties?
I have a choice. I can either continue giving in to my selfish desires while creating an atmosphere of quitting when things get hard or I can commit to loving anyone and everyone despite myself. Contrary to what popular belief says, my first priority is not me. Running from conflict is not healthy and it’s actually impossible.
So, no. I will not give in to my anxiety. I won’t let it have its way. My anxiety calls me to love myself more than those around me but Jesus says to love others first. My anxiety is selfish but I know the love of Jesus is not…I will not quit. I will not give in. I will put “to death” the evil desires of my heart. I will love like Jesus has called me to. It is truly the only thing that gives real freedom.
Will you excuse me? I’ve got a white flag to bury.