However, my passion can also be a bad thing. There are times where my passion for truth makes me overlook the need for mercy. Other times, like the most recent one, my passion for serving others and helping the hurting makes me forget to take care of myself too.
My whole life I have been that one that held things together. I was the strong one that everything came to with their problems. I would gladly take up my sword to defend the weak. My armor glistened with power while I hid behind it and fell apart. I convinced myself that if I hid my pain well enough then it couldn't possibly hurt me… I was very wrong.
My hidden pain turned into addiction, drove me to depression, haunted my dreams, and even caused me to have physical panic attacks that could have been very deadly. I’m much healthier now. On my journey to sobriety, I learned how to face my struggles and how to talk to other people about what was going on inside me. Then, when I started learning about grace and seeing God with this completely new outlook of Him being pleased with me it further aided in my healing.
So there I was, thinking I was healthy, strong, ready to take on anything… then this week hits. I recently lost my job pretty unfairly and I have done pretty much everything trying to find a new job with no success. So I’m living with my parents, while they support me again which already makes me stressed out because I want to take care of myself! Well, they aren't wealthy people either, and this week my dad’s truck broke down and they have no money to fix it. I couldn't help but feel like their lack of money was my fault. I stressed out about it all week which caused me to lose large amounts of sleep. My poor boyfriend has been facing some stress in his job as well and I try to do my best to be there for him and support him too.
Then comes this weekend, which consisted of plenty of ministry opportunities, they bring me joy and also provide wonderful distractions from my stress while simultaneously using lots of my energy without me really knowing how much. All of this leads up to Sunday night.
After getting only 3 hours of sleep the night before, I spent the day traveling and serving a ministry about an hour and a half from my home. That night I had to go to a meeting for yet another ministry. I had no idea how exhausted I was until I actually sat down with my very large cup of coffee. I tried desperately to focus and push the unrelenting fact of total exhaustion from my mind.
As the seconds clicked away I began to realize I had absolutely no gas left in my emotional or mental gas tanks. I had a hard time even understanding what was being said in the meeting and I frustrated everyone around me. I broke down. Tears streamed down my face and I had no way of stopping them. I just wanted to run. It was probably the worst moment ever to have a breakdown.
I hate those moments. How do I tell people I need to leave, how do I escape that moment without looking like a total jerk? How do I explain that I need to get somewhere safe because all I want to do right then is drink myself into a coma? How do you explain that to someone?
I didn't realize it but I had started to break out that armor again. Only this time it was studded with service and genuine love for others that caused me to forget about myself and not deal with the stress polluting my nights and exhaustion plaguing my days. Then came the breakdown. Where I had the armor ripped away from me revealing the shaking broken person hiding beneath it.
Then something wonderful happened! For the first time in my life, when I was exposed and vulnerable, I was taken care of. My two best friends on this planet reached in with words of love and reminders that it’s ok to fall apart sometimes. They reminded me that I don’t always have to be strong and that they are there to lean on. It was so incredibly comforting I really can’t put into words what it meant to me.
What is the point, you may ask, to this whole story? My point is this: There are hurting people in this world, some that look and act strong, but when they go home they fall apart. There is only one thing that can heal them, the one thing that healed me. It’s not about playing 20 questions to get the root of their pain, it’s not about giving them a list of things they can do to better their life, it’s just simply reaching out and loving them.
Just one wordless hug, thoughtful text, purposeful smile, or random call… that’s all it takes. To my wonderful friends who continually remind me of how truly loved I am, thank you. You will forever hold a special place and my heart. Here’s to living life to love like crazy!