***This is a blog post that has taken me months of wrestling with denial and apathy and confusion and discouragement to write. Seriously, I wrote sections of this back in March. When I picked this blog post back up last week I realized just how much God has changed my life and my mind since even just this spring. This post still really isn’t finished. It’s messy and ramble-y and full of me piecing together bits of the puzzling last couple months. I wanted to hold on to this post until it was perfect…but really that was just an excuse to never ever let it see the light of day. So here it is, flawed but earnest- just like me.***
Let’s talk about the dark night of the soul.
Ok, that sounds really Batman-esque, but stay with me.
I am talking about the haunting, broken, ugly, painful seasons of life. The nights, weeks, months where you are convinced you may not last the next hour because your mind won’t let you have a moment of rest. The nauseating anxiety that constantly gnaws at your every nerve. The seconds where your body is either unable to stay still without panic or so heavy you can’t move at all. The bitter sleeplessness or nightmares or torrent of thoughts. The times when you cry out to the Lord but He hasn’t answered yet.
The Psalm 77: 1-4 days.
“I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints.
You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.”
Been there? Me too. These are the dark nights of the soul.
Every dark night starts with a morning, right? Hours that inevitably lead up to the dark night. Let’s back up for a bit and look at how I fell down that rabbit hole so hopefully you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
I wrote this statement on my phone back in March and have been chewing on it ever since.
“This has been burning in my chest for a while now so here it goes: sometimes I feel like God is cheating me.”
It felt wrong to admit. Admit that sometimes I look at other people who don’t follow Christ and envy the freedom they have. They can do what they want. Say what they want. Go where they want. They aren’t shackled to “expected spiritual behavior.” They don’t feel the heavy weight of bearing the name of Jesus all the time. And, friends, sometimes it gets really heavy. In those moments of sluggishly dragging the cross on my shoulders, fighting to follow Jesus with every labored breath, it can be easy to glance over at the people quickly walking past and envy their seemingly unburdened bodies. I was starting to feel like, because I was following Jesus, I had somehow been given the raw end of the deal, been cheated.
Out of fun. Out of adventure. Out of freedom. Out of living “fully.” Out of opportunity.
Before I even realized it, I was storing massive bitterness in my heart. I was mad at God for making me obey. For limiting what I could do in my life. For requiring so much of me. For my heart breaking while I watched other people get whatever they wanted by living the way they wanted. I was fostering the beginning of some dark nights.
Are you feeling heavy too?
I have some good news. God isn’t cheating you. He’s saving you.
Continue reading “The Dark Night of the Soul”