Today I’d like to talk with you about feeling hurt, lost, or discouraged. Those who know me, think of me as a happy person, and I am. I make it look easy, but I should tell you something.
This path is not straight; It is not simple, and it is not always well lit.
I can be going along, doing well, and feeling blessed; when a tiny obstacle can make me stumble. I allow a bill to freak me out. I worry about what someone thinks of me. I tell a lie. I make a bad decision. I allow an attitude of anger or selfishness or defeat to take over.
What happens next? The path is suddenly not so sunny. I feel alone. I am unsure about what to do. I am sad, because I feel like I have messed up the most beautiful thing in my life.
Do you feel like you have screwed up your blessings? Have you wondered away from the life you were supposed to have? Are you walking through a darkness that saps your energy and steals your joy?
“It was just one bad day! How did it get so dark here?”
I understand. I have been there. I will even be stupid enough to step out of the light on purpose!!!!!!!
I won’t pretend that I have all the answers, because I am still learning. And even though I don’t always immediately stop and remember them, here are two points that I absolutely believe to be true:
1. When I stumble, when I tell a lie, when I hurt someone’s feelings, when I get freaked out, when I do something terribly stupid… my path becomes darker, rockier, more confusing, and more overwhelming. That’s the bad news. The good news is I am still on the path. I am still on the road toward something good. I may not see or understand the route, but I am still on the path. At any moment, I can choose to take a step back in the right direction.
You may ask, “How do I do that, when I feel lost and overwhelmed?”
I may be grasping in the dark, but I can reach for the things that I know have saved me before.
I pray. Even if I don’t feel it. I pray. It won’t be eloquent or pretty. It may just be a cry for help and a moment of stillness.
I read. I go to the bible or any text that has offered me hope in the past.
I go to music that has uplifted me before.
I write down my feelings and try to sort out my confusion.
I do what I know has the power to bring me back to what is true. It doesn’t really matter how I go about it, the point is I am taking a step in the right direction. It works. Soon, the good, positive things will return. I just have to believe and wait. That is where miracles happen.
2. When I take a wrong turn, it turns out that it was supposed to happen! Yeah, I know, that sounds crazy. See if this sounds familiar.
I will mentally and spiritually beat myself up when I screw up. I try to escape the guilt, so I will hide. I hide in distraction and pursuit of stupid conversations. I hide in computer games or social media. I will escape into binge-watching Netflix. I will try to cover the guilt with greasy food or alcohol. I will do anything to run from it. This process can lead to worse decisions that take me even farther away from what I know is right. I remember the pull toward those old bad habits. To run from my shame and guilt, I go farther and farther away from my source of joy.
Somewhere, in the midst of all this pain, I will ask “why is this happening?” The answer is actually pretty simple. If I were perfect, and never screwed up, what would I need God for? Sometimes, I need a real-life reminder that I don’t have it all figured out. I am still going to make mistakes. I still need to learn more lessons. I have the potential to mess things up. I still need faith in something larger than myself.
Through it all—the sunshine and the darkness—I still believe that I have a purpose. My journey contains success and stumbling.
Furthermore, on the other side of every dark detour is understanding. There is the “aha” of a lesson learned. There is wisdom. There is strength earned from struggle. There is forgiveness.
That is grace.
The lesson I keep forgetting is that I don’t have to wait. I can stop and remember that I am never alone, even in the darkness. I am always Loved even when I’m rude or stupid or scared or ashamed.
If you feel lost and alone, I understand. I have been there. I fall into dark places too. I know it’s hard to believe, but you really don’t have to stay there. You just have to take one step in the right direction. Step forward with a little bit of faith.
Love and hope will meet you.
I hope this has helped someone.
I Love you all.