Recently, I’ve felt the sneaking pain of depression creeping back into my life. For the first time in months, I’ve found myself wondering if anyone cares about or even sees me. The headlines and trending topics have led me to question whether anyone cares enough to see anyone else. In the ache of my loneliness, anxiety turned the volume up on lies, blaring them on repeat and sending me on a steep downward spiral of shame.
A free sermon on shame: it often shows up for no good reason at all. You can try to combat it by doing the right thing all day long, but it will still crash the party. Shame is not a picky eater. It will devour anything you feed it — your relationships, your body, your creativity, your faith, your energy, your peace. If you want to kill shame, you have to starve it. You have to be absolutely unrelenting in your refusal to let it eat. This is something that I am still in the thick of learning, and I’ve never learned anything the easy way.
My quiet time looks a bit different lately, and by that, I mean to say that I’m actually making an honest effort to have one. Right now, I’m camped out in Genesis with She Reads Truth. Because God is good and knows that I am thick headed, the stories have shown up in multiple places. On Wednesday, I watched a sermon about Abraham with a bunch of skinny teenagers. Andy Stanley pointed out a tiny verse, tucked away in the depths of chapter fifteen. Abraham had already been called out of his homeland and had just been promised the seemingly impossible. I’m sure he was probably lonely, and he certainly had questions — but Abram believed the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness (v. 15).
Let’s be real: believing in God requires next to nothing of me. It barely even has any effect on my life. Taking him at his word, though, is a different thing entirely.
I was knee deep and sinking deeper into my own aching loneliness when this truth showed up like a neon sign on a desolate highway. God had isolated Abraham because he was about to do something revolutionary in the world. Perhaps he wants to do something revolutionary in my heart in the moments when I feel lonely and left out. Perhaps he wants to get me alone because he has things to say to me.
My friend Brooklyn messaged me today to see how I’m doing. I told her that yeah, I feel like I’m roughing it in the woods lately, but that my perspective has shifted. Rather than whining (which I still do sometimes), rather than asking why me, I’ve started to ask God what it is he wants to teach me. Instead of praying for the cup to be passed, I’m praying for increased sensitivity to his voice. I can sense that the fog is lifting, because for the first time, I’m able to see how some of the pieces fit.
He really is a good, good Father. He can be trusted, because his ways are always perfect. Even when I want to hide, there’s nowhere I could run except into him. He feeds me on the manna mystery and on his word, and I am hungry for more.
And he always gives more.