when my heart, my life, are overwhelmed… i write. Because nothing else calms me quite like words do. My words are probably rambly and scattered, because that’s the current status of my brain.
I just got back from camp counseling at Impact on Saturday, and after catching up on the lack of sleep (or good sleep, I should say), I’ve truly just felt out of sorts. My anxiety was for the most part at bay while at Impact (besides some circumstantial events that caused me to be on high alert), but now that I’m back home, in my old usual rhythms… my anxiety is infinitely more amped than it has been in recent weeks.
I physically feel horrible. (I was up every hour on the hour last night because I could not sleep!). I mentally feel like my head is spinning. Spiritually I haven’t even begun to unpack all I learned and gained from the week’s events.
I was in my element for a solid ten days. Around community that loved me fully, that loved Him fully, that wanted to love and mentor kids and each other alike. I loved it. Even when it was exhausting. It gave me the opportunity to pour myself out and be filled at the same time; it gave me the chance to mentor and share my love and life with others-something that I hadn’t been able to do in awhile. Being there surrounded by so many of my kind of people gave me some clarity and focus on things I’d been wanting/needing to work through: I remember sitting there multiple times, talking to my girls or sitting in worship dancing like fools and the words, “i love this” kept popping into my head. I love this.
I love being with teenagers. I love helping them know and love God better. I love helping them find their story by sharing my own. I love being a part of a ministry that helps others find and know Jesus like it did for me.
I have no idea what this means for me and my future whatsoever, but I know that it didn’t keep coming up for naught. There has to be a reason behind it, right?
Anyway, ending my digression for what’s at hand: ever since leaving, and coming home, I’ve been just plain off. I feel shaky and sickly and just plain miserable physically; mentally I feel like everything is going wrong and nothing is right. Emotionally I’m homesick for a week I never expected to have such an impact (no pun intended) on me, and feel plain rung out. Drained.
Coming back to my normal has sucked. After being surrounded by people for 10 days, I’m back to the quiet. I’m back to the lonely. I’m back to the boring. I’m back to the exhausting drama that is living at home.
Coming home to a place that isn’t all that full of Jesus and full with mostly silence and drama was a brutal crash to reality. It’s a crash that I should have prepared for but wasn’t expecting to be so hard… and yet, I know myself: everything is hard for me to return home from. Everything.
I was surrounded by Him and His people and now I’m home surrounded by nothing. And I want nothing more than to be surrounded by Him and his people again.
Today as I was struggling, I felt a nudge. A thought popped in my head from nowhere.
I’m here, too. I can surround you here.
Yeah, it’s not like being at Impact, surrounded by people like me that love nothing more than to praise his name and learn more about him. It’s not like building relationships and making memories in the dorms like it was there. Being home isn’t like being at Lipscomb or being at church or with mission trip friends. It’s just not.
But it doesn’t mean God can’t find me here. It doesn’t mean God isn’t already here with me. I just have to step out of the muck and and take a deep breath. When I stop and breathe, I pay attention. And I feel myself slowly sinking back into the rhythms of grace instead of the rhythms of my chaotic life, and I feel a little bit more like who He’s made me to be instead of an anxious hot mess.
Last night, my friend Patrick said something that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around:
everywhere we are, God is there.
He’s not just at Impact, though it was easier for me to feel his presence when I’m surrounded by community that loves him and his people like I do. He’s not just at church, or in the sunrise or the stars I love so much. He’s everywhere. And He’s in me. He’s with me. I cannot go anywhere without Him being with me.
No matter where I go or where I’ve been: God is there. He’s in my anxious night and the panic attack that has been on the cusp of overflowing today. He’s in my fears and worries and struggles. He’s in my mountaintops and victories and joys, and he’s in my sorrows and sadness, too.
He’s not just here or there. He’s everywhere I am. I can’t get that out of my mind.
No matter where my anxious thoughts or sadness take me, he is there. And He can surround me in the midst of them, even if i don’t feel it quite like I did last week.
In the midst of writing this long ramble of a post, this song we sang in worship last night (and a few times during Impact as well) kept bubbling up in me, so I stopped and did something I never do at home: I worshiped out loud. I sang loudly, hands in the air and all.
And I cannot hear Your voice
I hold on to what is true
Though I cannot see
And the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith
I will believe
Of all that You’ve done
And the life I have
Because of Your son
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours
Lord I’m forever Yours
Mountains high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours
I am forever Yours