Another song blog! I hope you’ve gone to the restroom because this one is a loooong one!
Since 2011 (six years ago!), I’ve made a conscious effort to journal. But lately, it’s become more habitual and, at times, in a desperate effort to stay sane. To process everything in my mind.
As the years progressed, I filled my journal with more and more hate. More and more pain. Lies. And while I didn’t know it in 2012, those armies of hate would affect me more than a couple sobbing nights.
In 2015, I had some scary episodes where I would be so mad and angry and full of hate that I lost control. I harmed myself, other people, and destroyed the room I was in. I screamed, I sobbed, and I did my best to deliver pain. Because I was surrounded by people who wanted to help, and I felt so unworthy of any love I thought I would show them how wrong they were in loving me. At one point, I tried to run away. It didn’t work.
Once those episodes “died down”, so to speak, I continued to be bombarded by hate 24/7. I continued to deflect compliments. Even if I had done something completely on my own, I would somehow give someone — often God — all the credit. I thought I was humble. Turns out it was a facade I didn’t understand. I was trying to be the judge of everything in my life because I deemed God not “good enough”. Because He loved me. I knew it. I just didn’t like it. After all, how could an all-knowing God love me? He saw everything, every wrong part of me. How could He still love me?
By 2016, I was in a dangerous place, mentally and spiritually. I had replaced God with myself, and whenever anyone came to me for help, I tried to help them out of my own knowledge. Out of what I knew to be true. Sure, what I said was true and good, but I took it upon myself to fix their problems. I prayed for them, but I never prayed for myself. I was the guy with the plank in my eye, giving concussions to everyone with specks.
This mindset, the lies, and all the hate — it consumed me. But I didn’t realize it. I thought I was totally fine.
By the end of that summer, I was self-harming every time the lies overwhelmed me…. which was often. At one point, I hurt myself so much that I momentarily lost consciousness, and God brought me to His perspective. He let me see the broken girl on the ground, and He showed me His love for that girl. Kind of like in S6 of Once Upon a Time, when Regina merged her heart with the Evil Queen’s, and suddenly the Evil Queen felt love. I suddenly realized I was hurting God’s precious girl, and even though I felt like I deserved it, GOD was hurt by me hurting myself.
I thought, after that, I was “cured”. Haha, NOPE. I’ve found the most dangerous times of life is when we assume we’ll never struggle with something again and let down our guard, thinking we have to be totally free of hard circumstances to enjoy life. And so, it makes sense that I fell HARD.
That first semester, I slowly lost vivacity. My bright excitement for life turned into apathy. I stopped caring about my intolerances and purposefully ate foods that would tear my digestion apart. I stopped caring about my health and stopped taking my medicine, which is kind of essential for my body to function. I stopped caring about me as a person, and so I stopped buckling. I would purposefully push myself harder in runs and in volleyball so I’d feel terrible. I considered suicide, but I knew if I died, I’d go to Heaven and that would be too good for me. So I continued to live on Earth.
Come December, and I was done with school for the semester. I was home and able to think. And so I was overwhelmed. I painted most hours of the day and night. I got maybe four hours of sleep at a time, and I stayed out in our freezing garage for six to eight hours at a time. I ignored the fact I had bronchitis and stayed longer to work on painting in hopes of destroying my body further. I spent hours tearing myself apart over the smallest faults in my paintings. I continued to see myself as someone who deserved a fate worse than death, a fate to be eternally punished. I wished I could undo my salvation because then I could go to hell, where I *thought I* belonged. My brother came home from college and immediately noticed something was different.
When people received their paintings, they thanked me profusely and complimented my talent. I panicked. Literally. One person posted on Facebook the day after Christmas, that it was the greatest gift they’d ever received, and when I got the notification, I had a panic attack.
From that moment on, I struggled with anxiety. For 2017 New Year’s Resolutions, I vowed to take care of myself and document my progress. It was one month before I fell down again and struggled with anxiety. Depression. Suicidal emotions. Self-harm urges.
It’s the end of 2017 May now, and God’s done a lot of work in and on and through me. I’ve declared truth over and over and over again and actively chose Jesus over anxiety and depression. This past month has been so beautiful because, for every hard time I’ve had, I know God’s more than enough to get me through this. For every fake smile, I know He’s got thousands of really joyful ones. For every moment I don’t know truth, He’s got so much more where all I know is His love and truth.
So as I’ve gone through all this, I’ve journaled. And so I wrote this song based on some of the journal entries I had, trying to describe what it was like, because I knew I’d have to describe it someday. So here it is: Place of Light.
I can’t breathe; this fear is strangling me
I know the facts; I know right from wrong
But what’s knowledge when I can’t trust myself?
I’ve lost all hope; I’ve lost my energy
And in my pain I marked myself with shame
And I’m scared I’ll never make it past here
But when I look around
I find myself in a place of light
And this is where my raw pain meets Your undisguised love
This is where my weakness is transformed into Your strength
This is where every fear meets Your overwhelming peace
This is where Your hands spread wide on the cross now mark my life
I’d done so well, but now the lies seem so true
I’m back again, I’ve disappointed myself
Seems like I’ll always be in this pit
I’m overwhelmed, and break more with every lie
I can’t feel, yet I still feel everything
Doubt I’d be missed if I just disappeared
But You lead me out
And I’m here again in this place of light
And this is where every doubt is replaced with Your truth
This is where my brokenness is made beautifully whole
This is where my tearstained face rises up in joy and faith
This is where You transfigure my ashes into beauty