I haven’t talked about it much (on this blog or to many people), but for the past 6 or 7 months I’ve been in professional counseling, primarily for anxiety (and it’s various outward expressions). There is a constant tension and busyness inside me that keeps me from living so many aspects of life. The counseling has been challenging, amazing, and painfully slow in the growth it has been producing in me.
But growth it has produced.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take a week off from the blog, somewhat as an experiment. That week, I experienced more freedom from the various expressions of anxiety in my life than I had for years. I began to experience once again that communion with Christ I’ve written about wanting before. I was reading his Word, praying, and serving those around me with such calm and freedom.
I then thought to myself, “Wow. That was amazing! Now, I can go back to blogging.” I came back to the blog all last week, and all the anxiety came rushing back with it.
As one would expect, this frustrated me a lot. I love blogging. I’m a communicator at heart, and this blog has been an outlet to do what I believe God has made me to do. It has refined my thought, has helped me to engage with others, and has genuinely helped many, many people (I get random emails saying as much with some regularity).
But last week, I sat paralyzed in the grips of the many coping mechanisms I turn to for the anxiety. And as I did, the words of one of my heroes came to mind from an amazing sermon he preached a long while ago:
“Here’s the Christian life, as simply as I can put it: find those things that stir your affections for Christ, and fill your life with them; find those things that rob your affections for Christ and leave them at any cost.”
Good lord, it hurts so bad to admit this, but this blog has subtly, somewhere along the line, become something that has robbed me of those affections rather than stirred them. And in the process, it has become a far greater source of anxiety and frustration than growth and peace.
Part of this is physiological. Ever since I started a daily blogging schedule, I would end up staying up until 3 or 4am most nights just to write the posts. This would then cause me to sleep in, unable to quiet myself in the morning, get a good breakfast in, nor start my day in a particularly life-giving way.
But mostly, I have realized that this blog has become an expression of my own self-obsession. The constant checking of visitation stats, the planning of posts/tweets/status updates days in advance to maximize readership, and the depression that would hit if I didn’t get a certain number of hits all testify to the reality that this blog has become more about me making a Kingdom (or a “brand”) for myself than it has been about serving others.
And so, I have to take a break from this thing. And I hate it. People in my immediate community have just started reading this blog, enjoying it, and talking to me about it. And it has felt great. Too great. I have to (in a sense) fast from this blog in order to approach it rightly (if ever). For such a seemingly small thing, this still feels like a death of sorts, which means it’s probably the right thing to do.
For the month of June, then (at least), I won’t be blogging regularly. That doesn’t necessarily mean that nothing will be going on here. I will write if the moment presents itself (rather than making the time for it); and I will post pictures, links, snippets, reblogs, or any other random thing that’s easy to post (mainly from my phone).
But either way, I can not and will not be enslaved to this thing.
In conclusion, thinking about my issues here reminded me of a journal entry I wrote five years ago. I had just been broken up with the night before and was now sitting in the first-ever service of a church I was to help plant. I and a friend I sort of knew were the first to walk in to the little chapel. I sat on one side. He sat on the other.
As people came in, all of the people I knew sat on the other side where he was. By the time the service started, no one I knew was on my side of the room, and no one at all was even sitting in my entire row, much less next to me. (Once again, this was the day after the break-up.)
I was longing for human contact and connection, supposedly needing someone to be close to me. I opened up my journal and wrote this prayer. It spoke to me then, and speaks to me now. May it be my prayer for this time as well.
This is the way You work, I suppose. You will force me to You. You will let me feel isolated and disconnected that I may feel drawn and connected to You and You alone. If my security is at all in others, it is sin. Father, I trust You, I do. I love you. I long for You. Do in me what You desire to do in this time. You’re amazing, and the work you’ve done in me these past few years has been amazing. Thank you. Thank you. I feel your warm embrace as I search the depths of my heart for your fingerprints.
Your Gospel . . . Ah! My soul takes flight at the thought of it! How I am accepted, loved, and changed by the work of Your Son. I have You and You alone and I love it! Give me no one else. I know True Love with or without someone. I love You. Thank you for all You are and all you’ve done to me and in me.
My lot is loneliness because I make people my idol. When all I want is people to surround me, You will withhold it. Not because of them, but because of me. Keep me from frustration and bitterness. I love You.
Pray for me in this time.