When It Feels Like You’ve Lost It All: Part 1
I toyed with the title a little bit. Went back and forth between “When It Feels Like You’ve Lost It All” and “When Everything’s Taken Away” and similar ones. It was a hard yes on the first one. Obviously… that is the published title… Anyway, this one falls into the categories of: hurt, heartache and hustle.
I remember right after the break up, I really needed to get out of town so I went to my parents house to help them with their moving process. I ended up fracturing my ankle the second day so I wasn’t much help. But on that trip something happened that shook my entire faith and realigned my heart with where it is supposed to be.
I hadn’t really ever cried out to God before the break up weekend. The first time I had ever begged and fallen on my knees in a sobbing mess was the night before we broke up. I’ll explain that in some other beast of a letter… The second time was on the way home from this trip. I had started the trek back to my home and just about halfway between my home and my parents place is my favorite spot in the entire state of Colorado to drive through. It’s a quarter mile stretch of i-70 that is caged by massive mountains. Drastic climbs usually capped with snow, I had always loved that portion of the exhausting four-hour drive. I was about to reach that spot when my mind began racing with the idea that he gets everyone. If they have to choose sides, our friends will all choose him. He is the charismatic, bubbly extrovert and I’m the stand-off-ish, timid introvert. He is the one that lives in the center of the community and I live and go to school upwards of an hour away. Even though I’ll attend all the events and pursue these people harder than ever… he still wins. I get to hit rock bottom alone.
“God, I don’t deserve to lose them all. I earned these friendships and this community and I don’t deserve to have it all taken away.”
One second I was sing-screaming along to my favorite T-Swift song then the next I’m creating all these angry feelings towards him. It went from 0–10 really fast. It stemmed from a trip I was uninvited to that week. So from the subtle uninvitation of being taken out of the group planning text to seeing him invite one of my friends in my place was that tipping point for me. I started sobbing things like “God, I don’t deserve to lose them all.” and “I earned these friendships and this community and I don’t deserve to have it all taken away.” And boy was that a huge slap in the face. I remember taking an imaginary step back and having this double-self experience. You know in tv shows when they have future person come talk to current person or they have a dream where they are having lunch with themselves? It was a little like that. Current me was the one yelling at God and future me was the one realizing and being taken back by the point that I do deserve to lose it all. None of it is mine. I was having this double dilemma — almost like a Choose Your Own Adventure and I was living out two different ones. One where I never understood it and stayed pissed, and one where I was hit in the gut by God.
You know that verse, be in the world, not of it — Romans 12:2 if you want to look it up rather than using my impeccable paraphrasing — ? It’s like I was stuck in both of those positions. In the world and of the world. And it was crazy. Maybe I’m being too repetitive but in that moment I felt like everything changed. The idea of being ready and willing to give up everything, not just what is comfy enough to give up is an easy thought. “Oh, of course I would give up my nice car to be in communion with Jesus.” We never think of the non-physical side. The friendships, the community, like worldly connection. And that is usually the hardest.
I was holding onto this anger that was fueled again and again by the idea that I earned my way and it’s not fair to have to lose them. I was holding on so tight that it was giving me rope burns. Letting go was and is still so hard. Initially, when I first let myself stop holding on, I realized that other than him and one or two others, everyone was still there. And even better, that I had a community apart from him, mostly in my church and small group ministry.
It wasn’t until five months later that I realized that I did lose them all eventually. With the exception of one… but she leaves in two weeks to travel the world for a year so essentially, yes, everyone was gone. Tonight. About 2 hours ago actually, I realized that it’s finally over. These hurt and angry feelings are done. I can’t torture myself with the awful feelings this anger assists with. I am the only one in my life who is allowed to make myself feel garbage-y. And I was tricking myself into thinking that the garbage-y parts of me were ok and maskable, even healthy.
So yea, I lost them all. And sometimes it still feels like there is no hope. That I’ll never have a community again. It was stripped away, that now I’m this awful piece of trash. It really hits hard and it feels like I’m definitely not making any progress. Then I take a step back and look at where I was five months ago… And everything changes. I have an amazing opportunity to turn this into something that is precious and quite the gift.
Stay tuned because I’m nowhere near done. Part 2 coming soon.