How do I describe the state that I’ve slowly devolved into the past four months?
Is it depression? Maybe in some ways. Apathy? Absolutely.
My personality type is an INFP. I have a deep well of emotion that lies beneath the surface…In my case this well is so deep that even I am out of touch with it. It makes it really hard for me to know what sets off my bad escapist tendencies. Basically I begin to go through the motions without connecting with God, stop working out, then I start watching more and more netflix, get lost in a video game or book, which leads to indulgence both in eating and masturbation, then my finances suffer and next thing I know I’m miserable, broke, and my clothes don’t fit. But miserable mostly because even knowing I’m being stupid and so far from the person I want to be, I still just don’t care. Zero passion. No, less than that. Negative passion. Is there a word for that? Is there such a thing? It’s like I’m just a black hole of passion only a black hole seems too intense because black holes are such passionately crushing things and I have no passion. I feel only little ripply surface emotions. Brief, insubstantial things. I still function, just not well. And I know what to do. Just small adjustments.
Connect with God, even if it’s just going through the motions for a while. Go to the gym. Go a day without refined sugar. So simple and yet I don’t because even though I know I’m being stupid I JUST DON’T CARE.
My heart is atrophying, calcifying…petrifying. Devolving into it’s stone-state. Realizing this I seek to find the root of the problem, the moment my bad habits began to resurface. I can’t. I don’t know. So instead I stop my avoidance tendencies and while at a women’s retreat this past weekend and tell Bushbaby and our friend AwesomeSauce about my rut and my not-caring.
“Yeah, you’ve been in a rut for a while,” says Bushbaby.
“Trust me, I know that I’ve been in a rut.”
“I’ve known it for a long time and have been waiting for you to say something.”
“I knew that you knew.”
It’s so great having friends who know you that well, but sometimes it’s hard because you know that they know you are avoiding and you know that they are letting you avoid and they know that you know and it makes you feel dumber for avoiding…but overall it’s nice.
I try to connect. To truly focus. To feel something. To care. But sometimes it takes more than overlooking a beautiful pasture in the mountains in the fall and trying to make yourself do what you haven’t done in months.
“Why am I like this? You can talk to me, I’m listening.” Just the wind bearing the sound of leaves and insects in the trees. So after trying to be still for a while I put on some music. This was the song I was led to.
Father, have mercy
I know that I have gone astray
When I saw my reflection
It was a stranger beneath my face
That is truly what I’m experiencing. While in high school God began to really transform me. He melted my heart of stone with His love. I went from not caring to having a soft and loving heart. I went from not feeling much to acutely experiencing emotion. I didn’t become emotional. Not frothy, frittery emotions that come and go. Not the kind of feelings that burn hot and quick, cause you to say or do something in the moment. No. The deep stuff. Love and compassion and righteous anger…the kind of emotions that motivate you to live each moment of your life with purpose. Passion, really. God melted my stone heart with His love and I found that I cared.
And now here I am again with no passion and a heart that is cold and hard as stone. That stone heart isn’t me. It’s not the real me. It’s the old me. A stranger. Running away from the Father like the prodigal has turned me into a stranger. I know I don’t want that. I know that’s not who I am.
I remember my favorite moment of experiencing God and the closeness I felt with Him. It’s a memory that I will treasure forever and always look to when doubt creeps up or I need perspective. A precursor to that instance was someone telling me that Christ wanted me to experience His love in a deeper way. I understood His love as my heavenly Father, as a little girl needs the approval of her daddy. But now He wanted me to experience His love as a grown woman. A deep intimate romance. The word picture this person used was to let Him lead me to the dance-floor. After that I experienced the presence of God like never before in what was the best moment of my life so far.
Now, remembering that, I look down at the Pig Slop in my hands and ask for prayer. I confess my lack of caring to my sisters in Christ. Confess right before I’m about to lead worship that I have no desire to lead worship and that I hate that I don’t want to. I want to care. I want to want God. They surround me and begin to pray. And then one of them says it:
“Jesus. You want to take her to the dance floor.”
And at the mention of His name He is suddenly there. Not the God that I know about in my head, that I’ve read about like a character in a novel. The Jesus that I know like I know Bushbaby. I know Him personally. He’s there in the words of the prayer. In reminding me of the time I felt His presence so strongly. In reminding me of His passionate, personal love for me. And that love is what finally melts through the barrier. And I cry. And then the women take up a song of praise. They praise Him for me, because I had found that I couldn’t. Their gift…God’s gift…melting, soothing, softening and the real me is able to begin to come through.
After that I can sing. After that I want to. I just needed to remember who I’m singing to. Not the God that I know about. The God that I know.
Today I care enough to take the steps I know to take. I spent time with Him. I went to the gym. I ate good food. None of these things are to gain His favor or make myself “right” in any way. I’ve already got His favor. But now that I care I want to keep caring. Keep growing and thriving. I went six or seven months without masturbating. Walking in the freedom He gave me was wonderful. It’s worth fighting for. Now I care to fight anew. Now I care to write again.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8) My verse for the year. A pure heart is a heart of flesh. A heart that beats with the warmth of living. Not some cold, hard, dead thing.
If you are struggling with masturbation, lust, or even simply loneliness and bitterness, please know that change begins in the heart. Jesus cares much more that you have a warm, living heart of flesh than he does that you behave properly. Outward behavior is just a symptom of the state of your heart. Only Christ can truly give our dead hearts life. And he wants to. He holds out His hand and invites you to experience His love for you.