I thought I was doing really well.
I was settling back into life in Georgia and feeling pretty accomplished. I found a place to live, a job, a gym, a routine. I was running, I was working, I was doing well in school, I was laughing with my friends. I was set.
All at once, it came crashing down. A series of events in a few weeks took my carefully tailored life into a tailspin. The physical pain I began to experience in my back was growing increasingly unbearable. My mind was slowly bending to its breaking point. Pain can do that to you–it can take every bit of sanity you think you hold and slowly burn it to the ground.
I kept pushing through. I kept thinking, it will get better, push through. Just push through the pain.
Body hurts? Push through! Heart hurts? Suck it up! That’s the only way I’ve ever known. Survive and push through.
It took a hefty combination of extreme physical and emotional pain to break me.
My doctor stopped himself at the door and turned back to look at me straight in the eye, “You’re feeling pain,” he said.
He shook his head firmly. He wasn’t speaking to just my ears anymore, “You are feeling pain” he said sternly.
Tears in my eyes, my shoulders fell and I looked back up at him and whispered “Yes, I feel pain.”
I’ve realized there’s something to be said about learning to own your pain, your exhaustion, your desire to stop feeling alone. Not to push it all down, run, deny it, let it make you feel less.
There’s something to be said about learning how to stay with yourself. To realize that it won’t always be this way. To wade through your mess and realize it isn’t unlovable and it doesn’t mean you’re defeated.
Don’t wait until you’re grimacing through tears and agony and a stranger is having to force you to admit it.
Admit there’s pain. Your pain doesn’t make you unsightly or worth leaving. Your pain isn’t why people left in the past (and if it was, it doesn’t mean you deserved it).
Most of us know the sounds keys jingling and of doors slamming.
We’ve memorized the sight of taillights that don’t turn to brake lights.
Most of us knowing what it is to be left.
So, the thing you need to learn is that being left doesn’t say a thing about who you are or what you’re worth.
So stop blaming yourself and thinking that you’re so bad, so scary, so worthless that no one could ever carry the kind of love it would take to stay with you.
You’re not that powerful, that you could push away something as strong as authentic love.
We all want to hear the words “you are worth staying for”,
but first you’ve got to learn how to stay with yourself. You’ve got to stop running from yourself. You’ve got to stop covering up the hurt. You’ve got to be able to unclench your jaw and say, “Yes, I feel pain.”
Learn how to stay with yourself. Get acquainted with loving yourself even through the worst of it, even when you feel entirely weak and wrecked.
Slowly, you’ll start to see that your value isn’t diminished by your weakness, by your pain.
Stay, that’s the first step. And one day you’ll look back and realize that you didn’t actually need to hear the words “you’re worth staying for” from anybody other than God and yourself.