So we can learn to pick ourselves up. – Alfred from the Batman Movies
This quote basically sums up this past weekend and past few days. I have really been struggling here in Chicago and fighting with God and what he has planned for me the rest of this summer. As I am getting more hours at work, I am feeling more and more worn out and discouraged about being able to build community here with other students on mission. Looking back, I’ve already been here for 5 weeks, and, although I have met some wonderfully awesome people, I don’t feel as though I have the connection and relationship with them that makes me comfortable. Looking forward I see less and less free time that I will be able to dedicate to making the strong friendships I desire. And then I started to think to myself, “I am only going to see these people for another 5 weeks and then it won’t matter what type of friendship we had on mission”. And I started to get complacent with my relationships. This began my fall.
Starting Sunday, I removed myself from hanging out with others and really didn’t want to talk to anyone or spend time with anyone. I felt really discouraged that I was not off work at all the coming week except for the day I needed off for campus. I knew that with my work schedule I would be exhausted all week and this made me want to see people even less. Some people started to figure out I wasn’t doing well and asked me about it, to which I replied I didn’t want to talk. Finally I began to open up and talk about what I was feeling but really didn’t want to spend any time talking with anyone about why I was feeling the way I was or what made me feel like this. I knew I was spiraling downwards but I didn’t care. I started fighting with God and questioning why he was giving me more than I could handle. I felt bitterness towards God and didn’t want to pray or ask for help. But then things started to look up.
After hitting pretty low, I decided that instead of playing Fishbowl Tuesday night with all the students from mission, I would go on a walk with one of my roommates and another friend of mine and just spend the night talking and trying to figure out how I can begin to pray for strength to pick myself back up. By far, that has been my favorite night of mission. It was such a small group that I really began to feel comfortable to open up with them and how I felt about my relationship with other people on mission. By the end of the night I felt like I could finally stand and look up at the steep slope I had just slid down. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to climb up but at least now my eyes were fixed on the climb and not the fall.
The next night I spent Night with the Lord in the Library near the Lofts. I was not sure what the night was going to hold as I still wasn’t too excited to be spending time with someone whom I had just spent days being bitter with. I started by journaling about the past couple nights and about the struggles I was having with God. I decided that I was not yet fully comfortable to trust God to work in me, so I moved on to a book I had bought called A Praying Life. It was a recommendation from my discipler from the first 5 weeks. I thought maybe this would help me begin to pray again. I had not opened it yet so I began with the Table of Contents and was surprised to see a section called “Learning to Trust Again”. I had just written that I didn’t feel I could trust God in my journal so I then got excited to start reading. I did not get to that section of the book but after the section I got through last night I am excited to continue reading and to make the climb back towards God.
I am still struggling and slowly pulling myself back up, and I know it is going to be hard. But from the conversations the past couple days, I am definitely more open to talking and spending time with others, just not in large groups yet. I am thankful for my roommates, my action group, and friends who have made me open up and let them in on what I have been dealing with because I really fought hard with them at the beginning. No matter how many times I fall in life, I don’t think I will ever master the art of picking myself back up. But it is something I know I will continue to work at and learn from.