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Falling Face First

But I’m weak, and what’s wrong with that?
Boy, oh boy I love it when I fall for that
We, we fall for that
Wake up, we fall again
We, we fall for that
Can’t wait to fall again

 “Weak” By: AJR

I need to take a minute to talk about this. So, I think we’ve all been there. You know that moment when you do something that grips you with guilt because you know it’s wrong, but it feels good or “right” and we are too confused, too ashamed, too guilt-ridden to figure out what our next move should be.

See, we live in a day in age where it’s all about instant gratification… the opening lyrics state it perfectly:

“Boy, oh boy I love it when I fall for that
I’m weak, and what’s wrong with that?”

It’s all about the here, the now, the “only God can judge me” mentality. And to some degree, yes… this is all true. We should live in the moment, we should not worry about tomorrow, or dwell too much on the past, and at the end of the day only God can truly judge us, but what if what we are doing is slowly killing us from the inside?

This post isn’t to make anyone feel bad and I am in no position to judge, trust me. I am just going to share my struggles, to keep it real for a minute, and I hope that by sharing my story someone feels like they are not alone.

An Empty Mess

After years of running away from my childhood traumas I sometimes find myself running in circles only to end up right back where I started. Many of the mistakes I’ve made, many of the bad habits that I fall into, many of the internal struggles that I continue to fight all have to do with one thing… It’s this feeling that there’s something missing. Maybe it’s a father figure, a sense of security, the feeling of being protected, loved, and valued… To be honest, I really don’t know what’s missing, if anything at all. Maybe it’s just a feeling?

And yes, Jesus should make me feel complete, but sometimes my humanity gets the best of me and praying seems like a waste of time, reading the bible feels like a chore, going to church feels like being trapped in a never ending merry-go-round of stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down. It’s the truth. We all go through it at some point.

The Cycle

How it all starts? Loneliness.

My childhood experiences made me a fighter. I had to fight. I couldn’t back down, because if I did that meant that I would not make it out alive. It was that simple. If my father came chasing after us with a crowbar (which he did once) I had to keep running. I couldn’t stop and if I did stop it was to fight until one of us couldn’t fight anymore.

Years later this means that I don’t always know when to back down. To some it seems to be like a wonderful characteristic. It means I don’t quit. I don’t give up. It means I can finish that degree, get that promotion, win those awards, get those gains… you name it.

But, it can sure make relationships difficult. Sometimes in an argument I feel this unyielding desire to get the last word. It means sometimes I know that what I am about to say is going to hurt and the other person won’t have enough fight left in them to respond. So, yes I get the last word… but at the expense of what?

I am working on this. Trust me. I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to hurt the people that I love. People who know me intimately will tell you, “Carol is nice. She’s giving, supportive, strong, relentless…” but they may also tell you, “She can be very blunt, and stubborn, and hardheaded, and pushy.”

So, I sometimes keep to myself. I go home, workout, read a book, go for a jog, just stay to myself.

And Then The Fall…

I don’t think I am bold enough to share what my falls look like just yet. But, let’s just say it’s something that brings a lot of shame.

It’s something I don’t share with friends or family.

It’s something that drifts me further away from the people I love.

Creating this invisible bridge between me and them.

Then, I get lonelier and to feel better I run to that one thing I know makes me feel good… at least for the moment. It’s easy, it’s quick, no one knows, but it eats me away inside. The price of instant gratification.

It’s something I am not proud of. It’s something that often gets the best of me. It’s something that I can sometimes go 5 years without … and then sometimes I can’t go one day without it.

So, what do I do when I fall face first? Sooner or later I have to run back to God. While I am at my low, it’s hard to accept that he still loves me just as much as when I am at my best, but he does.

Right now, I am at a low point. I am weak and what’s wrong with that? Well, when you can’t stop something that you know is bad for you… that’s what’s wrong with that. It ruins relationships, it causes us to drift away from who we want to be, it hurts us spiritually, it sometimes causes anxiety and depression… the list continues.

Now, some people won’t relate to this. They are simply OK with some of the habits in their life, even if it’s not good for them. To those people, I am not trying to change the way they think or feel. I am simply reaching out to those, who like me, know they should stop, but can’t.

The Rise

So, how do we get back up again? Here are somethings that have helped me in the past (and currently):

  1. Pray. I know it’s hard. The first thing that happens when I fall face first is that I am too ashamed to pray. Here’s a little secret though… God is not surprised by what I am about to tell him. HE KNOWS. God was there when we fell. He saw it all. EVERYTHING. That first sip, that illicit touch, that lonely night, that internal fight that we gave into. He saw it all. So, talking to him about it will only help us. See it like a therapy session of some sort. When we pray something happens.
  2. Accountability. Find someone you trust and share your struggle with them. Ideally, this person should be spiritually strong or mature, someone you feel comfortable with and can help you pray and sort through some of those issues. It is advised that this is someone of the same gender to avoid any misunderstandings. Now, I want to warn you, sometimes you might reach out to a friend, family member, church leader, etc. and they WILL judge you. This doesn’t make them bad people. It doesn’t make you bad either. It simply means that they don’t know how to deal with your struggle. That’s OK. Don’t give up, I know God will put the right person in your path. Sometimes that in and of itself is the miracle, when a complete and total stranger ends up being your accountability partner.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The worst thing we can do is beat ourselves up about what we’ve done. We can’t take it back. What’s done is done, but you can move forward. And every step forward is one step farther away from that mistake. Even if you fall again and again. If you fall it’s because you were standing. Give yourself a break and just keep moving.
  4. Seek professional help. IT’S OK. There is no shame in seeking professional help. As Christians there’s this taboo that if we reach out to a therapist we are turning our back on God… but isn’t it worse to stay stuck in an addiction, eating disorder, depression, panic attacks, etc.? If you are diabetic you go to the doctor, he/she prescribes insulin, you take your insulin or you might go into a diabetic shock and possibly die. Suicide has become the second-leading cause of death among teenagers in the U.S. (VanOrman and Jarosz, 2016). According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and 44,193 American’s die by suicide each year. So, mental health is just as important as physical health. It too, if left unattended, can lead to death. So please, don’t feel bad about needing professional help. I have been a Christian my whole life and I have both a therapist and a psychiatrist (a story I’ll share at a different time). I still struggle, but my struggle is different now.

Hope this helps! Stay blessed 🙂

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