Do you ever feel like you have left the best of you behind? That, in all of your running around trying to accomplish something or just get by, that some part of you, the best part of you, fell off somewhere? I feel that way often when I check-in to work, when I login online, when I put my car in drive. I can’t help but wonder what I’m doing. What am I really doing? Where am I going? Why am I going there? Who am I spinning around for?
I ask myself these questions because life for me has been a fight. For a while it was a literal fight for my life as I tried to find God in the middle of an eating disorder and sexual assault. Everything since has felt menial as I made my way through college and bad decisions left me wondering if life could truly be something beyond myself.
I spent the past year of my life in an abusive relationship. I was in a viscous cycle of insecurity, hurt, betrayal, denial, and lies. I was told my words didn’t matter. I was told my writing was pathetic. I was told no one else truly cared for me or knew me. And if they did know me, they would find a fraud. I was told I was “getting fat.” I was told my faith in God was a charade. I felt useless. I felt powerless. I felt weak. I felt small. I felt like I was willing walking myself to slaughter.
I knew better, but I believed the worst.
I can feel the weight of those dark moments, re-read them, ponder them, and STILL some days I am afraid I will go back. I fear the panic of loneliness that sweeps over me…and think twice about keeping that door closed forever more. Why? WHY?!? is the question my family and friends ask me. It’s the question I’m still trying to answer. While that answer is still in the process of revealing itself to me, one thing I know is that I’d grown numb to the calling of my First Love. He felt distant and silent… and yet, I know He still longs for me and is waiting for me to tell Him I want back in His arms. He whispers to me. And I CHOOSE life.
I feel like I’m just becoming myself again…or discovering her. I’m finding God’s grace and glorious love never fail to catch me in my stubbornness. Some days it feels like I tread forward with my head underwater but I am fighting for air again. Recently I experienced a glimpse of life, True life. It was like catching the scent of something that reminds you of someone you used to know. The weekend for me was undeniably GOD, and Hope, hope still flickers like candlelight in the midst of darkness.
I’d grown weary of looking for blessing. I’d grown tired of trying and failing to be better, to live like I mattered. I felt like the best of me was behind me. I’d missed it. My potential squandered and broken, I was used goods. What an efficient lie I believed! It shut me down. It made me go silent. And it tortured my soul. The pain was more real than God. But when I just stopped…when I took a moment to reflect on all the beautiful places I could still find, I found Him. Waiting for me. Even when I’m angry and desperate and my sobs can’t even find sound anymore.
Life, MY LIFE matters. YOUR LIFE MATTERS. I KNOW those words can feel full of self-righteousness and self-importance and just empty. But they are not empty words. YOU matter. I say that as a broken, wounded, and limping woman. Some of life is a means to an end, yes. Some of life is going to be spent working to pay bills, and time is going to be spent indulging in the usual menial errands. But I’ve learned that’s okay. What counts is where we choose to take the risk and be brave. What counts are the areas we choose to have courage. I’ve seen that the moments we give Truth & the most vulnerable parts of ourselves far outweigh the day-to-day. Those moments live in & impact eternity. Life is where we choose to accept Truth. Where is there blessing you are not accepting? Where is there goodness you are choosing to overlook? Where are you living small? Where do you need to take a risk?
The best part of me is still waiting to be lived. I know that Jesus, sweet and precious Jesus offers me that journey. I see Him in my amazing, wonderful, full-of-life nephew Grayson Jr. A baby still, who offers me life and joy and smile when I least expect it. He invites me to play and just be his Auntie Anna.
THAT is Jesus. Baby Jesus is waiting for you to be and find Hope this Christmas. He, Jesus, is the best of us. And He is waiting for you to find His manger no matter how old you are, where you’ve been, the bad decisions you’ve made… He is waiting. Will you seek Him?
Where can you give and receive life this Christmas? Will you join me in the incredible and delightful gift of chasing it?
Anna Hull lives in San Antonio, TX. A graduate of Schreiner University with a B.A. in Religion & Political Science, Anna is passionate about finding Jesus in every day life. She enjoys unexpected adventure, making genuine connections with others, and finding beauty in chaos.