"I don't even know where to start. Except from this emptiness I feel trying to suck me into it like a black hole. I really am trying to get out. But it pulls so intensely on me. Jealously, fear, regret, failure, despair, loneliness, anger... they scream so loudly that I cannot hear...I just want to run and hide. But I can't. I am supposed to be the one who is always ok. I am supposed to be the one who just sucks it up and deals with it...I'll eventually be ok right? Sure. And so no one notices this gaping hole in my heart and spirit that is gushing blood so rapidly that I am pale and weak with emptiness."
This is an excerpt from my journal.
I share it because I bet that, even if you don't journal, somewhere in your life there is a piece of paper with similar words and similar heart hurts written all over it.
I share it because, I bet that you not only read those words, but you felt them with me.
I share it because, I bet you've never openly shared the intimate thoughts of your "dark days" either.
I share it because the "dark days" like to stay in the dark. They breed in the dark. They thrive in that murky hidden mess of my mind and yours.
All those things we know and have learned seem to seep out of our grasp when dark days descend.
Our grip on the reality of who Jesus is and who we are in Christ all of the sudden feel slippery and unsure.
And so we are tempted to take up residence there.
Worn and drained from the suffocating darkness, it feels safer and easier to stake our tent, hunker down until it all just passes us by.
But the other side doesn't come to you...you have to journey to it.
Sunsets and sunrises are beautiful...but there is a reason nobody ever takes a picture of the dark.
It is an ugly place to see.
But oh my...
it can be a lovely place to hear: to hear the voice of your Savior.
The dark amplifies what we cannot see.
So we must choose to listen to the voice that not only is calling us to the light, but IS the light.
Tuning our ear to His voice is determination to travel toward the dawn.
When the darkness wants to envelope you, remember Jesus wants to embrace you.
When the darkness wants to blind you, remember Jesus wants to bind your wounds.
When the darkness wants to silence you, remember Jesus wants to sanctify you.
When the darkness wants to isolate you, remember Jesus wants to invigorate you.
When the darkness wants to berate you, remember Jesus wants to beautify you.
When the darkness wants to frighten you, remember Jesus wants to free you.
When the darkness wants to confuse you, remember Jesus wants to comfort you.
When the darkness wants to incite you to anger, remember Jesus invites you to peace.
When the darkness wants to taunt you, remember Jesus wants to teach you.
When the darkness want to stun you, remember Jesus wants to strengthen you.
When the darkness wants to paralyze you, remember Jesus wants to promote you.
When the darkness wants to stay, remember Jesus came to SAVE!
The simple truth is,
there is always a dawn, even to the darkest nights.
But just as there is sunrise, sunset will come.
And when, not if, the dark descends, we have two choices:
Let the darkness chain you
Let Jesus change you.
I don't know about you, but I am not going to sit down in it.
I am not going to make this my permanent address.
I am walking through.
And if I must walk through it, I don't want to walk out the other side the same as I walked in!
So how do we move forward from this place?
Do the next thing.
Dive into the Word.
Actively exchange truth for the lies.
And one day, when you open your eyes, you'll blink wildly at that glimmer on the horizon, and you'll see a sun coming up in your soul.
You may not even recognize yourself...but you will have become so intimately familiar with Jesus, The Lover of Your Soul, that you actually are thankful for the dark days...not because you loved them, but because the most amazing thing happened there: you fell further in love with Him.
Don't allow your dark days to chain you.
Allow Jesus to change you.
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."
James 1:2-4, The Message
"Show me the right path, O lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you."
Psalms 25:4, 5 NLT