“I get excited when I think about what God must have in store for you after so many setbacks and nos. It must be really, really good.”

The last two weeks have been brutal in some regards. I found a job that literally met everything I wrote down in my journal: full-time, decent pay, benefits, stays at work, and allows me to write. I interviewed for the job. Long story short: I didn’t get it.

I also didn’t get a chance to interview for my dream job that I applied for a few weeks ago. On the same day.

In the week surrounding those setbacks, I also received sixteen rejections on my first novel. I’m up to 41 now. It’s sunk in that this one probably will never see the light of day. There’s still a fool’s hope that maybe it has a chance, but reality has a way of being a friendly reminder that a fool’s hope works better in Gondor than it ever did in Tennessee.

In other ways, the last two weeks have been quite good and beautiful. Three wonderful people stepped in and helped me complete a landscaping project that I’ve been working on for literally months all because they wanted to be a blessing, to me and Mom. A small reminder that time invested in others never goes awry. A small reminder that even when you don’t ask for help, help comes.

Another friend is buying me new workout shoes and clothes—fingers crossed for some amazing sales at the Nike outlet this (tax-free!) weekend. My soles are falling apart on my shoes and my clothes don’t exactly fit anymore. She succinctly put it that you can’t focus on the goals when you’re worried about the little things.

None of my clothes really fit right, anymore. My body has changed that much. It’s daunting, knowing that everything fits differently. But it’s also really exciting. It’s the only change I’ve got to hold on to.

I’m getting pretty in shape. I’m seeing gains in muscle definition. Sometimes there’s even the hint of a two-pack in the right lighting. I’m enjoying lifting—something that I’ve never enjoyed in the past. I am striving harder and harder to make cardio gains including upping intensity in spin class and lap swimming. I may not meet my 150 miles of swimming this year, but I’m around 25 miles and it’s fun again.

Novel #2 is close to pouring out of me. And it’s really fun to write, which is a completely new experience from the last one where I knew I had to write the story I was telling, but didn’t particularly enjoy the process. I also think it’s pretty good.

Some days I even think the depression is gone. It’s not—not at all, really—but it’s inhabiting a different circle of emotions and feelings. And even that feels like progress. I don’t know. It’s all so confusing.

But the frustration remains. Friends are buying houses. Friends are getting married. Friends are having kids. Friends are traveling the world. Friends are getting published. Friends can go shop for new clothes that fit. Comparison is the thief of joy, but I don’t exactly find joy in the lack. In the waiting. In the need.

Then again, I don’t know that I’ve found consistent joy in anything. That’s the weight of carrying so many expectations for yourself, I guess. That’s the weight of depression. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt happy. If this whole time period is about learning contentedness, happiness, or joy, I don’t understand how the lesson equates to the experience.

I’m not excited about my future because, quite frankly, I can’t picture a good one right now. But it’s nice to know that some people still believe and hold the hope for me. I can’t even look forward to tomorrow, because I don’t know that I’ll ever make it past today. That’s the immediacy of poverty.

But somehow, it’s also a very Biblical way to live. As Cities Burn has that lyric, “But what good is the whole world when I promise no tomorrow. I only promise that your tomorrows will never take you past My palm.” This is the place I’m supposed to be as a believer. How comforting. How terrifying. God provides. That thought, that expectation, that hope, that knowledge should keep the panic and anxiety at bay.

But it doesn’t. I’m failing myself, but I’m not failing God. The second should put me into such a state of peace. But the first, that idolatrous first, reminds me of all the lists, desires, dreams, hopes, and goals I’m nowhere near. I have no idea how to extend grace to myself. To let myself drop expectations. To learn that I am enough, on my own with nothing to show for myself.

I sat down to write about Chester Bennington committing suicide and this is what came out. That was such a gut punch. I cried for an hour, listening to that dark, angsty anthems from my youth. I know exactly what he felt as he tied that rope. But somehow, through God and His grace alone, I’ve never found myself moving into those actions.

So if God is keeping me alive, protecting me from myself and my damned brain for four years now, maybe there is something really, really good ahead. I just can’t see it. And the battle is so exhausting. I feel so alone, even though I know God is here with me at all times. My needs are met and I am alive. How could I doubt that He’s here? Why do I still feel so alone?


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