When I was little, if I had to wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, I would stand on top of my bed and leap out several feet aiming for the doorway. I was certain that if I set my feet on the floor next to my bed that the ghoul that lived under there at night would reach out, grab me by the ankles and drag me under into the darkness. That was a childish (if nightmarish) fantasy. The reality is so much more frightening….
Imagine feeling so worthless that even getting dressed each day feels like a waste of time. Bathing seems foolish. Brushing your hair selfish. You go to work and do a pretty good job because it is one of the only places where you feel needed. Even if you are a worthless human being to your core, the work you do is still useful – and necessary. You slap a smile on your face and your best business casual clothes. You psyche yourself up with caffeine and you go to work and give it your best – not because you are worthwhile – but because you firmly believe that all of the people you are there to help are.
You try to avoid going out apart from work. For one, work was emotionally draining. For another, no one wants you any place else. You are the uninvited. Sometimes, with safe people, you can let your guard down and just have fun. These people are angels. Because most of the time you are sure no one wants you there. When you open your mouth to speak you are certain that everyone else is just waiting for you to shut up. You think about reaching out on social media. But if the people in your life right now don’t care about you then why would some marginal friends on Facebook care any more?
More than anything you want to curl into a ball in a dark corner. You’re afraid that if you stand, if you try to move, to be, to stretch – that your pieces will fly apart. No one else cares, no one will help lift you up and no one will help hold your pieces together. The only option is to hold it together yourself. And it feels like you’re dying, and sometimes you think that might be better, but this small voice in your head (the Holy Spirit?) says that you’re not done yet. If nothing else you don’t want to hurt the two or three people you think might care a little bit. Even though you so want to just be done with this night, you know you can’t. You hold out for hope and for that small taste of love. So you fight. It feels like you’re fighting the hardest battle of your life, just to hold yourself together. But it doesn’t look like fighting. It looks an awful lot like sitting still and being lazy.
The nights are the worst. You are exhausted, you have been exhausted all day, but as soon as your head hits the pillow the monsters begin to crawl out from under your bed to play games with your mind, with your heart and keep you awake – knowing that your exhaustion will make it that much harder for you to fight them off tomorrow.
There is a monster that shows up to point out all of the mistakes you have made. There is a monster that loves to remind you of every cruel word that anyone ever said to you. (“You run like a fat girl.” “Thunder thighs.” “She made the whole gym shake.” “Look she’s so fat she can’t even feel it.”). Another reminds you of every cruel thing anyone ever did you. All the parties you weren’t invited to. All the terrible things said behind your back. The rejection, always the rejection. They come in with their monster claws and rip open all of those old wounds.
The meanest monster of all likes to show up and tell you about all the reasons no one loves you. You’re fat. You’re too opinionated. You’re ugly. You’re not friendly enough. You think too much. You’re a narcissist. You’re too loud. You’re too smart. You’re not smart enough. Your nose is too big. You laugh too loud. You aren’t funny. Your body is disgusting. You’re selfish. You are socially awkward. Your mere presence makes other people uncomfortable. You are, to your very core, an aberration. You are intrinsically worthless, disgusting, and an all around horrible human being.
You pray. You try to sing out to God. It’s you and Him now. You don’t have the strength to fight, but you pray that God will fight for you. That just for tonight you can maybe get some sleep. And that just for tomorrow you can maybe get through the day. And you feel incredibly selfish to ask so much for yourself. Especially when there are things like cancer, and famine, and war, and poverty, and human trafficking in the world. “So I’ll totally understand, God, if you have more important things to tend to. And I’m sorry for asking, I just don’t know where else to turn.”
You hold on to that one line of hope that for whatever seemingly foolish reason – God loves you. Even when it feels like none of His creation does, even those who claim to know Him, He still loves you. And you know you aren’t worthy of that love – and that’s the whole point! When the monsters come you rest on that hope. You and God will show up to fight them off again tomorrow. The battle is still there to be waged, but because of that hope you will still show up to fight.