Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Defective Christian in a Purple Chair

Published on Converge Magazine

I sat in her big purple chair. It was a Monday afternoon in 2011, and I would rather have been anywhere else. I looked down at my dangling feet.

This stupid chair. As if people didn’t remind me enough about my height, now this chair is laughing at me. I feel so small. Can I leave now?

“Angel?”

“Sorry, what was your question?”

“You were telling me about your flash backs.”

“Yeah. Sometimes I have flash backs, and sometimes I feel panicked for no reason.”

I feel like I’m going to puke. It’s only my first counseling session, and I’m told I have PTSD and anxiety. Awesome. I guess I already knew, but now it’s real.

I hate that big purple chair.

I eventually got past my denial, but then I had to get past the Christians, which was going to be difficult, seeing as I was a Christian, attending a Christian university.

I am now about to finish my last year of undergrad, and I still have anxiety.

I am a 21-year-old who loves Jesus, but my subculture often makes me feel like my emotions are not valid, that I am less of a Christian for feeling them. I pray every day, sometimes about my anxiety, sometimes not. I know I didn’t always feel like this, but I can’t remember when that was. The thing is, I’m content knowing my anxiety may never fully disappear.

I refuse to believe the lie that “If you just have enough faith,” anxiety will be no longer. I am not saying God cannot heal, but sometimes He chooses not to. He chooses not to because He’s God, and He knows what He’s doing.

I have anxiety, but God still shows me how to rely on Him. I have anxiety, but His grace is sufficient. I have anxiety, but it is not my identity.

And when it feels as though my heart is punching my chest, the last thing I want to hear is, “Let go, and let God.” I didn’t always mind this phrase, but after the abuse Christians have put it through, I can’t bear to hear or see it. It’s one of the go-to responses we give someone when we don’t know what to say. 

It’s not just this phrase — there are plenty of others like it. A simple response, such as, “I don’t know what to say, but I am here, and I am listening,” would be enough — and it would be honest.

Honesty is what that purple chair taught me. Yes, talking to a complete stranger about the pieces of my life that were dipped in darkness was draining. Yes, admitting my stress hindered my daily life was terrifying.

But, when I think back to that purple chair I hear Christ’s words, “It is finished.” The days of pretending I am just prone to stress and repeating “I’m fine” are finished. I can be transparent and know Christ takes me as I am.

God hears us through our melancholy prayers and He does not ask us to apologize for them. So why do we make each other feel like He does?

I know some days are going to be bad. I know some days I’ll have anxiety for most of the day. Those are the days I thank God for that stupid purple chair. 

2 comments:

  1. this is SO good! Love it girl! Sometimes God uses our imperfections as a way for us to rely more on Him!

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