I have always kind of prided myself on being independent. I mean my parents might disagree for all of the times that I’ve asked for help, but I don’t like to depend on people. It’s sort of a defense mechanism. I’ve gone through my fair share of friends, so my brain is programmed to think everyone is going to get bored of me and move on anyways.
I’m not the strongest swimmer. I can make it work, but it’s absolutely exhausting for me. I stand at a short five-foot-one, so the majority of the time I can’t even touch the floor. Because of this, when I was younger, before I learned that the ocean wasn’t my place, I would go up to my shoulders and the waves would push me around, of course. That’s what they do. But one time in particular, I was out and a wave came, flipping me upside down. I hit my back on the sand, was tumbled and tossed and turned. I held my breath for as long as I could, not knowing when it would stop, and after I felt the force of the wave pass by me, I stuck my head out of the water.
I inhaled. Turned out towards to rest of the ocean, only to find another wave coming my way. This went on, trying to have enough time to get out of the water without getting pulled back in. Waiting for the in betweens, only to find out another one was coming.
As dramatic as it sounds, this is kind of what my life feels like for me sometimes. Things are smooth and good and happy, and then financial aid won’t cover my summer tuition, or I get the flu, or I don’t have any money left, or my depression is drawing me to my bed. Then things are ok for a moment. Just when I have caught my breath, another wave hits.
It’s exhausting. And being the “independent” young woman I strive to be, I don’t know how to or don’t want to ask for help. I don’t like admitting that things are tough, because often times, it’s my fault anyways. I wasn’t smart with money, I didn’t check with financial aid to make sure everything was set, etc. I don’t like admitting I’m wrong or weak. So I metaphorically put on my big girl britches and put one foot in front of the other. But it is so so tiring.
I’m at a very strange place in my faith. I’ve been here before. I don’t talk to God much, because it feels too forced. I don’t put my pride aside and pray for the things that I’ve brought upon myself, because I’m embarrassed. I don’t do things to remind myself of how loved I am.
And that’s led me to feel like there are more and more waves coming my way, and the breaths of fresh air are getting shorter.
It’s uncomfortable to admit that things feel weird. It’s uncomfortable to say that I’m tired. More than just taking a nap tired, but my soul is tired.
But why is it so hard for me to open up to the one that knows all my decisions and feelings before I do? Why is it that I’m skeptical that God is going to leave, too? Why is it so hard for me to ask for help, or admit that I don’t know what I’m doing?
If you’re here, too, I get it. I hear you. I see you. I’m proud of you for waking up and showing up. You’re doing great. Please keep pushing forward.
God, help us to see you in everything. Help us to wrap our minds around the fact that you are not going anywhere, and you don’t WANT to go anywhere. I pray for all of the people reading this, their hearts pounding a little harder than normal because they get it. That we find joy in talking to you again. That we find peace amongst the storms. That we feel hopeful that the future holds calm. That we begin to ask for help, whether it’s with tears and screams, or quiet whispers.
God, Dad, thank you for loving us when we don’t know how anyone can love us. Thank you for being the reason we’re still chugging along. Thank you for giving us those breaths of fresh air, even when all we can focus on are the waves. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Amen.
words by Ashley Jesus and photo by Kiana Dundore