Have you ever lost yourself?
If you haven’t, I’m sorry. This post won’t be very helpful for you. You probably won’t even understand what I’m talking about because, no matter how hard I try to describe what it’s like, I come up short. Trust me, I’ve tried, and the words just don’t fit. It’s awful and disorienting, painful and confusing. It’s like being thrown in the deep end without knowing how to swim. Flailing.
Like catching your reflection in the mirror but not quite recognizing yourself.
Sorry, that’s the best I can do.
If you’ve experienced what I’m talking about, I don’t need to say much more. You know exactly what it feels like. You’ve been in the midst of some personal crisis, or some difficult transition, and you’ve suddenly picked up your head, looked around, and noticed that you don’t recognize yourself. You don’t recognize the way you’re acting, the way you’re feeling, or the way you’re thinking.
This isn’t “you”. But who is you?
It’s like you’re stranded in the middle of a rock wall and you can’t find the next hand hold. None of your escape strategies are working. None of your coping mechanisms are relevant. None of your previously acquired skills can get you out of this mess.
If that’s you, if that’s where you are, I just want to say three things.
Hang on. Don’t give up. I know that probably sounds trite and stupid, but I mean it in the most sincere way. If you’re hanging in the middle of a rock wall, and you can’t figure out your next move, don’t panic. Just hang there. If you’re in the deep end, and you don’t know how to swim, don’t keep flailing, but take a deep breath. Float on your back. Don’t let go. Don’t give up.
People might tell you to “take steps in the right direction” but you might not know the right direction. That’s okay. Cut yourself a break. Stand still for a little bit. Then, as soon as the “right direction” comes you, you’ll know what to do.
Finally, this place you’re in. It isn’t as depressing as it seems. Yes, it’s disorienting. Yes, it’s frustrating. Yes, it seems like all of your resources are exhausted. But that’s the beauty of the Kingdom of God — and by “Kingdom of God” I mean all that is good and wonderful about the world we live in right now — good stuff happens when your resources are exhausted.
That’s where miracles come from.
Where we lose ourselves, that’s when we’re really found.