Who will be there?

“Sticks and stones may break my bones
But words will never hurt me.”

I don’t know about you, but in my experience this has almost never been the case. Sure, there are times when we really should disregard the things that people say – it would be incredibly unhealthy if we allowed every negative word to hurt us, but let’s be honest with each other for a moment: if you keep hearing the same hurtful words over and over again, sooner or later you’re going to start believing them. Just as someone can plant a seed of hope in our hearts, the same can be done with these toxic lies.

Over the past few years I’ve heard all kinds of hateful, hurtful and negative words. These words have come from all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons – friends, family, acquaintances, complete strangers. Some of them thought they were looking out for me, while others were oblivious to what they were saying and how it would affect me, and then there are those who said every word intentionally.

I can’t think of a single thing in my life that has not been attacked verbally: my dietary choices, my faith, my choice of attire, my hobbies, my friends, my passions, the way I talk, the way I drive, the way I choose to cook, the fact that I write blog posts from time to time… The list really is seemingly endless, especially from where I’m sitting right now, in the middle of it all.

It hasn’t been easy withstanding all of these terrible words. I fought against them as long as I could, and continue to do so. Some time ago, however, I realised that I have lost the battle. I now spend more time thinking about all these negative things, allowing them to consume me than actually living my life. Sad, isn’t it?

For the past few months I’ve been stuck in quite a repetitive routine: I work 2 jobs Monday – Friday and spend my weekends locked up in my apartment. Some Saturdays I don’t eat anything, I don’t brush my teeth or even bother getting out of my pyjamas. On occasion, this will carry over and continue on Sunday as well. I’ve even had a few weekends where I haven’t even bothered opening my curtains – instead choosing to block out the light and “embrace” the darkness.

I’ve also changed a whole lot. I interact with people from a distance, I say mean things about people, I swear unnecessarily (not that it should ever be necessary, but this is just a whole new level), I act like a fool, I fish for compliments, I feel sorry for myself and let the world know it, I complain (and complain, and complain, and complain…), I’m selfish, I’m entitled, I just stare at my friends when they open up about what’s hurting them instead of comforting them… I find myself wondering, “Who is this person?” when I’m alone in bed at night. I find myself experiencing anxiety – all the time.

Who am I? What have I become? Why am I acting this way? Is there something wrong with me?

The truth is, I don’t have any answers. The other truth? I feel completely and utterly alone. Having been betrayed by people I love and respect has left me in a very cold and dark place, where I truly feel that there is nobody to turn to. This deep-rooted, terrifyingly real loneliness has been plaguing me for some time now – consuming my will to fight against all these bad thoughts.

When you lose everything and everyone and things seem especially hopeless and you feel like you’ll never see the light again… Who will be there?

Isn’t it sad how we forget, so quickly, that God is never going to leave our sides? Isn’t is sad how I’ve allowed the world to hurt me so much that I did not even spare a moment to consider that God is not only right here with me but embracing me?

No matter how many times we rise and fall in this life, no matter how many times we mess up or run away or hide, He just never gives up on us. I’ve been battling with this knowledge for longer than I am willing to admit. A friend of mine once said to me that it’s a constant battle between the heart and the mind. I refused to believe him – but now I know, first-hand, that he was right.

I know that God is here with me, He even provided me with a job when I had lost all hope of ever finding one. He’s brought some fantastic people into my life – people who know Him. He has been patiently calling me to come out of my dark little corner.

I kept listening to the lies I’ve been fed by people – some of them told me that my relationship with God isn’t real, that I don’t truly know Him because I have not experienced what they experienced. Unfortunately, this was said by someone I held extremely close to my heart and just hearing this once was enough for me to still believe those words.

Enough is enough. I know I’m not the only one experiencing these thoughts and feelings. I’ll say it again: enough is enough! It is time that we stop listening to the lies, especially those about our faith, and start leaning on God for the truth. His word says that He is unchanging, that He loves us unconditionally and that we do not need any superpowers or to be perfect to have a relationship with him. All we need to do is show up. He’ll be there. Waiting. Patiently. He won’t love you any less just because you’ve messed up or because you took longer than someone else to come back to Him.

Luke 15:7 tells us, “In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”

This is no excuse to be sinful, but it does give us some insight as to how God feels about us. If He will rejoice over the repentance of a sinner, then surely He will rejoice when His children run into His arms for comfort? I’m not a parent, but I certainly dream of having my own children some day. I can only imagine the indescribable joy that a mother must feel when her child runs into her arms and holds on to her tightly – whether it’s just as a sign of affection or because something or someone has hurt them and they need comforting.

We are not alone and we will never be alone. Words are harmful, but we have a loving Father that will whisper truth into our hearts if we just allow Him. It is time that we stop hiding our true selves in an effort to avoid being hurt, because the world will just hurt us anyway.

Allow the knowledge that God is always there for you to be planted in your heart, a little seed of hope – allow it to grow, nurture it, pay attention to it and embrace it. Never forget that you are not alone – He loves you and that will never change. You’re also not the only one who feels this way, even though it often feels like that may be the case. Look up to the heavens, there you will find love, comfort, healing and arms that will embrace you and never let you go <3

**To my closest friends:**

If you’re one of my close friends and you’re reading this, know that I am not at all discounting your friendship or the value of your presence in my life. Truth is, all this would be 100 times easier if we lived closer to each other. I don’t blame you for living far away!

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