Monday night, tensions were high, but the pounding in my head was higher. Rubbing my hands together and pressing into my temples, I tried to stop my mind from succumbing to the emotions I was feeling. I felt as numb as frigid fingers and toes feel when they're left outside for too long in the winter. Icicles and all, I was dripping apathy, sorrow, and exhaustion.
Most days, the description above is not as accurate of my bubbly personality, but this was not one of those days. Leaning on my emotions rather than vision, I couldn't understand what I was feeling. Although the past few days had been extremely stressful and anxious, I felt a lack of empathy now.
Peering into the mirror, I shook my head at the reflection's lifeless smile. Through words unsaid and muted voices only I could hear, I felt like the author of Psalm 119:69.
"Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart.” (Psalm 119:69, NIV)
I tried to dance and felt dull. I picked up my weights for a workout and dropped them with a lack of desire. My Dad tried to joke with me at dinner, and I had an anxiety attack as I burst into tears.
"You're always in a bad mood, Amber," my Dad laughed as he winked at my Mom.
"You're always never enough," I heard loud and clear. And all my parents heard was the shutting of my bathroom door as my sobs hit the floor.
Smeared with the enemies' lies, I've become a master at listening to the wrong voices and ignoring the right ones. Though I've tucked God's Word deep in my heart, I am all too much the victim of spiritual amnesia. My counselor calls it the condition of being "Battle Weary."
When You're Exhausted from Affliction
After excessive contentions for two years, my mind and body are numb. My memory fades normalcy like last week's ice-cream special, here today and gone tomorrow. I cannot remember what I was like before chronic pain and mental distress overtook my mind.
"Are you suicidal?" my boyfriend questioned with concern in his voice.
It looks like the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My mind spat at me, reminding me of my father's struggle.
"Of course not!" I retorted, shocked he would even utter such a question.
"I just wanted to be sure," my boyfriend's sweet song sang over me.
"They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts" (Psalm 119:87, NIV). The candied truths lurch against the combat.
"That means so much. I promise I'm not; I'm just weary. Weary of surviving when I should be living. Tired of waiting for rescue. I know I've got to hold onto hope because He's all I've got; it's just hard right now." My muttering matched the frog in my throat as I swallowed down salty tears.
Because despite what I feel or don't feel, if I cling to the Word of God, His truth will overpower any lies or circumstances that come my way. And as my knees hit the floor, I cried out to Him, Him who heard me breaking.
Though our enemies, the arrogant, our vices have smeared us with lies, I will keep your precepts, oh God. “Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law" (Psalm 119:69-70, NLT).
While the context of Psalm 119:65-72 is centered around sinful people unwilling to turn to God, delighting in their evil, I'm still reminded that amid any affliction, our rescue is coming. If we set our sights, hearts, and minds on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, His Word will protect us.
It's not easy to possess this mindset, but goodness is found among the broken, and mercy among affliction.
"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The Law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Psalm 119: 71-72, NLT)
What Can We Truly Trust In?
When we're put between a rock and a hard place (aka, affliction and suffering), we must look to the rock on whom we place our trust. As grief arises, we need to train ourselves to recite God's Word.
While this misfortune is not pleasant, times like these help us to learn His Law better as we put it into practice. And honestly, I hate to practice affliction. Strong's concordance defines this Hebrew word as ʿānâ, meaning to be busy and occupied with pain, oppression, humbleness, or a bowing down.
I knew an Ana once, and she crippled my soul in bonds of slavery to exercise and food addiction. I was occupied with her pain and bowed down low to her downcast of depression. Weakness chastened itself as I dealt harshly with the combat inside my bones. Defiled, and forced, hurt, and ravished, I knew that affliction well. But at 21 years old, God broke those seven-year chains, and their clamoring hitting the floor was music to my ears.
So I learned to stop practicing what was killing me and started following what was right. And although I still hear those voices from time to time, they don't own me anymore.
Is it Time to Trust in Your Deliverer?
Even as my struggles have changed over the years, and I now feel weighted down by anxiety, sickness, and depression, I still believe my God can break these two-year chains as he did the seven. It will take time, discipline, and training; I have to trust the process. But as my students abhor when I give them homework, it's necessary to study and exercise specific skills to grow.
I'm not particularly eager to study disease and turmoil, but I know that the eternal rewards will be out of this world. I'm learning to grow from within the pain.
It's been quite a long two years, Lord. I'm battle weary and tired. I fully acknowledge this great suffering I've endured. But I will walk out of this grave stronger because, if you walked out of it singing, so can I. You must have been battle-weary, too, but you knew what was waiting on the other side.
"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:4-5, ESV)
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/kieferpix
Amber Ginter is an aspiring 25-year-old writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Hoping to become a full-time freelancer, Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic ministry team (Aisthitikós Joy Ministries), and volunteer roles. She is also the author of The Story I've Never Told, which is currently in the publishing process. Amber has freelanced for Daughter of Delight, Kallos, Anchored Passion, Crosswalk, No Small Life, Darling Magazine, Called Christian Writers, Southern Ohio Today News, The Rebelution, Ohio Christian University, and The Circleville Herald. Visit her website at amberginter.com.
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