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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

That Time Jesus Rescued Me

I felt like my heart was gone.

I believed- deeply believed- that life was hopeless, and all I can do is try not to think too hard about it, try to distract myself with other things, because if I face reality, I have no logical argument against crying all the time.

This was 4 and a half years ago, right after the guy I was dating broke up with me. And I had been obsessed with boys and dating for so long, I didn't know how to exist without longing for it, hurting from it, crying over it.

The obsession started 2 years before that. There was a different guy I liked, and the feelings were unlike anything I'd felt before. (Every teenager thinks their love is so pure and unique...) So I decided to chase it with everything that I had. It made me happy to think about this guy- so I thought about him all the time. I wanted him to be in every part of my life. I wished I could spend all my time with him.

It was desire and obsession, and I called it "love". That's ridiculous- love is about putting someone else above yourself. But I didn't care what he wanted- I just wanted him to be with me.

He was definitely the most important thing in my life. Weird, because we were never actually dating. But I learned from movies that being in love is so pure and special and infinitely valuable- surely it could not be stopped by some small issue such as him having no idea I liked him.

But time went on, and it became harder and harder for me to avoid facing the truth. My mind was divided, hiding from itself- one part of me knew that me and this boy would never be together, and one part of me would be destroyed if she ever found that out.

Since this part of the story is sad, have a picture of a cute bunny. Image source.

And finally, it all broke. Suddenly everything was sad. He had been all I ever thought about- now every thought reminded me that my heart was broken.

I didn't understand. I became so angry. Surely this happened because guys are all heartless. Guys just want sex- they can't feel love and be enslaved by it, like I was. (And all the fear-based Christian teaching on "purity" was the only filter I had with which to understand this at the time...)

But somehow, God was there, and I cried out to him as I tried to make sense of things. I just wanted to not think anymore. Reading the bible was the only thing that helped me.

I felt trapped. I clearly could not let this ever happen again- clearly I could never like another guy. But I was overflowing with emotions and obsession. I could either shut it all up, hold it in, and go crazy, or express my feelings toward some terrible untrustworthy guy (because of course all guys are) and be happy for a little bit, until he abandoned me and the hopelessness would start all over.

So I started dating another guy. Because I was going to explode if I didn't. I dated him because I desperately needed him- and that's no way to treat someone. I was in no position to actually care about him. I didn't want him to be happy- I wanted him to be WITH ME.

And he broke up with me, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. And I was hopeless. Because I NEEDED a perfect husband in order to be happy, but all guys are horrible and untrustworthy, and everyone warned me that there is no "perfect marriage". So I can never be happy.

And I really believed that.

I asked God how much longer I'd have to endure being single (and hopeless, obviously) before I could FINALLY get married and my life would start. How long would I be able to hold out- I needed a guy SO MUCH. Maybe 2 years? HOW LONG, GOD?

In the weeks following the break-up, sometimes I felt okay. People told me God had a plan for my life, and sometimes I thought it was true. But sometimes I wondered, what if God's plan is something stupid? In the bible, I NEVER found a guarantee that God would give me a husband. What if God didn't understand what I wanted and needed? What if God forgot about me? How could I trust him?

And then, a month after the break-up, I decided to give my life to God. To trust him, because logically, if he loves me and he's all-powerful, he can run my life way better than I can. I decided that if he wanted me to be single forever, then logically that must be the best possible plan, because he's God. So I decided no matter what the cost, I would give my life to God.

Just heal me. I don't care anymore. Just fix my heart, I don't care about the cost.

I did it as a last resort. I reasoned that there was no way God could screw up my life any worse than it already was.

What happened next? The writer of Psalm 18 says it way better than I could:
"The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him-
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.
He shot his arrows and scattered the enemies,
    great bolts of lightning and routed them.
The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me."

I suddenly realized how all this time, I had loved boys more than I had loved God. I had chased boys more than I chased God. The first of the 10 commandments says "You shall have no gods before me" and Jesus said the greatest commandment is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind."

And I was a Christian- I should have known all of that! But here I was, with all my obsessions and selfishness, breaking the commandments that are right at the top of the list.

I had never realized what sin was before this.

And I had never realized what mercy was before this. All this time, I had been so screwed up- using my boyfriend, even asking God to help me chase boys... but when I couldn't stop crying and I needed God's help, he was there. He helped me. And all that time, he had kept me safe. That's mercy.

And somehow, it changed my life.

It's hard to describe. I say I "realized" that God is all I need and that God is good to me... but it was a change that ran far far deeper than the intellectual level. A change that only God Almighty himself could bring about. It wasn't like I changed my mind about something- no, it was a change that went to the very core of who I was.

Before, I believed- truly believed- that without a guy in my life, everything was terrible and hopeless.

But after God changed my life, now I believe- truly believe- that God is all I need.

This all happened within a week after I prayed that God would fix my life, no matter the cost. Yes, I definitely believe Jesus rescued me, and we could call it a miracle if I wasn't so picky about the definition of "miracle". He broke me out of that cycle of hopelessness. He saved me when I couldn't save myself.

And all my problems were still there- seeing a kiss in a movie still screamed to my heart that my life was hopeless- but now I KNEW what the truth was: That God is all I need, and I will always have him, and he will always love me, and whatever feelings I get from watching a movie are just silly things that come and go and affect me emotionally- they're not the TRUTH.

Jesus rescued me. Seriously. He completely changed my life during that one week, four and half years ago, and he's been completely changing my life slowly ever since then.

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Update: I've written 2 follow-up posts:
5 things my testimony does not mean
I didn't forget the happy ending 

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