Lord, help my unbelief!

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This post-graduation season has been hard for me.  I feel unmoored most days, like a boat without a rudder, like I’m being pushed forward by the current of adulthood, but I’m directionless. I decided to take classes online to complete an additional certification, hoping that it would give me direction.  It didn’t.  I decided just last week to start formally putting together a book proposal and to make a real go of this whole writing thing, hoping that it would provide some kind of stability. It hasn’t.  I’ve thrown myself mercilessly into serving the people around me by painting nurseries, throwing baby showers, making dinners, editing college admissions essay, and teaching Bible studies, hoping that through activity that something would click and I’d know how to move forward. I don’t.  I’m unmoored, directionless, unstable, and busy.  I’m the literal definition of a hot mess. Look for me around town. I’m the one without make-up in the ratty old college hoodie and over-sized Adidas sweats that she stole from her best guy friend’s Goodwill pile.

It’s not easy for me to look in the mirror these days because I don’t like the face that’s looking back at me.  She’s tired and worn, and her eyes are flat and lifeless.  She looks like someone who’s letting the world kick the crap out of her.  She looks like someone who’s lost the will to fight.  She looks unmoored and messy.  And this “she” is a hard one for me to meet eye-to-eye.  I am ashamed of her. I’m ashamed of myself because I’m not sure how I’m reflecting Christ in the world walking around looking like this, hiding behind baggy Adidas pants and school and activity.  I’m ashamed of myself for lacking joy and struggling to hold onto hope and losing faith.

“I do believe; Lord, help my unbelief!” *Mark 9:24

On Tuesday night, I sat in Jesse’s car with her, parked in front of the house we were supposed to be in with our Bible study group, and I yelled and I cried and I said all of the things that I’ve been burying under school and writing and busyness.  It happened like that, in Jesse’s car with her because it was a safe place, but it happened because I needed that safe place to say out loud all of the things that I’d been driving myself crazy with in my own head. I needed to confess. I needed to confess that I’m scared that I may have wasted time and money on a degree that I may never get to use.  I needed to confess that I’m worried that I may never find a job or a husband or any of the things that I’ve been taught bring fulfillment and satisfaction.  I needed to confess that I sometimes think that taking a job in Michigan might have been a better move, even though I know God’s called me to stay here.  I needed to confess that I’m lonely, like I feel more often than not like I’m doing life all by myself, even though I know I’ve come such a long way in sharing myself with my friends over the last couple of years.  I needed to confess that I’m angry and anxious and scared, and that being angry and anxious and scared is making it hard to maintain joy and hope and faith.

“I do believe; Lord, help my unbelief!” *Mark 9:24

My friend, whose counsel I trust and who might know me better than anyone else on the planet, told me Tuesday night that I always have the greatest insights after I’ve been in the darkest places.  She told me that she doesn’t want me to stop being me, the person who walks through those dark places with Jesus. I always seem to forget that there’s something valuable to be learned, though, when I’m actually in the darkest places with Jesus. In the dark places, where I’m angry and anxious and scared, I tend to think it will always only be dark.  I tend to think that I will always only be angry and anxious and scared.  In the dark, I forget that Jesus is even in there will me at all.

“I do believe; Lord, help my unbelief!” *Mark 9:24

I’m making this my prayer for the rest of this season, however long it may last, however dark it may go.  I suspect that I will continue to feel unmoored, directionless, unstable, and messy for a good while longer. I suspect that I will struggle to hold onto to joy and hope and faith, and I suspect that my friends will have to continue to be safe places for me to confess and try to make sense of this season. But, more than suspecting, I know Jesus is meeting me here. It’s on me in this season to look up and see Him.  And since I’m looking up, maybe I’ll give the mirror a glance as well.  I suspect the face of the person looking back at me is going to be someone I can be proud of.

8 thoughts on “Lord, help my unbelief!

  1. When I look at you, I do not see “tired and worn, …eyes… flat and lifeless.” I see the eyes of an honest and beautiful friend. I wish I had the priviledge of knowing you as a close friend, but the stories I hear from Brandon and especially Keyla, I see the beauty of Christ in your eyes. You are somebody you can be proud of Amber. Galations 6: 6-10.

  2. Oh, friend. I echoed so many of your confessions when I was looking for work after grad school. I learned some great lessons during that time but it was rough. I don’t have any great answers or insights for you other than to keep pressing on. Keep wrestling with God and trying out new avenues and so on. It will click together one of these days and you will see and know that this was of God. In the meantime, might I recommend Sue Monk Kidds’ When the Heart Waits? That was a helpful book for me during that time and even resonates today.

    1. Leigh, I’m so grateful for our developing friendship. I can’t even tell you what your encouragement has meant to me over the last several months. You are kind of spectacular! And I love the book recommendation! I will def give it a read! Expect me to Tweet to you through it. 🙂

  3. Okay, so I’m two days late in coming here. Oy!

    Love the honesty (as usual) of this post. I hate that feeling of being unmoored, untethered….in a free fall, and we (that feeling and I) have become fast friends the last couple of years. I don’t think you caught it from me, though. 😉

    The verse you keep coming back to is so right.

    Keep writing. You gave me some good words last week that I needed to hear! Thank you for them.

    1. Um…I pray that these feelings aren’t contagious or I’d worry for my youth girls. Talk about Oy! 🙂 As for the writing, it’s too in my blood not to anymore. Sometimes that reality is really exciting, other times totally terrifying, and occasionally requires a temper tantrum before it happens. But…it always happens. You know. 😉

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