The Itch

I think maybe it’s a byproduct of being a military kid, of being in a new place every few years, but every three years or so I get really restless and angsty.  A friend of mine in college, who also grew up in the military and with whom I bonded very quickly, called it the Itch.  And every once in a while, not often, but about every three years or so, I’ll send her a message or I’ll get a message from her that will inevitably start with one of us saying “I’ve got the itch.”

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I’ve got the Itch.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been feeling unhappy on a soul level.  I’ve been lonely even when I’m surrounded by the people who love me best in the world, and I’ve been thinking so deeply about…everything.  I’ve been internal and quiet, consumed with thoughts about God and church and friendship and who I am in relation to all of these things.

It can sometimes take me to some pretty dark places inside myself, and it can feel like too much to hold in my head.  And so I start to feel anxious and overwhelmed. And when I start to feel anxious and overwhelmed, my impulse is to run to a new town with new people where I have a chance to be a new me, who isn’t so neurotic and consumed all the time.

I get the Itch, and the Itch means I’m ready to move.

But, what I’m  realizing now is that the Itch isn’t about being sick of my town or my people or my church or even God.  For me, the Itch is about being sick of myself. It’s a marker of an existential wrestling. It means that with all the time I’m spending in my own head, I’m finding things that aren’t working for me anymore – relationship dynamics, or patterns of behavior, or unhealthy things that I think about myself.  It means that Jesus and I are locked in and working something out, and it’s painful. It means that I’m about to have to do some surrendering and then some changing. And changing is hard.

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The BFF told me a couple of years ago, “Don’t for one second lose sight of who you are.  You are someone who goes into the dark with Jesus, and you always come out having learned something. And you’re better, and I’m better, and our friendship is better for it. So, don’t forget that even though it’s hard, it’s worth it.”  (I wrote it down in my journal, so I wouldn’t forget it.)

For years, I have hated that I’m a deep-thinking neurotic who has to go into the dark to wrestle with Jesus. For years, I have wished that I could shut my brain down every once in a while and get changing moments with Jesus sitting in church singing a worship song. But, the BFF is right. God meets some people there for sure, but it’s not how He and I get down to business.

No, God and I get down to business when I’m restless and angsty and ready to move.

We get down to business when I’ve got the Itch.

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3 thoughts on “The Itch

  1. I so understand this Itch. For me it shows up as needing a change of scenery and traveling, and also time at my piano to create. It is personal, all this changing, and I remind myself that it’s not for ME that we enter the darkness but to trust that the reflection gets a little clearer. Yes?

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