I am broken. I struggle. There are many days I do not know that I will make it through. Such is the life of a person. Not a person defined by a set of letters or a medical diagnosis, but a person who lives in this falling world. All of us struggle. All of us hurt. All of us are parts of a whole that has never quite been put together. In this and many other ways, I am no different than you.
But I am different than some of you too. I have letters. PTSD. OCD. These letters are supposed to describe me. Or at least to some people. When I walk into my doctor’s office he wants to know what letters I am so he can best plan a course of action to help me through my issues. When I go to see my counselor, he wants to know too, so we can talk through the issues I am facing and we can make a plan to minimize the affects and maximize my potential. Oh, did I mention I see doctors and counselors, cause I do.
Other people sometimes want to understand me based on my letters too. Does PTSD mean that if you hear loud noises you will duck and cover, or that you fought in a war somewhere? Not exactly. Does OCD mean you have to lock and re-lock things all the time. Nope. Although it does for some people. The truth about my letters is that they mean different things for different people.
There I days I feel like my letters. Days I wake up and my body feels like it has been through a trauma. Like the war of life has taken it’s toll on me and my body is in fight mode. Ready for action. Ready to defend. Even though there’s no threat to be found. There are hours where thoughts invade my mind. Make it so I cannot focus. They are unhappy, unwelcome thoughts. Thoughts I do not create and thoughts I wish I could stop. Sometimes I am better at overcoming them than others.
Even though all of that is true, there is one, more important thing I know about my letters. They do not DEFINE me. I am not only the sum parts of all my letters. They do not fully explain my past, nor do they destroy my future. They are nothing more than a part of me. A part I wish I could get rid of, but a part that I am also in some ways better for.
What my letters, and nothing and no one else can take away, is that I am defined as a new creation. A child of the Living God. I am loved by him, despite my letters and everything else about me that is broken. He talks to me about them. He walks with me through them. He reminds me that I am more than PTSD or OCD, but that I am HIS. That is ultimately what matters.
I do not tell you these things for myself. I know them about me, all to well. I am telling you so that you can know. Know you have someone to talk to. Know you are not alone. Know that God is not far away.
As Christians, I feel we all too often are afraid of the letters. Afraid to feel them. Afraid to reveal them. I don’t think this is how God intends us to suffer – all alone and afraid. I think he calls us to suffer together. To talk and share, grow and learn, feel and heal together. And so at my church (HILLCITY) we are going to spend the next 4 weeks talking about the letters that we feel define us, and the three that actually do. If you are local, I invite you to join us. If not, you can check it our here – www.hillcityhudson.org/media.
Brokenness is a human thing. Struggle is too. May we struggle well, and be broken together while we seek to serve the One who is putting us all together.