he hears me

I still remember the first few Facebook posts I wrote in my darkest times. Posts of raw vulnerability; ones that shed light on the demons in my life. They were liberating, and I vividly remember the praise, the likes, the feedback, the encouragement – it all empowered me to share more.

I had to be on to something.

For years, I felt I had mastered the art of social media. Witty status updates, flawlessly cropped profile pics. All to cultivate this better-than-life online persona that I wanted to show off to the world.

It wasn’t until after I came to faith in college did I muster up the courage to challenge this illusion I tricked myself into. To be brutally honest with myself, with my insecurities and faults, and to come face to face with who I actually was. And not who I wanted to be.

It hurt. I learned some of the most bitter, painful truths about myself, but I emerged with such an unbridled clarity through it all. And I realized that underneath this facade of online perfection, that we’re all going through similar struggles… but we just don’t talk about them.

I thought I would flip social media on its head. To break people’s feeds with authenticity and raw vulnerability, and show everyone that this is was what we should all strive for. Yet, I was still looking for the wrong things.

Until recently, I never quite understood my compulsion towards writing. Some of my most eloquent, beautiful writing would come from my darkest places. But whenever I was in a good place mentally, I didn’t have that same compulsion.

Public writing was a last resort to vent my feelings. When I felt so deeply and hopelessly misunderstood that I hadn’t any other choice but to make my feelings public.

All of this vulnerability was just a cry for help to be understood. I wanted to know that my feelings were valid.

Deep down, I know that no one in this world will ever be able to understand where I’m coming from 100%. The only way for someone to really get me on that level would be if they knew me inside and out. Someone who was there for my childhood trauma, all my experiences, for my victories and failings, for all my mistakes. Someone who knows me better than I know myself. God.

As a Christian, I already know that I’m supposed to give these kinds of feelings up to God. I should feel whole, complete, and valid in Christ alone. But I just never could get behind that idea. It always feels so much more validating and satisfying to talk with people. I need something tangible.

Yet, ironically enough, that same perspective I cling to has failed me over and over again.

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you

1 Peter 5:7

I don’t “cast my anxieties” on God because I’ve already concluded it won’t be enough. I don’t really believe that He’s listening. That He understands what I’m going through. That He cares. Yet, I know that He does.

And the next time I’m in that dark place, when I’m struggling to feel validated and understood, I hope that I’m strong enough to lean on Him.

Because I trust that He’s patiently waiting.
Because I know that He’ll understand me.
Because I believe that He hears me.

Josh Swanson