I'm posting this here because I have nowhere else to go (that I can think of). I've exhausted all my known options, from my large social group (which includes multiple pastors), to the various churches in the area, even to organizations like Teen Challenge. So, my attention turned online. I googled "Christian mens forum", and this one popped up.
Honestly, part of the reason I'm posting this is simply cuz I hurt so much, that I need to get this off my chest. I also hope that Jesus does something with this post ... but I'm not really expecting it. Everywhere I've gone (and I've gone a lot of places), I've hit a wall. So I hardly expect this to be any different. I really, really, really hope that I'm wrong, though, and that something DOES come of this ...
As the title says, this is a cry for help.
In January of 2012 my life was so miserable that I finally surrendered to Jesus. That was the year I turned 21. A lot has changed, since then. I changed. And, according to those who know me best, I changed a lot, and fast.
A few years in, I told my mom that her love had kept me from killing myself, growing up. I told her that I knew how much she loved me, and so I knew how much my death would devastate her. And the thought of devastating her ...? It devastated me to such a point that I couldn't even give suicide enough thought.
In response to me telling her this, she told me the following story ...
I was in 5th grade. I was sitting with her on the front steps of the school I went to at the time, and somehow the topic of suicide came up. She said, "You know that would devastate me, right?" At which point I burst into tears and said, "That's the only reason I can't do it."
That was 5th grade. I was 11 years old, and already I had suffered so much that I longed to die.
But Jesus saved my life. He knew what would stop me: the pain of imagining my mom devastated (as well as the fear of hell). In this way, he stripped from me the freedom to kill myself.
But he didn't heal me. I was still in excruciating emotional pain, and so I found ways to cope with the pain. For one, I suppressed it as much as I could, lying to myself until I'd convinced myself that I was ok. And for two, I self-medicated with pleasures such as porn, sex, games, stories, and food. But that coping couldn't last. Eventually, the pain caught up with me, and I knew I'd eventually snap. So I gave up fighting Jesus, and surrendered to him.
The porn and sex ended right then. Stopped cold turkey (THAT was a hell all it's own). Over the following 4 years, the games, stories, and food have slowly been taken from me as well. Now, finally, in the past 2 years, Jesus has taken away my last coping mechanism: the lying. He's told me to face the pain. To feel it. And to just ... cry. To grieve.
Right now, nothing keeps the pain away except for Jesus himself, the power of his Spirit within me, and that indescribable peace that waxes and wanes in strength. Some days, the peace is so powerful that I feel better and more joyful than I ever have in my entire life.
But on other days ...? Days like today ...?
I've never understood why people cut themselves. But now, to some extent, I do: it's a cry for help. Alongside of suicide and other reckless, dangerous behaviors, it seems to be the only thing that will explain to people HOW much pain I'm really in.
But people don't get it. They see me functioning, because I have that undescribable peace of God ... and because my masks are still second-nature to me. Masks I still can't wholly drop, cuz the people around me can't handle seeing me. They're too immature. They'd be hurt, or freak out and call the cops, not understanding how horribly safe I am.
"Horribly" safe, because just like with suicide, God has stripped from me the ability to gravely wound myself — and I will sooner suffer and die than hurt anyone else. And so I have nothing, nothing I can do. And the pain is all the worse, when you can do nothing.
I'm crying almost every day: the loud, messy crying that causes my whole body to clench and leaves me feeling drained, oftentimes with an ache in my chest (because of how much I've used my diaphragm and lungs). And even though I refuse to do it, the idea of cutting myself still comes to mind. That, and other stupid, reckless stunts.
Like getting into a fight with a cop.
Why? Cuz it'd be a "letting go", and a way of begging Jesus to save me. A way of saying "LOOK AT ME!!! PLEASE!! DO SOMETHING!!" Like the teen who goes out and does all sorts of nonsense, just to try and get his father to pay attention to him. That's me. You can tell me "Jesus loves you" and "Jesus is with you" till you're blue in the face, and I'll still feel alone, abandoned, crying because I deserve to be abandoned, because so much of this torment is all my fault, because I refused to submit, and I'm so sorry, sorry, sorry, and I just want my Dad to come back home, to hold me, to comfort me, to discipline me — SOMETHING!! — just please don't leave me. Please, don't leave me ...
The truth is that Jesus is here, watching over me, protecting me. Much like my mom's love, his love is why I'm safe, unable to wound myself or do other stupid stunts like getting into a fight with a cop. His love is why I can wait, even in the midst of this hell. His love is why I can fathom that maybe, juuust maybe, this post might matter. Because he's saved me before, using online posts. He's already healed me so much.
... but I'm not done. I'm still wounded. I'm still the traumatized, abused little kid, abandoned by his dad, who chose to hold onto his hate, his spite, planting a root of bitterness so deep, and now who suffers every day because of the tree that grew.
Only, now I'm trapped in a 27 year old body.
Why do we only think of minors as "orphans"? Why is it that, suddenly, an orphan stops being an orphan when they turn 18, or 21, or 40, or 67 ...?
I'm still an orphan.
And it crushes me every day.
I long for a male authority figure, for a man I can submit to — a man I can serve. I want that second chance. I want to be comforted, held. I want the roughhousing, even the discipline. It's why I want to get into a fight with a cop. I want to drop all the masks, to let go and stop suppressing everything, to fight! ... and to lose, to be pinned, held down. Even prison has an appeal. I want the freedom that comes with total humility, with no control, when everything is taken from you: my possessions, my dignity. And I could just let loose, in there, because I know that if I ever fight, I'm the only one who will be hurt. I'll always lose. And that gives me the freedom to lash out. Furthermore, I'd be pursued, not allowed to leave, as if they wanted me ... but none of this would be in love. And so, I expect it'd be a bad idea.
I'm kinda messed up, aren't I? Heh. That's putting it lightly ...
But do you see the constant theme?
Letting go ... not hiding ... expressing everything ... submitting ... being held down ... being hit ... being held ... losing everything ... it can all be summed up in three words.
Freedom in humility.
That's what I long for. And it's not something I can take for myself. The dead cannot bring themselves to life. Children cannot give birth to themselves. And we cannot take away our own control. We have to be brought to life, birthed anew, and have our control (our pride) stripped away. Only Jesus can do that, and he's doing it to me — which, I suppose, is why I'm still stuck in this wilderness.
He's not letting me out in my timing.
But he has promised to let me out.
And so, my questions to y'all are these:
Is there anyone who can give me that place to submit, to obey ...?
Is there a man somewhere who will give me a second chance ...?
Are there any brothers in Christ who actually want to help me heal ...?
Is there anyone who can live out the gospel of Jesus Christ, pursuing me like a lost sheep, and thereby give meaning to the words that I've spoken and heard spoken a thousand times ...?
The truth is that I'm forgiven. And I've focused on this truth for so many years, reading scripture, telling myself this truth over and over and over again so as to get through the hard times ... and all the while, I was lying to myself without realizing it, thinking that focusing on and speaking the words was all it took to believe it.
((To make it explicitly clear: The lie was that I thought I believed the truth, when I don't.))
Yes, the truth is that Jesus has forgiven me. He loves me unconditionally. He pursued me like a lost sheep, tackled me to the ground, broke my legs, and carried me home. And I've put my faith and hope in this truth. And I've tasted little tidbits of it. I've seen it in my mom.
But because I've never experienced this from a man, I don't believe it. Or, rather, I don't know (ginosko) it. I don't know that I'm forgiven. Heck, I don't even know that God has seen my sins, and therefore am constantly fighting the fear of "if he sees my sin, he'll destroy and abandon me".
So, again I ask: is there a male authority figure somewhere who can SHOW me the truth? Who can convince me that he sees my sins, considers them disgusting, and will do what it takes to cleanse/forgive me ...?
Chase me down and break my legs, if you have to. Seriously. God knows a spanking, a beating, whatever, is nothing comparative to the hell I've faced. If anything, it'll just help me let go and submit.
I know this becuase I've been pinned, before, by a friend who taught jui-jutsu. When this happened, I had to fight to keep from crying, to keep the mask in place.
I even slap myself in the face, at times, or hit my arms, or punch hard things, all because the pain speaks of a hint of that submission, that loss of control, that freedom that I long for, and that hint brings the slightest taste of comfort.
Anyway, I'll stop here. Not much more to say.
I hope y'all understand, at least, if nothing more.
And if you've read this far ... well ... thanks. If nothing else, perhaps you can say a prayer for me.
Supposedly prayers are powerful. That's another thing I struggle to believe.