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Where I've Been: An Overwhelmed Heart

The blank page is ominous.
The blinking cursor is intimidating.
The publish button is staring at me waiting.
What do you do when the words don't want to come?

I had coffee with a sweet this morning and after a brief hour's chat, my heart felt so much lighter. This gal is a gem, let me tell you. She's approaching the bright-eyed age of twenty-one and is trekking through so much that I am only beginning to learn myself. One question, "How's your heart?" and everything came spilling out. For both of us. 

So why haven't I written about it here? Why can't I find the words? I don't know.

I started to put words into sentences into paragraphs into a letter last week. The dam started to break with a steady stream, but over the weekend my anxious heart tried to patch it back up. The water kept pushing. There are moments when I feel like I'm treading water in the middle of the ocean and others when I feel like I'm in the water, up against the breaking wall, arms spread wide trying to keep the waves at bay. It's spilling over, the cement is cracking, and I'm ready to just let go.

Part of this morning's conversation that struck out to me was this idea of dual personalities. There is the Bailey Jean that my blogging world and Instagram community knows, and then there's the Bailey that sinks into the couch at the end of the day when no one else can see. I want to come off as someone who is positive, encouraging, and content in my season. I post pretty pictures, share scripture, and push my problems under the rug until I get home. And when I do finally stumble through the door close to midnight after rehearsal, I trip over the bump under the carpet that I can no longer ignore.

As a believer in Christ, I catch myself believing the lie that I have to stay put together and declare that "everything is okay". If I have the God of the universe on my side, fighting for me, and carrying me, why should I complain? If I claim to trust him, how can I admit that I have doubts? If His Word is true and He has my good in mind, then why should I feel lost and forsaken? These questions shouldn't be shuffled away and I shouldn't beat myself up about them before bed each night. They should be asked, OUT LOUD, in community. 

Vulnerability is powerful and beautiful. We follow a Savior who wept! He knew sorrow. He knew loneliness. He knew being in an unfamiliar place and isolation within community. He knew highs and lows. He called out to God. Can't we follow His example?

Struggling with identity or feeling alone does not make us any less of a believer or worse of a person, it shows that we're human. Admitting that you feel alone does not mean you're ungrateful for the people in your life, it creates a space to shine light on the lies and heart hurts we've been avoiding. Being a Christian does not mean that everything is suddenly perfect or that we should be happy-go-lucky all the time. Believing that the Savior of the world is our Lord means we can place these things at the feet of Jesus and not walk through them alone. 

But we will still walk through them. 

These days I feel like I'm trudging up hill, through mud, in the rain. God is faithful and present in the midst of this, but there are still some nights I collapse into my bed after a long day and wonder what the lesson is. What's the point? Where am I headed? What about the things and people I love? How do I make time for those in the midst of a demanding school schedule? Are serving the kingdom and making meaningful theatre ever going to cross over? How can I be fully dedicated to both? Why is my call so different? Is there anyone out there that will understand?

These questions, and two dozen more, keep me up at night. And I know in the midst of all of this God is still good. In the grand scheme of things, my struggles are small. I'm not facing famine or terror in my back yard. I have generous parents providing a good life for me. I am living in abundance in many ways. But my heart still hurts. The overwhelm still settles in. The struggle is real. 

So why am I writing this? What is this post going to do? Will anyone read it or care? I don't know, but that's not the point. I'm writing again. I'm sharing. I'm being honest. And maybe by being honest with you I can be honest with myself. 

I don't want this blog to be a place where I "have to" share only the pretty pictures or items from the list of "content to keep your followers". I don't want to worry if people from my "real life" read it. Why can't they know? I want this space to be a safe place to share my heart and yours. Yes, there will be pretty pictures. Yes, I want to be an encourager and positive light in life. But I'm done pushing the rest of it under the rug. 

Today is day one. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

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