Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Thankful for Friends Who Accept Me Even As My Messed Up Self

A couple months ago, I was so angry I just left my house. 

“Bye.” I said. No “I love yous.” No, “I’ll be back in a couple of hours.” No anything… just “Bye Felicia.” Without the Felicia.

I didn’t know where I was going.

And I don’t even remember what specifically made me so angry. 

But I know it was irrational. To be fair, I have Chronic Lyme Disease. It’s been really well-controlled for the last 2 years, but a major drop in temperature and barometric pressure (yay Colorado!) triggered my arthritis to flare and my joints to lock up, which tipped off my anxiety, which spiraled into medical bills and I can’t go through this again. My doctor said it was over. 

Regardless, I had gone off on my husband and kids about something completely unrelated, and they had no clue what was going on in my body/mind, and I didn’t have any words to explain it. (Another weird side effect of Lyme—the words can’t seem to get from the place in your brain where you know what you’re trying to say, to the place that makes your mouth say them. Kind of like a word firewall). So, it just came out as a rage. And instead of continuing to wreak havoc on my family, I left.

As I drove, I thought, I can’t even go out in public right now. I can’t be around my family, and I can’t subject the general public to my attitude right now. I know I have a person I can go to, but I can’t think of who that is… (Oh the joys of Lyme, I couldn’t even remember my best friend’s name.)

Eventually, I broke down the firewall in my brain and called Jess. 
“Are you home?” I asked.
“Can I be at your home and not at my home?”
“You okay?”
“Of course you can come over.”

Because of course, she will have me when no one else would have me, even if I couldn’t remember her name five minutes prior.

Because, for some reason, she’s my person, and she can accept my own personal brand of crazy.

I went to her house and she was like, “Hey. I’m working on some stuff, but you’re welcome to keep me company.”

And you know what advice she gave me?

You know what she said?

She wrapped me up in a blanket, fed me dinner, and made me some tea. Then she sat there and worked on her projects and listened to me as the words fell out of my mouth and sometimes got stuck in my brain.

And it was the most blessed nothingness in the world.

Her offering me a place to be not okay for a while was the greatest gift. But the best part is that she offers it to me all the time. Her friendship means that I can be not okay when I’m not okay. And her friendship means that I can celebrate when something awesome happens. 

Finding that is so rare.

Because, when faced with meeting new people, we wonder, Will I be accepted here? Will people love me here? Am I okay? Is it okay with these people that I look/act/am like this?

And the only way to know whether or not they will really accept you is to show them your messed-up self.

And that’s the really cool thing about Jesus. He is always our person. 

He is always the place we can be not okay. When we aren’t fit for human consumption, we are fit for Him. Because, "God proves his love for us by this, that Christ died for us when we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8

All we have to do is just keep getting to know Him better by being with Him as our messed-up selves.

Emily Donehoo is the only female in a family of five. She is a former High School English Teacher and National Trainer for the College Board. These days, when she isn’t scrubbing toilets, administering timeouts, working at book fairs, attempting to tackle dinner, laundry, homework help, dishes, and a preschooler’s incessant questions, she writes authentically about the hard stuff that really matters, hoping to uncover the truth that God has for us whether it makes us cry from laughter, pain or both at the same time.

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