Archive for the ‘guilt’ Tag

Anguish   18 comments

It does not cost me much to report on my experiences and feelings after the fact.  It is more difficult for me to share in the moment, to invite others into my journey when I am still in the quagmire.  I am more vulnerable in such times, so I ask those who leave comments to this post to be especially gracious in what they say.

I have been in a great deal of turmoil the last few days over my expected visit to Calcutta.  India was my emotional Waterloo, an inescapable, pervasive black hole.  I’m pretty sure these current feelings stem from very deep, unresolved issues while I was a missionary that tapped into an ocean of inadequacy.  I did not learn Bengali well… I was so ethnocentric, seeing their culture as inadequate… I failed to make any significant impact even though I nearly died trying… I was arrogant… I was stupid… I was closed to input….   “I’m a failure, a failure, a failure” was the heavy drumbeat that struck against my soul throughout each day.

I had no weapon with which to challenge these beliefs, no argument great enough to disprove my self-condemnation.  I thought my self accusations were a mark of true and deep repentance.  Here is an example from the journal I kept in India, castigating myself for sleeping till 5 a.m. instead of rising at 4 o’clock to pray:

Oh, Lord, break me.  Break this wicked pride so steeped in deceit. Break the great evil of my indiscipline – great because it keeps me from knowing you and seeking you and loving you with my whole heart.  Lord, how can you possibly use me in this city, or in the lowest ministry, if I am not wholly given over to the infilling, anointing and outpouring of your Spirit?  Oh, Lord have mercy on this foolish and hopeless child of yours. I have no strength of my own, Lord.  I know I am completely bankrupt.  I know how many times over and over I have failed you in the same things.  It is a wonder that you still love me Lord.  What an amazing love is yours!  How much you deserve a better child than I.  Make me fit to bear your name in this world or take me out of it, Lord.

When I returned from Asia, I was so broken that my only hope of functioning was to push all thoughts of that time aside, not deal with them, ignore them as best I could.  I quarantined that huge section of my heart because I was too soul sick to deal with it in any kind of healthy way.  Of course those self-condemning thoughts did not simply disappear, but festered in the dark, chewing like termites on my spirit.  The less aware I was of them, the more easily they could undermine my sense of worth.

And as I open that Pandora’s box again, I find my life energy draining away and a settled anguish taking it’s place.  I feel I am picking up a burden too great to bear.  I thought I was emotionally ready (barely) to visit Calcutta again.  I wonder.  Perhaps this is God’s divine timing to draw me into facing this great vortex of shame.  I would ask for your prayers as I wade into the river Styx

Posted June 30, 2011 by janathangrace in Personal

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