attached is a bit of my story dealing with self-harm and what can help !
As I’ve been reflecting on this season of life, I have discovered that the word abandonment comes to mind every time during my reflection. It strikes a chord within me. I understand that human beings make mistakes and fail. Yet, I feel alone, worthless, and all around empty inside. Social media makes this much worse because photos and videos are shoved in viewers faces day after day, leaving me even more empty and my heart aching for authentic relationships. Yes, there are the few, but overall it has been a season of abandonment and true loneliness unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I would never wish it upon someone. At my most vulnerable place in life, everyone seems to magically disappear. Interesting how that works huh. That being said, my reliance on God is essential in this difficult season of life. It has been extremely difficult getting past my stubborn nature and relying on God instead of my own strength. Yet, every single time I give this feeling of abandonment to God, the weight is lifted. The load feels a bit lighter. Thank you Jesus for taking these thoughts and the heaviness from me.
“Oh that’s intelligent” “You want that on your body the rest of your life?” “When you get old you’ll look gross” “It says in the Bible not to get a tattoo” etc. etc. etc. Anyone with a tattoo has heard something along these lines. It gets old. I’m reaaaally tired of the judgmental stigma surrounding tattoos, and I’m thankful it’s gradually fading. Tattoos, what I like to call body art, are so significant to individuals, including myself. When someone feels the need to negatively comment about my tattoos, I just think “What is the gain that they acquire from saying this to me?” Maybe it is to feel better about themselves by pushing others down, but maybe it is also their own insecurities shining through when they bash others. I truly will never understand why people feel the need to make snarky remarks about my tattoos. Body art is a beautiful concept that is slowly being intertwined into our societies and cultures, and I don’t know why people feel the need to push negativity on individuals when it is their own body. It isn’t your body ! News flash ! This type of art is unlike anything else, and expressing ourselves in this way is truly beautiful in itself. Allow people to express themselves. Allow them to explore their inner workings and passions. So much good can come out of tattoos, so why not give people a chance to share their stories behind their tats ?? Some may have meaning and some may not. All in all, tattoos have a special place in my heart, and I encourage everyone to not be hardened to the thought of them.
“Self harm” is a phrase in society we don’t hear often. It’s taboo. We blow it off, pretend it doesn’t exist, and excuse this because there’s a stigma around it. Welp friends, KNOCK IT OFF !!!! The reality of life is the fact that innumerable people self harm in various ways, and it isn’t just because he/she is seeking attention. Self harm is rooted in self esteem issues, loneliness, depression, feeling worthless, wanting to relieve anxiety, desiring to punish oneself, wanting control, or wanting out of a state of numbness. The list goes on however. Here’s the thing: God is the only one that can relieve a person of these feelings/emotions. He is the only one that can get an individual out of this deep deep hole. When in this hole, a person may feel trapped, stuck, and overall doomed. With God however, it is POSSIBLE to get out of the mess and out of that hole. It’s more than possible, it’s REALISTIC. Most people feel that it’s unrealistic to get out of the habit of self harming once you start. It’s kind of like an addiction and is even characterized the same in some ways. With God, prayer, and lots and lots of Scripture reading to keep one’s head in the right mindset, this is so possible and doable !!!!!! Self harm can be defeated. It takes baby steps to do so and a tremendous amount of faith in God, but overall it is attainable with His help. Satan feeds lies into people’s ears constantly, and especially when one is on the verge of self harming. When one begins recognizing these lies, it becomes exceedingly clear who God is and what His purpose is for all followers of Christ. The identity in Christ one has becomes transparent when stripping away Satan’s lies and bull crap. Some people don’t want to believe that this is one of Satan’s tactics, but in reality, it is. Spiritual warfare is REAL. This is just one of the ways he gets in individuals’ heads, and if the truth is already in there, it’s a lot harder to give in to his schemes. All in all, the point is God is faithful and desires for individuals to lean on Him when struggling with self harm or any other obstacle of life. Satan knows how to get in the mind of believers and unbelievers as well, and fighting against that with Scripture and prayer is huge !! It sounds cliché, but the Word is seriously LIVING, friends!!!!!! Self harm is a super difficult obstacle to overcome, and I just wanted to be there for anyone facing it. I have a passion about this because it’s super tough and so draining mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Whether it be through encouragement, hanging out/talking when you’re struggling with the urge, or even just being there to be a shoulder to cry on, I want to be a light for Jesus in the darkness of the world. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you are struggling !! I want to create a safe space and give encouragement. Okayy, I’m getting off my soapbox.
It’s insane what eleven days can do for a person mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard at first. There is unfamiliarity, a new environments to adapt to, lots of new people, new options of food (Chick Fil A on campus: hallelujah), and so many adaptations needed to succeed in such an environment. All that being said, I dove right into it. I embraced the uncomfortableness and delve deep into the unfamiliarity that I would call my home for the next four years. I made up tasks for myself such as finding someone new to talk to and hang out with if I went to eat alone. My psychology professor even mentioned the five second tool when entering a situation that makes you anxious or uncomfortable. Count for five seconds then go for it. “What is the worst that could happen?” I would ask myself. “What do I have to lose?” is another question I’d ponder upon in my head. With that in mind, I have become bold. Yes, I used to be outgoing and bold in Marion and in high school, but I never genuinely embraced who I truly was. I’m using gifts God created me to utilize for the expansion of His Kingdom. It’s honestly so exciting. Another question I ask myself while doing this at Panda Express or Jamba Juice (etc) is “Today could be going horrible for them. Why would you not just go for it and potentially turn their entire day around?” I also wrestle with the fact that everyone should be shown Jesus’ love. Why are we not spreading it more boldly? Loving others of different religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, background, whatever it may be, is SO IMPORTANT to being a Christian y’all!!!!! Showing that person God’s love could change their life. Planting that seed can look as simple as saying “Hey what’d you order?! Looks goood.” Bam, you started a conversation and can now go further with them by hearing about their story, background, or even go as far as sharing about beliefs. Building relationships is huge. What is the worst that could happen? Honestly? Being bold and having intentional conversations has brought me SO many amazing, intellectual friends that love Jesus and some that maybe don’t. Relationships can be challenging to maintain, but you have to at least start them before you can begin maintaining them. I’ve met numerous people in the past eleven days that have taught me various things about myself. As said before, I am bold. I am not afraid to embarrass myself or look silly. Enjoying deep, meaningful conversations is a huge part of who I am, and this is something I’ve realized over my time at GCU especially. I’ve realized what my outlets are and how healthy those outlets are for me. Another point I’ve recognized is the fact that having conversations about Christ is not as difficult as everyone makes it out to be. Sure, it is undoubtedly difficult at times if there is a disagreement or a topic comes up that you don’t see eye to eye on while viewing the subject. However, using it as a challenge to extend your faith and helping yourself grow is key. Being bold for Christ and showing His love and compassion for people has been something that has 100% changed the person that I am becoming. I’m really beginning to feel genuine growth within myself as I challenge myself in my faith, in relationships, and in class as well. God is good, and He has really shown up.