When I first came back to church in 2011, I was obsessed with “finding my purpose” in life. The book “Purpose Driven Life” was still popular around that time. I not only read the book- I took extensive notes in a special little hard-cover notebook that I bought just for the occasion. The notebook had the poem “Footprints” recessed into the wood on the front. It was very nice; I still have it and all the notes.
I would love to tell you that after reading and taking notes on every page of that book that a light bulb went off and I knew my life’s purpose. But, alas, I was still clueless.
We don’t always know why we go through hard things. Painful things. Depressing things. Heartbreaking things. Sometimes, there is a “reason” at the end, and we understand. Sometime there isn’t, and we are left wondering why. Why did this happen? But more importantly, why did God let this happen?
It goes by many names: existential depression, existential
crisis, existential anxiety, existential angst… but what is it exactly? It’s
pretty hard to describe if you’ve never experienced it. Here is the best definition
I’ve found so far:
I think I have finally figured out what my problem is: I’m addicted to self-improvement.
I don’t know when it
first started, but I think it was probably about seven years ago after I had my
fourth child. I hardly liked anything about myself. I didn’t like my body, I
didn’t feel like I was a good enough mom or wife, I yelled too much, etc.
Last night, I was having a conversation with Joe* about a sensitive issue for me and about how I have prayed and prayed about not only this issue but many others. He tried to encourage me, as he always does, but I went to my room feeling sorry for myself.
I tried to pray, but instead poured my frustrations out to God. I even called myself names and told God how worthless I was for not being able to change myself into the woman and mother I want to be. I have had this conversation many, many times with God, but tonight He gave me a word.