By Kristen Gulling
I won’t lie. The past three years have been a struggle for me. My father was gravely ill. My second marriage ended. My sons left for college for the first time. I had surgery and could not exercise (for some, that would be a blessing. For me, it was torture). I sold a beautiful home that my former husband and I had just built, left dear friends and moved to a new community. I was sad, lonely, anxious and fearful about what lay ahead. I was 46 years old and I was a disaster, at a place in my life that I never thought I would be.
I had no direction and no drive.
I was trying to be a good parent and help my sons make major life decisions but I couldn’t seem make any decisions about my own life. I was supposed to be “adulting” but really, it was all I could do to get from one day to the next. Almost daily, I would go into the bathroom, lock the door and sit on the floor and cry. Then I would fix my makeup, put on my game face and continue with my day as though I was perfectly fine.
But I wasn’t fine. I was angry--angry with those who had hurt me and angry with God for allowing it all to happen.
I kept hearing that ‘there is a purpose for the pain’ but I wasn’t seeing it. I stopped going to mass and I stopped praying. God clearly wasn’t hearing me so what was the point?
I spent several months in this funk, this awful place of fear, pain and frustration. I was stuck. My turning point came when I came across this quote: “Sometimes, God will put a Goliath in your life for you to find the David within you.” I’d always loved the story of David and Goliath--what’s not to love? David was the little guy (I’m 4’11” tall so I am always cheering for the little guy), the obvious underdog, armed only with a sling. It was David’s extraordinary faith in God that enabled him to face Goliath and bring him down.
David never questioned and he never doubted.
This type of faith was impossible for a Type A personality like me. I bought into the concept of “God’s plan” but I wanted to control the way that plan was implemented and I absolutely wanted to control the outcome. I was the complete opposite of David. When I read that quote, I knew I had to turn all my worries, pain and fear over to God. I needed to become more like David, but I didn’t know how.
In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us that “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He that receives you, receives me. And he that receives me receives Him who sent me.”
In order for me to reclaim my life and begin again, I had to lose myself to God, to open my heart and bring Him back.
I had to turn it all over to Him--the pain, the fear, the sadness, the anxiety. For me, this was a long process and was not always easy. It was often one baby step forward and two (or ten) giant steps back. But I persisted. I began to talk to God and to mediate. I learned to quiet my mind. I practiced gratitude every day. Over time, I came to a place of peace and acceptance. My anger and anxiety abated and I found myself enjoying the life God gave me. My way was not the best way. God’s way was the best way. I’d finally found the David within me.
If you are struggling with losing yourself to God, please know that you are not alone. Handing God your pain, frustration and worries is not easy.
It’s a continuous process and like anything worthwhile in life, it requires time, patience and effort.
But I promise you, the end result will be worth it. Losing yourself to God is liberating and will finally allow you to experience the peace and joy that God wants for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristin is a HR Adviser with the Department of Defense and a part-time personal trainer. She's committed to living a healthy life and loves helping others do the same. Fitness is her passion and she spends her free time boxing, lifting weights, and practicing yoga. But she's happiest when spending time with her three adult sons, Patrick, Brendan and Jack.