I sit cross-legged on my bed in the dark, my hands clinging to my chest. Tears pour down my face and onto the comforter below. My entire body tenses as I struggle to take the next breath. I intentionally muffle my own cries to not be heard, but faint, pain-filled whispers still flow from my mouth:
I can’t do this.
You’re asking too much.
This hurts so badly.
I don’t want to feel anymore.
Please just kill me . . .
As much as I’d like to say this “dark night of the soul” has only happened once after some uniquely intense tragedy, that simply isn’t true.
I’ve reached the end of myself many times, and even just admitting that is incredibly difficult.
Heartbreak, betrayal, loneliness, and fear — all related to my sexuality — have shaken me to my very core and brought me to the end of myself. Continued existence feels unbearably painful. In these moments, I’ve reached the brink of giving up hope and letting despair take full control.
More often than not, this pain has been prompted by relational struggles and difficulties.
A couple years ago, after my current roommate moved in with me, I found myself journaling this while hot tears streamed down my face:
I am so keenly aware of my own brokenness and selfishness. I’m holding on so tightly, and all that’s left is jealousy, bitterness, and pain. I ruin everything in my guy friendships. My desire to get close only makes them feel uncomfortable. What he really wants is someone with whom he can talk about women, marriage, dating, and how to be a good husband and father. Someone who doesn’t always bring up singleness or struggle or the desire to get married without the ability. All I bring is a dark cloud into his life. I bring disgust. I bring confusion and unnecessary carefulness on his part. He doesn’t want me. He wants a real man and not some stupid faggot who whines about not being able to date or talk about guys the way he talks about girls. I’m too much work. I’m not worth the effort. He’ll leave and feel relieved. Maybe he’ll even find another guy he’d rather live with. Someone he doesn’t have to worry about falling in love with him. He’d be glad to find me gone. I’m lost and alone and ready to die.
I’ve wrestled with passionate romantic desires that seem to have no hope of being fulfilled, utterly wasted. I’ve cried myself to sleep because I fear I will never find someone to match my relational intensity.
Or even worse, I fear I might find this zeal with another same-sex attracted man. But rather than that relationship bringing joy and inspiring closeness, it only causes pain, suspicion, and temptation.
In the midst of heaving sobs, I’ve attempted to claw my heart out of my chest and throw it across the room.
But there has been one constant in all these “end of myself” instances. One glorious reality that permeates all of these agonizing evenings.
Jesus was with me.
He was there sitting next to me with his hand on my back. He was there willing my continued existence and holding me together by the word of his power.
He was there giving me the strength to take the next breath. He was there showing empathy in the midst of heartbreak, betrayal, and loneliness.
He was there reminding me that every millisecond of my agony in the path of obedience is producing an eternal weight of glory. He was there telling me that my redemption has been securely purchased by his death and resurrection.
He was there promising me that my capacity for love is not a waste. He was there kissing my head and telling me how fervently he loves me.
Coming to the end of myself is where I most often encounter my Savior.
Does that mean my pain is instantly alleviated or all my questions get immediately answered?
But the unshakable promise of his constant presence provides me with hope in the moment and the ability to survive even the darkest of nights.
What has it meant for you to reach the end of yourself? Who or what did you find at the end of yourself? What promises of Scripture do you hold onto most tightly in the midst of relational hardship?