Remember when Thursday changed everything? I felt ashamed, stupid, tainted, and cowardly. I was confused about what had happened that night, and maybe I will always be. But five hundred and forty-five days later, my life is still very contingent on that specific moment in time; it consumes my thoughts and actions and has nearly compromised my faith. Following Jesus makes life so incredib…ly difficult 90% of the time, especially when we are confronted with the reality of how broken we are on a daily basis. And if we really want to dig deeper, we enter into conflict with how the brokenness and sin consequentially impact the rest of our lives.
To preface my anecdote, let me explain what happened after that Thursday night a year ago. When I returned to campus for the school year, I spent the night nearly two weeks in a row with a friend because I couldn’t sleep alone. I ignored that guy for six months and pretended that our encounter never happened. Sometimes he’d send me a snapchat, but I usually didn’t reply. I was so thoroughly disgusted at myself for “letting” that happen, so I was in denial and depressed about everything. On the first day of February, I impulsively sent him a text message describing every feeling I had about him and that night, hoping that I could finally move on with my life.
Instead, we made up and decided to pursue our friendship again. We were snapchatting and talking about how he was coming home for Valentine’s weekend, and he casually mentioned visiting me. All of my friends had plans and my roommates were out of the apartment, so it seemed perfect. I was ramped up on hormones and decided that I wanted that. He (also being extremely hormonal) convinced me to send him pictures. I’ll never know why I did, but it felt good to feel desired by someone. I’m not “that girl,” yet somehow I am in every way. Of course I felt convicted afterwards, but that doesn’t change the choice I made.
Typical to his character though, he bailed at the last minute and left me hanging. I distinctly remember sitting on my bedroom floor, alone in the darkness the day before Valentine’s Day, feeling unloved, unwanted, and undesirable. I looked and felt like a crumpled, soggy wad of paper, heaving and sobbing as loudly as I could muster. For a moment while I was staring at the number glowing on my phone screen, I strongly considered calling up a douchebag guy that I hardly knew to hook up. Wouldn’t that make my friend wish he’d been with me instead? Rather than that, I took a dozen Advil and a long, hot shower to numb my heartache. Honestly, it was a miracle I didn’t die that night. I texted him later that week and said I was glad he didn’t visit, because it would’ve been a huge mistake on my part. I tried cutting myself off from him but couldn’t do it completely. I was ambivalent towards him in the sense that I equally felt addicted to his attention and hateful for constantly hurting me.
Fast forward to May, we’d “moved past” him hurting me again, and I thought for sure that he actually cared about me. He’d ask for pictures, and I’d send them. He wanted me again, so that meant he cared, right? After speaking with someone older and wiser about what I’d been going through, it was becoming unquestionably clear that what I had been doing was not only wrong but very damaging. So again, I attempted to cut ties with him by texting him and telling him that I was done. Of course later I couldn’t stand not receiving his attention, so we cleaned the slate (AGAIN) and tried pursuing strictly a friendship (AGAIN).
October came around, and he mentioned graduating from basic soon. Since February, I had been scheming to hurt him in ways he’d hurt me. I was obsessed with this new desire for revenge and sought out zero positive outlets to help me manage those feelings. I wanted to take back the virginity he stole from me, and why did celibacy matter if I’d already lost it to him anyways? What would be so bad with doing it a second time? When he messaged me and said he wanted to visit as soon as possible, I have no freaking idea why, but I gave in and agreed. I’ll spare the graphic details of my demise, but I was a hot mess; I got myself a little tipsy with some liquid courage, had sex to supposedly prove a point to myself, and sent him packing the next morning after he bought me breakfast. October 29 was the Saturday that changed everything too.
I tell this story because I royally f**ked up, because I’m inherently royally f**ked up (mankind = sin). So yes, Christians mess up ALL OF THE TIME. I guess that’s why the Gospel is so unfathomable to the world, because anyone that puts faith in Jesus is guaranteed salvation in Heaven… after lying, sneaking around, having sex, sending degrading nude pictures, or hurting others (and oneself). I have no idea why Jesus would save someone like me, but that’s why it’s called faith isn’t it? Faith is believing when something is beyond your control or understanding. I realize how damaged I am now, so I’m going to counseling this time. The thoughts that ran through my head belonged to a version of me I’d never seen before and contradicted everything I believe in, but nonetheless was still me. I don’t want to be “that girl” anymore, but now it is a part of me. I want to learn from all of this and try to change. I want to honor God with my body, but I can’t do it on my own. And if you are reading this and can’t either, know that other people are going through this with you. I am going through this with you.
Moral of the story: sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and ask for help, even if that means professional help. It wasn’t worth taking matters into my own hands and acting impulsively, and I have no excuse for the way I acted. I nearly forfeited everything I stood for to enact revenge on someone that hurt me, and all of it could have been avoided if I would have dealt with my anguish a year ago when it all began.
You are never too tragic for the love of Jesus, I promise.
And trusting that phrase is a journey that I’ve only just begun. Life is a fight to the death, but we have to believe that we are worth the fight to stand a chance.