Now, since it’s Christmas Eve (and the main celebrating day for Kell’s family), you might find it odd that first, I’m posting … and second, I don’t seem to be posting about Christmas.
But … I am posting about Christianity! And Christianity is the most Christmasy thing out there, bub. In fact, Christmas is kind of the origin of Christianity (or, anyway, the origin of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ).
So settle down on this Christmas Eve, or whenever you are reading this post, and let me tell you about some personal problems I’ve been having and how God has been knocking me over the head with the solution until I finally realized my head was ringing from the knocks!
One of my favorite songs recently has been God Only Knows by For King & Country, a Christian pop or rock or I-don’t-understand-genres-it’s-not-a-hymn-though … anyway, it’s a song, and you can listen to it on YouTube.
I find this song highly inspiring—and it made a huge change in my life—and I wanted to write a blog post about it.
You see, I’m a teenager—an older one, anyway. A teenager’s big deal is, “No one understands me.” *insert whiny tone* *insert me rolling my eyes even though the point of this post is that I felt like that*
Now, I don’t know if I’ve ever hurled this at my dear parents (who don’t deserve it in the least, by the way, since I know they try to “hug” their “porcupine” daughter), but I’m reasonably sure I’ve used a version of it. Or thought it. Though I can’t remember specifics.
If I Change, How Will People Still Know Me?
Basically, as teens, we’re going through a lot of physical, mental, emotional, hormonal—basically, we’re going through loads of changes. As you change, what was familiar becomes different (⇐ definition of change, y’all), which means we feel like we don’t know ourselves … and how can anyone else, either?
I remember feeling like this a couple times, specifically when it was *coughcough* thattimeofthemonth *coughcough*, but not in general until the last couple years.
And it wasn’t an aggressive kind of “nobody understands me.” I wasn’t mad. I was just quietly sad. I felt strongly, and more and more as time passed, that I wasn’t understood … or rather that no one knew me.
That no one really cared enough about me to love me anyway.
That if they knew the true me, the nasty me buried underneath, that they’d hate me.
That whenever people complimented me—on qualities other than my looks and certain other things I considered superficial because they were just products of me (writing, playing instruments, etc.)—they were only doing it because they didn’t know me.
Nobody, nobody, nobody sees you,
Nobody, nobody would believe you.
They Were Loving a “Lie.”
I remember feeling strongly that if my grandparents really knew me, they wouldn’t love me at all—and I remember hating that they thought I was good because I was evil. I remember the enormous pressure of their unfailing love and their belief that I was perfect.
I remember wanting to get my act together before Grandpa died and hating that I wasn’t able to, hating that I was unworthy to be his granddaughter, hating that everyone else was such a fantastic child, grandchild, etc., to him. While I just plain sucked at it.
I was unloyal. And I hate unloyalty.
I wasn’t being truthful because it was a lie that I was a good granddaughter. And I hate untruthfulness.
I wasn’t being myself because the real me sucked. And I hate people who pretend to be something they aren’t.
If people knew me, they would NEVER say I was a good friend, was kind, cared about others, was a good Christian, was smart, was capable, a good worker …
You keep a cover over every single secret,
So afraid if someone saw them they would leave.
Ashamed … Even Though I Knew Better.
I was ashamed to bring myself before God.
In my head, I knew that God loved me no matter what, but I was still ashamed.
In my head, I knew I had only to go to God and be forgiven, but I was still unwilling.
In my head, I knew it didn’t matter that I was sinning for no reason … I didn’t need an excuse for my sins in order to receive forgiveness … I could still request grace even though I was being bad just for badness’s sake. But I was still unable to accept it.
Unrepentant. Stupid. Stubborn. Ignoring the issues as best I could, pretending I didn’t care (until I almost believed it), but agonizing over it still.
Every day you try to pick up all the pieces,
All the memories, they somehow never leave you.
I wasn’t doing well, but neither was I a mess.
I’m very controlling of my emotions. I only despaired once or twice; most of the time, I barely thought about it.
So don’t go thinking I was a constant bag of misery who needed a hug, someone was to be pitied or tragedized. (Remember, we’re not excusing grinches anymore! Even if that grinch is your neighborhood quirky redhead writer!)
I had a problem—but even my understanding of the problem was blurred, and most of the time I shouldered my way through life carelessly.
I didn’t care. I’d have an occasional breakdown, but otherwise, I wasn’t really disturbed, and I was functioning at pretty much 110% as always*.
*I wasn’t able to write broken characters, though, which is a … weird psychological thing. I mean, seriously, look at Before a Fall’s first draft! I have failed at Gibsoning! And Violet wasn’t as intense as she could’ve been, though that’s probably … good. ?
Even though I knew the solution, I would not take it.
I was sick, I knew I needed medicine, I knew where the medicine was and how to get it, I knew it would be without charge … but I was unwilling to “go there.”
In addition, you can know something with your head and not know it with your heart. You can know something with your head and force yourself to act on it, or you can remain passive because you aren’t “feeling it.”
I had the head knowledge. I knew God – kinda. But my heart wouldn’t accept it, and even my head was unwilling to give in. I felt that sin was too strong, but I also knew that it wasn’t.
I “Couldn’t” Be Good.
When my grandpa died, I had a lot of regrets—mostly because I couldn’t get my act together. I guess I thought a good granddaughter would’ve been perfect before he died.
Everyone else did such a better job taking care of him when he was sick. I couldn’t bear to see him like that; he meant so much to me, and I still don’t want to think of him hurting or weak or sick.
And I know, and I knew at the time, that it was my own pain I was avoiding—that I was only hurting him and my family when I distanced myself, especially emotionally.
I’d forced myself to bury him when he had his first stroke, so he died two months sooner in my heart than he did in reality. Which was, I suppose, a sort of coping mechanism, but one I afforded myself in my sin which no one else was allowed.*
For the lonely,
For the ashamed,
The misunderstood, and the ones to blame,
What if we could start over?
*Psst, not saying I shouldn’t have grieved—just saying I did it all wrong! And don’t y’all run to the comments and tell me I can grieve how I want. Grief doesn’t give you an a-okay to do selfish and cruel things to others. It just doesn’t.
A Miraculous Change … Sorta.
Now, I don’t know what exactly changed. I wish I had a huge “conversion story” (I was always a Christian—a Christian-actually-receiving-God-more-fully-again-gosh-He’s-so-patient story). But I don’t.
All I know is that slowly over November and in these last several weeks, I’ve felt able to accept grace, move past my sins, have a future beyond what has happened in the past, and throw off people and things that were holding me back.
Be a better Kell in Christ, that is.
And … you know what? That song really helped.
The Song Story
I added God Only Knows to my Kees & Colliers playlist as the recommendation of my friend, Andrea Cox (one of my mainstays as far as Christian encouragement, writing buddying, and fellowship goes). I was looking for songs about brokenness … not for me, of course.
I was okay.
It was Adele [the main character in my series Kees & Colliers] that needed the help. (Ain’t it always the character not you, though, writers? Am I the only one who does this accidentally?)
I liked the sound of it, added it to my playlist, and listened to it a hundred times throughout the month of November.
God only knows where to find you,
God only knows how to break through,
God only knows the real you,
But there’s a kind of love that God only knows.
“God ONLY knows the REAL you.”
This hit me on two levels.
First, God knows all my nastiness—my sins, my suffering, my anger, my incompleteness. God knows what I’m suffering. He came down to earth as a baby, was a child, was a teenager, was a young man, lived in a terrible time, suffered the worst of tortures mentally and physically, spent time with sinners …
God has experienced everything about me COMPLETELY, and He KNOWS. And He STILL loves me, unconditionally and eternally.
Second, God knows … the REAL me.
Why? Because God MADE the real me.
God fashioned me in my mother’s womb. He decided my personality, my tastes, my strengths. He knows my thoughts and feelings. He understand what I am … and He understands what I am to come.
Each of us has the potential to me a beautiful and unique human being, infinitely complex and infinitely precious, and God KNOWS the real me. And He is endlessly polishing, loving, encouraging, prompting, teaching, and healing to make that real me come out.
God gave me my strengths, and He is going to show me how to use them. He gave me the ability to follow Him, and He’s going to help me do so.
He gave me the ability to come to Heaven where none of my sins will exist anymore, and He is lighting the way.
He just asks me to give in to Him. To give Him the power. To toss my sins on His back and let Him bear them for me on the cross—in fact, He’s already done it: “It is finished.”
But is this just more head knowledge?
Miraculously, no. I’ve managed to accept it with my heart, too.
And I think having it rained down in my head through my own writing, through the song, and through other things has helped a lot. I think having a huge, traumatic event in my life, which shone light on other huge family issues, helped as well. (Weird how tragedy forms you!)
I’ve noticed a bit of a change in myself since this happened, too. I’m slowly opening myself to God’s plans for me as a person—instead of making up a persona for every situation, I just be the girl He created me to be. Instead of trying to fall back on myself, I rely on the strengths He created in me.
I’m more confident. I’m more calculated in my movements and decisions.
I’m more firm in my convictions and beliefs. I feel more able to hear truth and process it.
I’m not afraid to be an adult.
I’m starting to see a future for myself that doesn’t involve an empty void and possibly dragons. (Still might be dragons, though, if I ever get to catching up on my sister’s books.
Though *coughcough* SOMEONE HASN’T READ ANY OF MY BOOKS, even though she would absolutely hate them. #cheesyhistoricalromancesforthewin)
I’m not perfect—I never will be. But at least I’ve moved over a rough patch … and at least I know some truths now that I never did before.
Indeed, “God only knows.”
He only knew what was inside Kell, how to heal her, and He only knows what the amazing, doubtless, worryless, sinless Kell who He created will look like in Heaven when my true and only goal—to glorify and enjoy Him—becomes an endless reality.
“There’s a kind of love that God only knows.”
And … that’s it. ?
Well … I don’t really have any questions. Except HOW IS YOUR CHRISTMAS EVE GOING!?