How Giving Up Taught Me to Value My Faith
By Thao Nguyen
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Polarity Magazine.
I’ve dealt with anxiety and occasional boughts of sadness for most of the latter half of my life. For the most part, I’m able to manage myself pretty well. But there was one point a couple of years ago where my thoughts became unbearable.
When my anxiety and sadness were at their very worst, I found myself not fearing death as much as I did before. To clarify, I have never been suicidal. No, what I thought was that the quietness of death didn't seem as horrible as the vacancy I felt in my soul at that point. And looking back, I realize now, that at that time, I did let myself die in an emotional sense.
I gave up. I stopped trying to enjoy life. I stopped putting effort into any of the things I did. I stopped caring about loving myself. I stopped feeling the presence of God in my life. I was empty and I felt only nothingness. I had essentially died to myself.
The things that kept me going were my faith and the love for my family and friends. As a Catholic, I know and believe that my life has a purpose and that God loves me with a love I could never begin to comprehend. At that point in my life, I didn't feel that. But I had faith that it was there. Even when things felt hopeless, I willed myself to believe that His love for me was there. That is what got me through my sleepless nights. I also had the constant reassurance from my loved ones that I was stronger than my thoughts and the empty feelings I had. The fear of letting them down is what gave me the strength to fight those feelings everyday. And it was through grace and perseverance that I was able to truly live again.
I couldn’t have done it alone. And that’s what brings me back to my faith. Before this happened, I had taken the peace of mind my faith gave me for granted. It was always something that was just there, and to be completely honest, it was never something I shouted from the rooftops. It wasn’t so much that I was ashamed, but more that I was afraid of the judgement, usually shown by a drawn out “ooooooooh” and subtle eye roll, that came when I told people that I was Catholic. But after experiencing the darkness that came when that faith was hidden from me, it’s something that I will never take for granted again. I would rather face persecution feeling peace with my beliefs, than be embraced by the world while I hide the most important part of me.
The point here is that we have to value the things we are given in life and not be afraid of being judged for what we believe and love. It is so easy to forget that just because something has been around for a long time, doesn’t mean that it can’t be taken away from us without warning. There’s really no point in being welcomed by society if it means rejecting what brings us happiness and peace. So I’m choosing to give up again. But this time, instead of giving up on life, I’m giving up on finding acceptance from the world.