Help! I’m Lost and I Can’t Find Myself!

Nobody enjoys losing their keys, their watch, or their TV remote. But at least when you lose such things, you can go looking for them. One of the most helpless feelings I have ever faced was when I lost something important to me, but could not go looking for it.

What was it that I lost?

I lost myself. It was not that I got lost while walking through the woods or driving around a city. No, I lost myself. I lost who I was a person, my goals, my dreams, my values, my beliefs. There were times when I felt like I was beside myself, looking into my brain, and saying, “Who is this person? I don’t recognize him. He has no connection with the past. No plans for the future. How can this be me?”

At one point during this time, I tried to write an “About Me” page for my blog, and the best I could come up with was:

Who I once was, I no longer am. Who I am now, I do not recognize. Where I am going, I do not know. So who is Jeremy Myers? Hang around, and maybe we can figure it out together.

I know. Gibberish, right? But that was my life. It made no sense. It had little meaning. There was no hope for the future. No significance to the past. Due to a series of events in my life, all my dreams and goals lay shattered at my feet. I was Humpty Dumpty, and I did not think I could ever be put me back together again.

I Once was Lost…

I lost myself as a result of following Jesus. I have always prided myself in trying to hear and understand all sides of an issue before I take a stance. The problem with doing this, however, is that you might end up losing some of the convictions, values, and beliefs that define your identity and drive your future goals. In the process of researching some things that were fundamental to who I was, I lost my job and all my friends, nearly destroyed my family, and fell into deep depression, bitterness, fear, and anger.

During this time, I wrote a blog posts which described how I felt.

…But Now I’m Found

I year after I lost myself, I recognized glimmers of something being rebuilt within my life. I wasn’t sure what it was, or where I was headed, but for the first time in a long time, I had hope. I also wrote a post I wrote during this initial recognition.

Today, there is more hope than ever before. Though I still feel that large portions of me are lost forever, I am beginning to see a new “me” emerging. And though I am fearful every day that this too will be smashed to pieces, I like what I see.

What happened? Where did the renewed hope come from? How did I rise from the dead?

Raising Citizen Kane

citizen kane rosebudWhile some of the healing came simply as a result of the passage of time, a large part of me was found because the movie Citizen Kane. The movie begins with Charles Foster Kane on his deathbed. His last word before he dies is, “Rosebud.” The movie then focuses on investigative reporters trying to figure out what he meant. They are unable to uncover the truth, but at the end of the movie we discover that although Charles Kane had become very rich and powerful, the time in his life when he was happiest was when he was a boy sledding down a hill in his backyard. “Rosebud” was the name of his sled.

During the time when I felt that who I once was had died, I frequently thought back to times in my life when I was happiest. I thought about where I was, and what I was doing in those times. I discovered two common themes in these memories: I was nearly always in nature, and I was nearly always reading or writing.

Writing a New Future

So like a drowning man trying to keep his head above water, I began to frantically read and write. And it seems to be working. I have a renewed vision for the future. I see God’s hand at work, even in the pain of the past. I see restoration and healing entering my relationships. I no longer feel like I’m lost.

Reading and writing will not work for everyone who feels lost, but it has always been something that brought me peace, joy, and a sense of direction. I am not sure what it might be for you. But the way to start is by being Citizen Kane and looking back to the times in your life when you were happiest and felt like your life had purpose and meaning. Find the common activities or themes in these times, and then pursue them. They should not be something sinful or addictive, for these always bring destruction. It may be a person, a place, or an activity, but whatever it is, it should bring light, love, and restoration to your soul.

Do you sometimes feel lost? So did I. And I still do. I have found that the best thing  to do is sit down, breathe, and wait for the light to arrive and hope to appear.

* * * * *

This post is part of the May Synchroblog. Here is a list of the others participants:


Comments

  1. Lori says

    I understand this lost feeling you are talking about and wonder if it’s something we all go through at one time or another. Your description of not being able to write about who you were describes much of my adult life. In the midst of my deepest, darkest depression a good friend advised that I find just one thing that was true, cling to that, and begin to question everything else. Finding myself again is proving to take more strength and courage than I have on my own. God continues to show me that I can only, truly find myself in him.

  2. says

    Jeremy,
    Thanks for sharing this and thanks for you opennes and honesty. My God continue to guide you on your journey. I’m sure so many others, like myself, can relate to this post.
    -Chris

  3. says

    This is beautiful, Jeremy. Yes I feel lost, and these days it feels a bit more like flying than drowning. Though I once wrote a post from the perspective of drowning, so I can definately relate to that, as well. And keep writing. It was my spiritual director who helped me see that writing is a huge, significant part of my prayer life, rather than something seperate or distracting. You also put Wilco in my head: “What you once were isn’t what you want to be anymore.” Blessings.

    • says

      Like flying? Hmmm. That is interesting. I sometimes feel like I’m spinning or have a weightless existence. I also like what your spiritual director said. Sometimes I can hardly tell the difference between writing and praying. I also sometimes feel that writing is worship.

  4. keri says

    thank you so much for sharing so honeslty— i feel very lost and at times it is both devastating and freeing. crying one minute, rejoicing the next. very confusing- but i would never go back! reading (books and blogs like this) has been a saving grace. it helps so much to know that i am not the only one. i am fortunate that the things that bring me the most joy are solo activities (painting/reading/gardening/running/hiking etc)- just me and God- i think if we pin our hopes on a person, or people, we will always be dissapointed.

    • says

      Keri,
      Yes, people almost always disappoint us. Even those closest to us. I cannot tell you how often I have hurt and disappointed my wife.

      BTW, have you ever been to the Bruderhof community? I think I might go there for the free dinner this Saturday. I have no desire to join their community, but I would like to see it.

      • keri says

        how self-centered i am- i didnt even think about all the people that i have hurt- obviously still have a lot of growing to do:(

        and the bruderhof-never been in the complex, but i have seen them around- they appear like they are amish (women in plain dresses with head coverings)- but they seem nice. especially if they are giving out free meals (are you sure these meals aren’t intended for the homeless? j/k )- you will have to blog about the experience- would be interested in hearing about it

        • says

          Keri,
          I didn’t intend it that way. Sorry. You’re not selfish. I am just coming down off a weekend where I disappointed my wife, so it was fresh in my mind.

  5. says

    Jeremy,

    I think we took similar directions in our posts. I don’t know if I recognized the change that I was going through when I was in the middle of it. Now, I constantly recognize that God is changing me, but I rarely know what that change will look like.

    -Alan

    • says

      I am headed over to read you post in a few minutes. The change has been (and still is) very painful for me and quite unsettling. Sometimes, I think it would be so much easier and safer to go back to the way I once was.

  6. says

    What a touching piece, Jeremy! Reading and writing can indeed help you out of feeling lost.

    Is is possible that religion played a significant part in you ending up feeling “lost”? It did for me. My young life plays like a soap opera that would never sell because it would be labeled “unbelievable”. Religion run amuck would be the central character. Many of the supporting figures in that religious drama ended up dead from suicide or murder. Most of the others were seriously scarred for life.

    Money, power, authority and control that have been central characters in the story of Christianty for most of its existence! The church, supported by her minions, has indeed been “she who must be obeyed” (and not questioned). Discovering that all is not well and that so much of what we were taught is questionable at best (and much of it for the benefit of said minions) can make us question almost everything about life and ourselves.

    My personal “foundness” comes not from focusing on my past and the shams and lies perpetrated by what and whom I was taught to trust, but from finding the real Jesus and following Him. My journey has led me to focusing on other people (instead of myself), trying in my own way to be the hands, arms and voice of Jesus to them. I mess up all the time, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

    • says

      Religion definitely played a role, especially in the areas of money, power, authority, and control, as you said.

      I am desperately chasing after Jesus and trying to learn as much as I possibly can about Him so that I can follow Him more closely, and reflect Him to the world.

      • says

        I never found Jesus in a book, like I never found love in a book. But I did find Him.

        Is it possible that He has already caught you?

          • says

            Perhaps I might better say that I have figured out some of the places where Jesus hangs out. Although the experiences of some may be different, I never, ever found Jesus in any “church”. I found religious people.

            To be honest, at first I didn’t recognize Jesus when I saw Him. It was kind of like the television show “Undercover Boss”. I know you don’t watch tv, but if you watch that show a time or two you might figure out where to look for Jesus.

          • says

            That is a great analogy.

            I think Brennan Manning tells a story about this…how a king disguises himself to go visit his people and see what they think about the king. It might be a children’s story… I wish I could remember more about it.

            Yes, I am learning to recognize Jesus too. I think you are further down the road than I am…

          • Sam says

            I’ve had my turn, but your last comment about the child’s fable (I know that one) sparked something. For many years I have searched for a very old fable that has eluded me. You’re well-read. Do you know the fable I’m about to describe:

            A man works as a common workman. He can tell no one who he is (a king?) There is something about sheep and wool in the story. If he reveals his identity, something great will be lost. (Maybe the people have to figure out who he is?) I read the story in a set of my father’s books when I was six.

  7. says

    Jeremy,

    Thanks for sharing your self with us here. I too understand that lost feeling. I too know what it feels like to not know who I am or where I went. It is good that you have found something that will begin to leave lasting impressions on you that you can recognize later as the real Jeremy Meyers. Take care. :)

      • says

        My life has allways been controlled by others and self esteem i have none. Even though i have turned to god for help with everything Im lost and severe depressed . I still live my life around others because being controlled mentally that i have no meaning to my self. Ineed rescued and to learn to care about my self but just have no energy or any thing to look forward too. I want so bad to have a life ..i need help and don’t know how to do it for my self. I wished there was a place i could go and be taught to care about my self.

  8. Lost2 says

    Your story really resonated with me because I too feel as if I should be writing and I just love being in nature.
    I’ve felt lost for years now and there doesn’t seemt to be any light for me. Not that I was consistently praying, but I recently stopped all together because I felt like nothing ever happened not even for others I prayed for.

    • says

      I know what you are talking about with prayer. I stopped praying for a long time too because it seemed that whatever I prayed for, I received the opposite. When I didn’t pray, at least some of my hopes and needs were met.

      Have you written about your experiences anywhere?

    • says

      I agree about movies, art, and music. I often think that “secular” artists have a better feel for the pulse of what God is doing in culture than we Christians do. I have frequently learned more about mission and service by listening to a song or watching a movie than by reading and studying the Bible.

  9. says

    thanks for sharing, jeremy. these posts are so good. i really like the thought that there’s waves of lostness, that none of this is a once and for all & when we feel it, there’s hope as we hang in, hang on, find what’s good, wait, breathe.

    • Ant Writes says

      Thanks for sharing, Jeremy. It seems like you were watching over my shoulder as I was going through the same stuff 6 years earlier and you tried to copy me :). But, it was something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but yet, any Christian who truly walks in the path of our Lord will have these “impasses” as I like to call them. I take it as a rebuke as well as a steering in a specific direction. But since I’m stubborn, and I think my way is best, I lost my way TWICE, and I was silly enough to go back to the same place I got lost. This is when I KNOW it’s grace. ;)

      • says

        I think God often takes us on the same path as others because (1) it works in refining us and drawing us closer to him, and (2) those who have traveled it before can encourage and help those who are traveling it now. Thanks for your encouragement!

  10. says

    Hi Jeremy – I’m just now getting around to finding time to take in all the wonderful posts from this month’s synchroblog. Thanks for sharing this part of your story – I too have felt lost at times – like you said, sometimes I still do. What I have found is that listening to or reading other’s stories helps me fell unlost – I think it has something to do with connecting with God through others.

  11. Giang says

    I also feel lost. Who am I? What do I do in this world? What can I even do? Nothing? So I shouldn’t be here then ? And I feel cold. I lost interest in doing anything. I don’t have a goal, a dream, a purpose, completely nothing. I have once tried to live for today and enjoy life, enjoy things around me. But the lost feeling came back again. It was only a temporarily solution and it’s failing now. I even thought about killing myself to go to heaven.

    • Sam says

      Giang, There are many things you can do. Volunteer to help at a school. Offer to help out at the animal shelter. Walk your neighbor’s dog. Bake some cookies and take them to a neighbor. Offer to help feed the homeless or at a soup kitchen. Volunteer to read children’s books during story hour at the library. Whatever you do, look at the people, smile, and say “I’m Giang. What’s your name?” God knows your name and theirs. When you meet people and they respond positively, talk to them and find out their interests.

    • says

      Giang,

      I completely agree with what Sam wrote. Also, it might be wise for you to seek out a counselor or psychologist to talk to. When I faced deep depression, I never wanted to go to sleep because I knew that I would have to wake up the next morning to a day that was worse than the one I had just gone through.

      Several things helped. One of them was learning to focus on other people. That is what Sam proposes. I also went to see a counselor who helped me work through some issues. I wish there was some other way I could help…

  12. Selvam, Sivagangai says

    Jeremy Myers, I am happy for you. May you bring hope and joy to the people around you. May you be happy and peaceful.

  13. shanu says

    hey Jeremy, i found this post on top when i googled that i m lost and cant find myself again, that was when i discovered that i’m not alone and not the only one who has experienced this horrible experience..reading ur post was kinda comforting and brought hope…but these days i’m really getting more and more scared because nothing i’m trying to be myself again seems to be working and i’m angry and scared all the time thinking about present and future…i feel like i have lost everything, my dream, my passion, myself just because of a stupid decision i took last year..but i fixed it as soon as i could, then why’s still happening to me..why its feeling like there’s no way out of this…i do have a idea of what i’m missing of life but that only makes me more scared..i really think there’s no way out.. :(

    • says

      Shanu,

      I know the feeling you describe quite well. It gives me shivers to think about the time I was in that exact same place. Every day was worse than the one before, and I dreaded going to sleep at night, because I knew the next day would be even worse.

      I have nothing to say which can help get you through it. I am sorry. Do know that you are not alone. Also know that others have been where you are, and they got through it, and you will too. It may take months or even years (mine lasted about 3-4 years).

      This may not help, but looking back now, I believe that this dark period of time in my life was so that God could get rid of a bunch of bad ideas about Him in my head. He showed me that He was not the type of God I thought He was. He was much more forgiving, gracious, kind, patient, and loving than I ever imagined.

      Don’t give up. Keep pressing forward, taking one day, one hour, one breath at a time.

      Feel free to yell and scream at God if need be. He can take it. That is also something that helped me… true honesty and openness before God about how I felt and how angry I was at Him for how my life was going.

  14. ale says

    I´m too going through the same thing right now.
    Even though I know God has a purpose for this, I am very tired of this season in my life…
    I feel so bad about myself for being angry at God, because I know that He only wants the best for me, I am feeling pressured about what I should do or don´t do has a Christian, I mean, I´m supposed to be feeling joy no matter what, to have patience, to trust God, to read the Bible, etc … but right now it just doesn´t feel like that,I feel that God doesn´t answer my prayers,or that maybe I lost my opportunity to be used in some way by Him, or that I lost my future because of the bad choices I have made .
    I felt like nobody understood me, the people who i´ve talked to always tell me to find my passion, to do what I like,but I don´t really know that right know, if I knew I would not be feeling like this …
    Your story really helped me not to feel like I am the only one like this, that it is just a process (a hard one), and I will think about my past and analyze what made me happy before and see what I can find about myself .
    Thank you very much for sharing (and sorry for my english hehe)

    • says

      Your English was fine. Thank you for commenting.

      It is difficult to talk to others about these topics, because they sometimes condemn us for having such feelings or thoughts.

  15. Sel says

    I’m a believer who is so lost, she’s buying into the insidious lie that ‘I’m not real to God’. Way to feel lost on so many levels. I’m truly just hanging on by my fingernails. I know I’m buying into a lie, so one would think I could simply call it that and move on, right? Feelings lie, the truth will set you free – yes my head knows the truth. Meanwhile I struggle daily, putting this lie from me. What are you meant to do when worship music is nothing more than a pleasant drone? When you can’t connect the God dots, so Bible reading is out the window. Giving church away because it’s exhausting pasting the smile. Giving friends away because you know to be your authentic self will drive them away anyway. Floating, disconnected, going through the motions, fooling noone. Praying for Jesus return because doing life like this is Hell.
    I’m sorry to vent, what a way to witness to those who don’t know Christ.

    • says

      Sel,

      Thank you for your brutally honest post. I have lived all the things you describe above and in some ways am still living some of them. I know what it is like to not want to go to church or to be open with my friends because the fear of being rejected if I was truly honest. I cannot give you an easy answer on how to get to the other side of this. I do know that God loves you and wants you to know that without any doubt. I also know that God desires for us to really know Him, so much that He paid the ultimate price so we could see the reality of who He is. Keep clinging to Him and crying out for His presence and He will show Himself to you. Even when all you can do is scream at him like an angry child, He never walks away, in fact, I believe He appreciates our angry outbursts more than he cares for a praise song that we don’t really mean.

      I would encourage you to seek out some trustworthy friends that can walk through this with you. We are not meant to do this life alone, and when we cannot drown out the lies of the evil one ourselves, we need those friends who will speak the truth into our lives no matter what. It is difficult to trust enough to open ourselves up to the possibility of that rejection, but we need that and I believe we cannot be successful without it. Find friends who will speak the truth of who you are in Christ and the truth of God’s character, and the truth of what He has done and will continue to do for you, and not those who give glib platitudes. Find friends who do not always have to have an answer, but can simply say “that sucks, I don’t know why that is happening to you, but I love you and God loves you”. I know I have these friends in my life, and I could not have gotten through all the things I have without them.

      In Christ,
      Pastor FedEx

      PS Don’t worry about how this looks to the unbeliever, most of them want genuine authentic struggle instead of the plastic Sunday morning “I’m fine” Christians they generally encounter. They can tell what is real, and what is just a façade, and your struggles are real, and they can relate to that, trust me.

    • says

      Sel,

      You sound exactly like I did when I wrote this post. Exactly.

      For me, it was helpful to separate “God” from all the other stuff we have built up around God. If you don’t like Christian music, don’t listen to it. I started listening to “secular” music during my time in the wilderness, and found it to be amazingly therapeutic and worshipful.

      So you don’t want to go to church and paint on a smile? Good! Don’t go. It will seem strange for a while, but start to look for ways God teaches you and encourages you on your own, without the mediation of Sunday service.

      Yes, it seems like hell. Yes, each day seems worse than the one before.

      There is nothing I can say that will get you through it faster. Just know that God has not abandoned you, and it doesn’t sound like you have abandoned God. To me, it sounds like God is trying to lead you away from everything with a “Christian” label SO THAT you can follow Jesus in a way you never knew possible.

  16. beenz says

    i love da way u expressd ur feeelings i lost myself cant find myself anywhere heart goes on a diffrnt path n brain on a another i m never happy anymore i dont knw wat i am doing most of the time, m so lost… but wat u wrote is beautiful… :)

  17. Jonathan says

    I don’t know if anyone will answer, but this is how I feel lately. I miss my old self. If this is the new me of God, I thought his way was supposed to be better? I don’t believe that. It has to be something else.

    • says

      One possibility is that you are in transition. Many people have called it “the dark night of the soul.” It is a time of autumn and winter in your life, when the summer growth is dying and fading away. But spring is coming, and with it, new growth and new life! Be patient with what God is doing now, as painful as it can be.

  18. mj says

    i miss myself .. whenever i reach to a certain point where i find the key to heal my lost feelings , life takes a turn n im lost again .. every time a new key to be found so i got tired of it and let myself go with lost feelings few years back .. time passing by n im realizing that i cant afford going on like this as its gonna snatch away all my years from me like this..5 years back i found out that complete privacy is the key right now to stand back on my feet again n find myself, i got married .. i lose myself when im with someone i guess ..

  19. Ayushi says

    Thanks for the solution you given in the story you expressed very well. I lost my self completely I feel a deep hollowness in my heart, I don’t know how to react for the particular situation I don’t feel like to talk any one and near to destroy my relationship with my husband I am searching something and I don’t know what it is.

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