Hey guys! It’s been awhile. I’ve missed ya! :)
My friend Morgan Landskron had a revelation the other day, and it honestly made me cry, because I can relate so well that it’s scary. Hopefully this will be an encouragement to you as it was to me; thanks for letting me share your beautiful and honest words Mo! <3
April 2, 2014.
I cried tonight. Real, authentic tears, for the first time in what seems like forever. Over the past two years, I’ve been building up an emotional wall. I kept building it higher and higher, hoping that I could block out all my pain, my sins, all my regrets, my shame, and my failures. But most of all, I’ve been trying to block out my problems. I guess, I was hoping that, if I blocked out all my problems, I wouldn’t have to deal with them, and I could go on living a happy life. Little did I know, that all the while I was building this wall to block everything out, everything kept getting in somehow. And little by little, my problems kept piling up, until I became emotionally numb. I didn’t feel anything. I’ve felt apathetic. I didn’t care about anyone, or anything. I didn’t care if I succeeded, or failed. I didn’t even care if I tried, so I just didn’t. After a while, I got so used to my apathy that I tricked myself into thinking it had gone away, when really it was still there the whole time. These past two years, I’ve just felt dead. And this whole time, I’ve been trying to figure out why. I wanted to blame all my problems on everyone else. They were the reason for my pain. It wasn’t my fault. It couldn’t be, could it? But it was. In my efforts to push out my feelings, I managed to also push out my family and friends, and the one person that I cared most about. This whole time I was trying to avoid heartache, and all I did was create more and more of it.
I searched for the answer to why I was in so much pain. I searched for a long time. And I finally figured out that it wasn’t because of others, but because of the fact that I had blocked out God. My Savior, my Redeemer, the only person that I could TRULY rely on in my life, and all I did was push him away. I think I blamed him partially for my pain. I asked questions like, “Why? Why am I going through what I’m going through? Why won’t you fix me?”
I wanted easy answers, and an easy way out. I didn’t want to work at it. I wanted God to do it all for me. I wanted my life to suddenly become perfect without me lifting a finger. And when that didn’t happen, I became angry and bitter. So I pushed God out. I stopped going to church, I stopped praying, I stopped singing, I even stopped playing my guitar, the one thing I love to do most.
Now, you’re probably wondering what brought on the tears and revelation tonight. Honestly, it has been God working on me all this time, and I’m only seeing it now. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my future. I just recently made the decision to attend Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, CA. At first, the reason I wanted to go was because I thought being at a Christian school would fix my majorly messed up life. I thought I’d just wait till bible college to change, and then everything would be “just peachy”. But I’ve been realizing just in the past few days that I can’t wait till then to change. I have to change now. The past few weeks, I’ve been trying to reconnect with God and find it in me to soften my heart. I was reading my bible some, and reading devotionals that I receive daily through e-mail(I know, I must still be in the dark ages or something if I still use e-mail). Each day, these devotionals give me a prayer to pray, and then have a message from a scripture. And every single day, and every single prayer, has been just what I needed. They have said perfectly what God has been trying to teach me. One of the prayers from a few days ago said just what I have been searching for. It reads, “God, please, please give me an insatiable desire and thirst for Jesus, for Your Word, my Savior. Open my eyes that I may see myself as You see me, that I may see and love others from Your viewpoint, that You would be the absolute center and guiding light of my life. Refresh my daily walk that I may walk with You in quiet places, in heavenly places, and throughout all of life into eternity. Thank You, God, my source of life and comfort and being. Bless You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.” This is what I have been looking for, and as I’m reading this right now, I realize that tonight is an answer to that prayer! I used to have such a passion for scripture, and for apologetics, and had such a desire to grow closer to God daily. That is what I have been missing, and that is what I have received tonight. I’ve been so caught up in my sins and failures, and I finally just broke my wall down tonight. My walls came a-tumblin’ down.
One of the verses that has stuck with me the past few years is James 1:2-3, which says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)” this verse has been such an encouragement to me! I used it in a speech I wrote a few years ago titled, “Why Does God Allow Suffering”. *yes, I give you permission to laugh here*
The speech was very therapeutic to me at the time, but I obviously didn’t get it through my thick skull. But what is so cool is that I can still look back at that speech and this verse, and still learn so much from it. I love the song by Tenth Avenue North, The Struggle. They played it at a Winter Jam I attended a few weeks ago, and the chorus spoke to me in a way it hasn’t before. It says, “Hallelujah, we are free to struggle. We’re not struggling to be free! Your blood bought and makes us children, so children drop your chains and sing!!” We are FREE to struggle! We’re not struggling to be free? We’ve already been freed by Jesus’ dying for our sins! I haven’t been chained all this time. I have been holding on to my chains. All I have to do is drop them! t is truly amazing, the ways of God. As I sit here typing out all of this, I am so thankful for all the pain that I went through, because I know God is using it for my benefit. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Another passage that has been a blessing to me is this, ““Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)”. I love that part at the end. I love how the NIV puts it; “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34 NIV)” I remember the first time I read that verse, I literally said, “Woah. Mind. Blown.” Tomorrow will worry about itself, and each day has enough trouble of its own, so why put more trouble there by worrying about everything?? And that’s exactly what I was doing, worrying, adding more trouble. But God reassures me that I don’t have to worry. What a BEAUTIFUL promise from our Father in Heaven!
Now, I know a lot of you won’t read this, but for those of you who do, I pray that if you are struggling with worry, or fear, or depression, or apathy, or any of the things that I went through, that this will touch you in some way. And I ask that you help keep me accountable. Ask how I’m doing with The Lord. Challenge me to do new things, not ignore the hard things, and to continually put my trust in God.