With God's grace this pessimist has been given new eyes: the only thing that matters is God's glory. Sometimes he lets me screw up in my life to glorify His. To remind me of my complete and utter dependance. To teach me that if anything is true, it's that people will always, always let me down. But God won't!
Right now I'm in a place where God has taken away everything that comforted me: relationships, church (okay, that's due to a bad choice on my part but weekend premium ends in June and then my bank account will shrink but my spirit will grow), prestige, performance, plans. He has knocked down every single idol I had and lovingly forced me to look upon Him for the first time in a long time. Possibly for the first time ever, short of a tiny glimpse last summer.
For a few weeks this spring, I felt like a rat in a maze. I didn't know where I was going (still don't), didn't know how to get there, and didn't know how to find out how to get there. I'd turn one way and God would graciously but firmly slam the door in my face. Turn another way... slam. Let's try this way... nope. Right now, I'm hedged in. And there's nowhere to turn and nothing to do but turn to Him. God's grabbing my be the shoulders and saying, look at me! Psalm 139 agrees:
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
It's beautiful in its simplicity, really. Stunning. And I'm still wrestling with it. My heart wants to harden. To be stubborn. Sometimes I think that if I can't go in the direction I think I want to go, I'll just plop down like a toddler throwing a tantrum, and I'll sit in this sh*t because I'm so silly and I still feel like I still need to show myself that I'm in control. And God shakes His head and laughs at me. How could I possibly know what's best for me?! If I'm walking in His will, my life will glorify God. What could be more fulfilling than that?
All that to say, I'm struggling. I would love to come out on the other side of this a new person. I'm so tired of my life, and God is willing to offer me the bread of life and living water! He makes everything new. Not just better, but brand new! He makes beautiful things out of the dust. If I may be so bold as to say this, I think I have a taste of what it felt like for Jacob to wrestle with the spirit on the shores of the river (Genesis 32:24-30). When he won, he was a new man and he earned a new name and a new hope of the promised land. I want to come to the other side of this storm and be able to say, wow, I gave it all I had, and God gave the rest.
I digress. My thoughts are going in 1,000 different directions, but my point is this: the Bible is not a great book filled with inspirational quotes. Its motivation goes far below the surface if you let it in. Mark Driscoll says, "Until information is practiced as faith, you lack transformation. God's truth hasn't changed you." I see that's where I am now. I started to let God in last summer, but ambition and busyness and external contentment won out. I didn't feel like I needed God. So He orchestrated things in such a way that life brought me to my knees. And, while I'm there, He's put it on my heart to pray about it. The beautiful thing is, God is most glorified in us when we are most dependent on Him. When I feel my heart hardening because I think I can't bear the pain, I have to let God bear it for me, because He's willing: He says, "your burden is heavy and my yoke is light. Let me trade you."
Psalm 40:1-3 gives me hope:
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
and put their trust in him.
AND HE WILL NOT BREAK THESE PROMISES. It's not in His nature.
The Word of God is a living and breathing thing. There's a life force in those pages. And I'm completely guilty of ignoring that promise, or even scoffing at the fact that it exists: People who quote the Bible left and right and only do things 'through Christ who strengthens them' are weak. Sound familiar? It's what Satan wants us to believe, that's for sure.
I have a friend who has lost 60 pounds this spring through hard work and dedication. She posted a picture on Facebook and someone commented, "How'd you do it? Don't say healthy food and exercise!" But of course, that was the answer. It hit me that in the same way, I've been looking for an easy way to live the hard Christian life. It doesn't make sense. The answer is right in front of me, but it's not a painless path!
I've been asking my pastor, my friends, my counselor: What do I do? I hear God asking for my heart, I see Him moving in my life, but I don't know how to answer. I don't know what he wants me to do. I don't know how to live in His will day in and day out. I still don't, but I do know this: it starts with the Bible. And it starts in conversation with God.
I have been desperately wanting a Christian mentor to tell me what to do and let me lean on them, but God has provided three false leads that have ended in disappointment. He says, lean on me instead. I can't go to church on Sundays right now, and in a way I think it's been good that God has taken away this 'easy' form of worship. No great band is going to sing for me and no tidy little sermon is handed to me. He's saying, a true relationship goes both ways. It takes work to maintain and I have big plans for you if you will turn to me. I have given up on flowery prayers, and sometimes hourly I just say to God, I can't deal with this right now. I can't make this decision. I can't handle this emotion. And I have to hand it to Him. I have no doubt He'll hand it back when I'm a little more prepared and the Way is a little more clear to me.
I bought some printed Bible verses from this Etsy shop last month and I'm so thankful that I did. I need to be surrounded by God's word and almost every wall in my apartment has something beautiful on it now. Everywhere I turn, I see His promises! This blog was created as an ongoing scrapbook of my life for better or for worse. For that reason, I've never sought out sponsors or done a giveaway, but these Bible verses on my wall make me so, so happy. I'd like to buy a print for one of you as a voice of encouragement and truth!
To enter this drawing, simply leave a comment sharing your favorite Bible verse. For a second entry, tell us why it's your favorite! Also, some of you have told me it's hard to post comments on Blogger. If you have trouble, just e-mail your favorite verse to me at theresemarie414 (at) gmail (dot) com to enter the drawing. I'll pick a winner at 9pm next Monday, April 30.
My favorite verse? I feel like I'm underlining every single thing I read when I open my Bible, but Psalm 5 has been especially wonderful right now.