Two years ago everything seemed perfect in my life. I had a new city to call my home, a new church with so many potential friends, a gorgeous house… by that summer, my dad had lost his job, I lost an unborn sibling, and I had no close friends. During the good time, Jesus seemed so near I could almost feel Him. He was blessing us CONSTANTLY and I could see it! I could feel His love for me so deeply! I was on fire for Him! But that summer, He put me through deep waters. I asked Him “why?” so many times. “Why did You take my dad’s job away? Why did you take away that baby who would have blessed us so much?” I struggled. My fire went so low, I wondered how it wasn’t quenched sometimes. I tried my hardest to keep my tears and doubts hidden, but sometimes they came without my welcome. At one point I felt this deep darkness so heavy and physically somewhere behind my forehead. I stumbled upon a quote about spiritual attacks, and realized I was under siege. I cried out to God, and I sobbed and asked for Him to rebuke the darkness that was so heavy upon me. I asked for His love and protection from evil. I asked Him to take away my doubt and to keep me close to Him. The heaviness went away miraculously. I felt so free. But my fire didn’t come back with a fury, as I expected it to. It had never left, and it was bigger than before, but it wasn’t huge like I wanted it to be. Days went by when I didn’t read the Bible. I had failed to stick to a reading plan so many times, so I decided to go the passive route instead of one of perfection. I forgot to pray, and when I remembered that it had been days since I had really talked to God, I felt too ashamed to pray. And yet I wondered why God felt far away. I was missing three major things:
I failed to realize I didn’t need to be perfect or passive about my relationship with God. I needed to be PASSIONATE. My passion and love for His Word should outdo any passivity. I should have realized that perfection is never commanded, nor is it possible. Perfectionism is a form of pride, a way of showing how much I can handle on my own. God wasn’t angry at me for failing to read the Bible through two years in a row. But I know He delights in us delighting in His Word, no matter in what order, how fast we go through it, or how many chapters we get through.
I failed to praise Him. I have so much, you guys. I have a beautiful house, running water, food, clothing, family, friends… and yet I took the time I could’ve spent praising Him for those things and instead I complained about the things I don’t have. I HAVE JESUS AS MY SAVIOR AND BEST FRIEND. AND YET I TAKE THE TIME TO COMPLAIN ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO BUY ORGANIC BEEF. Goodness y’all, I am a fallen human being.
Patience is something we learn when we’re little right? Well, I’m still learning. I was taught a huge lesson in patience when I was 12 years old, and it was one of those times when I saw God work extremely directly in my life. Like, no coincidences possible, it was GOD. I had been praying diligently, every day for something for five months, and God hadn’t answered my prayer yet. I was extremely discouraged and wondered why God wasn’t answering me. That Sunday a quote was on the church bulletin about delayed answers to prayer, and that moment I gave everything to God and told Him I trusted His will completely. The. Next. Day. Literally, my prayer was answered. And yet, I’m still struggling with patience.
I was lacking perseverance. When I got two days into diligently studying my Bible, I would make excuses and waste time doing something else. I would be convicted, start doing what I knew I needed to be doing, and then realize I wasn’t perfect enough and I would quit. You can’t get far in your walk with Jesus without perseverance.
“Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.”
Matthew 13:5-6 (ESV)
I don’t want to be rocky ground. I don’t want to abandon the God who loves me, ME, a horrible sinner who can hardly go a moment without sinning in some way, no matter what I go through. Jesus was crucified for me. I can do the littlest things that He asks of me, like reading my Bible, talking to Him, loving those around me, and most importantly loving Him. But its a struggle, I’m not even going to pretend its easy. It’s hard to speak kindly to my family. It’s hard to keep from gossiping to my friends. It’s hard to pick up my Bible. And it’s hard to go to the Lord in prayer for anything and everything, especially if He’s making me wait for what I ask Him for.
I’m fighting every day, every moment not to fall into passivity, criticism, impatience, and apathy. I’m fighting to be a passionate, praising, patient, and persevering child of God. Are you struggling similarly? What are you currently fighting for? Leave a comment, I’d love to know and pray for you!