A Prison for the Free

Lesson: Learning to address harsh reality and trust God to get me past it

Well, it’s just about midnight, and I’m thinking deeply about my life as I tend to do every night. I’ll admit, this post is long overdue.

May 26, 2016 was the 1-year “anniversary” of the end of the service trip I took in 2015 in hopes to learn more about God, to grow, to take risks for his glory, to step into a realm of uncertainty while fully trusting his promises nonetheless, to use my love and passion for God to benefit others, to make my first attempts to follow the biblical mandate to “make disciples of ALL nations”. It was a life-changing experience.

While overseas, I wrote a letter to myself–a letter filled with goals based on my newly experienced convictions. I and the rest of my group were supposed to use these personal letters to challenge ourselves and stay on track spiritually one year from that date.

So on May 26th I opened that letter. I tried to make it real, but not too personal (I had a feeling I’d be sharing it with you all). I will be completely honest and say that I had been dreading opening that letter. I knew I hadn’t completed everything in it. I knew my life had taken a drastic turn that has had such a negative impact on my walk with God. I knew I wasn’t where I had hoped I would be. I remember the sincerity that completely characterized me to the core as I sat in that London flat pouring my heart on paper. I’m incredibly hard on myself. Most people don’t know that beyond the sarcasm, I’m naturally sensitive. I’m very serious about my goals.

Well, in case you’re dying to read it (unlike me at the time), the letter read:

Christian,

You have come a long way by faith, and God has used you to do many things you would have never thought you were capable of, probably even with his help. Well, this is your check up from the neck up. You said you would be doing better in school. Do you have all of your assignments done? Are you AHEAD?!! How is the magazine? Have you sought God concerning where he’s leading it recently, and what he has for you to do? Have you officially started in obedience and announced that to your staff and to the world? Have you built more relationships? At least a few? Have you shared the gospel with anyone? Have you been studying God’s word and meditating on it day and night? Have you been increasing your knowledge of him through other theology books both for school and personal use? Have you found a church in Riverside? When it comes to school, are you learning or just striving for a grade? Keep your head up and stay encouraged. Also, if you can, look out for the Christian club at VVHS. Seek God about your singing group. Are you guys studying the Bible together in order to focus your singing on the gospel? It’s easy to sing about someone you’re far from; don’t fall into that trap. Be bold for Christ. Meet with someone today. Be confident. You are the completion of what God wants to use in this moment right now!

My heart sank as I read knowing that I did not do all I had promised myself to. Pleasing God is so unfathomably important to me because I truly and deeply believe every word you all see me write on Facebook or elsewhere.

I expected this to be the most depressing time of my life, but it wasn’t. I was just caught up in God’s grace, amazed at the fact that he still loves me after a whole year of “not getting it”.

So, most of the weight on my heart came from me feeling like I’ve let myself down. God is incredibly forgiving; the problem is that I don’t forgive myself as easily. I don’t believe in excuses. I worked so hard to get to where I am right now–to feel like I’ve been stagnant for such a long period of time hurts. I can move forward, but it hurts terribly.

What makes it so much more heart-wrenching is that now I feel like I’m in a place where I can’t organize a routine for myself to get back on track. I’m all about routines, schedules, agendas. I love those things, but there just seems to be too many external factors outside of my control preventing me from getting back to that sound place.

I’m praying for recovery. I’m praying for peace. I’m praying for a sense of control in this place where I’m at right now. I’m praying God, once again, set me free and have your way. With every flaw accounted for, I am the completion of what God wants to use in this moment right now–and I humbly believe that.

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