Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Break: Then & Now.

It's Saturday night, March 23, 2013, and I'm sitting on my bed avoiding packing because I'm headed back to CIU tomorrow afternoon. And, because I'm such an absolutely nostalgic being, I decided going through my Impact 360 journal was a really good idea. And NOW I'm sitting here absolutely in awe of the lessons God has taught me, that I didn't even realize He had until He opened my eyes to see it. 

"Lord, You're not REAL. I can read all day about the unbelievable "love" you have for me, but it's not real. I don't know what else I can do, what else I can give up. I am numb to HOPE. In the middle of an aching fear that I will forever be alone, it becomes harder and harder to remember that You are my constant companion. But Lord, if I'm being honest? Right now those words hold about as much weight as 'it's going to be okay'. I feel like I can't do anything right, everything I do and say is either wrong or just one more reason why I'm not the right choice for something or someone, or 'I'm too needy' or why everyone should just wash their hands of me and find someone better to be friends with. I'm numb and I'm empty, and I'm so beyond done." 

I know this sounds like the writing of one of the angsty-est, dramatic teenagers ever....but they were taken almost word for word out of my Impact journal from a little over a year ago. We had just come back from Brazil and I was completely unaware of how to even begin believing that the Lord loved me. Which sounds weird since I've been a Christian since the age of 4, but I'm trying to set a scene here :) 

Right after February and our return from Brazil came March and Spring break 2012 and an entire week spent with my class on Possum Kingdom Lake. And within a week I believed that I had found a solution to my problem. I had decided on a college, decided on a major, decided on a FUTURE, and began to very proudly take security in the fact that I had successfully planned my life out. Who cares if I couldn't feel the Lord's love? I'd found an adequate substitute in my own surroundings. 

I think the scariest part of all of this was how unbelievably grown up and spiritually mature I thought I was being at the time. 

Now, a year later, I'm sitting in the middle of a life that is absolutely nothing like the one I had supposedly planned out for myself. Which makes me think God probably has a huge sense of humor :P In the past year I have watched God shut door after door, and when it happened I couldn't understand why God was saying no to something that was obviously SO. GOOD. A summer job. A talent show audition. A relationship. A trip to Georgia. Rejections, tears, heartache, frustration, and calls to use patience that I quite simply didn't have. Didn't God understand how IMPORTANT this job was to me? Doesn't' He understand how ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL this friendship is to my spiritual, emotional, and relational development? Doesn't He understand if He takes this security away and asks me to grow past Impact and my relationships there, I won't have ANYWHERE to turn anymore, because He's NOT. THERE? 

I think He did. I think He knew perfectly well I wouldn't have anywhere to turn anymore. I know He did. And even though at the time each "no" hurt and I felt it so deeply, I can say a year later that I have never been assured more of God's faithfulness and love, and that no matter what happens He does in fact know what's best....and His definition of best trumps mine every time. 

People try so hard to bypass suffering in the Christian life, and I think in trying to bypass suffering we might also be bypassing perfect opportunities to learn just how deep and strong the Father's love truly does flow for each one of us. A year ago I asked God to break me and prove His faithfulness...and in prayer that sounded really sanctified and wonderful. In real life, it's proven a lot harder....but at every turn He's done it even when I begged Him to let me take back my prayer and keep leading an "easy" life. 

I am young, quick to speak before I think, a child at heart, nowhere NEAR truly figuring all this out, and still learning so much. God continues to refine me towards His end goal, and even though it's painful it's absolutely amazing. And what's even cooler is being able to look back in my journal to times when I couldn't see the light anymore because I had let myself be so deeply buried by the lies I was believing...and watching God point to Himself in the midst of absolute despair and whisper "See? There I am. Even when you couldn't see Me, I held you in the palm of My hand." 

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