“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
For my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
My fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
For God is our refuge.
I find it extremely difficult to be this open and honest about my life. I have always been a private person because of shame, guilt, and lack of confidence. As I slowly begin to unravel who I really am, I can’t help but wonder if I will be looked at as an unhappy Christian and will this detract from who God really is? Is my transparency God’s plan?
How many Christians are faced with similar circumstances and how do they remain in obedience and in God’s Will? My desire is to hide and if it were my choice, I would take this blog down and keep things to myself due to the fact that I’m uncomfortable, weak and vulnerable. I have set it on private on a couple of occasions but who is this serving? Nobody and apparently God has another idea because He keeps pushing me to open up and right now this is the platform. It’s better for me to pretend that I’m normal but who or what is normal?
Throughout the course of each day, I look around and take notice of my Christian brothers and sisters that are going about their tasks as if all is fine in their life. Is it? They joke, reach out and communicate which makes me feel uneasy and nervous of what God is doing in my life. Immediately, I’m overtaken by the fear of them finding “Our Heavenly Prize” and discovering that this spirit-filled individual who stands before them is actually a wild mess inside.Thankfully Ephesians 2:10 tells me otherwise:
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago”
Life is, indeed, a struggle and we all are faced with trials. Not one of us is free from the enemy and all the fiery darts that he constantly throws at us and I know this because of my volunteer hours with several different ministries. The biggest crisis seems to be mental illness–anxiety, depression, addiction, and fear. All tools of the devil. I recently read something incredibly hopeful from the profile of John (NLT):
“God can use you in a way He can use no one else.”
Personally, I haven’t heard many leaders in ministry talk about mental illness in God’s children. Christians are not free from opposition, in most cases, it’s worse. The devil is looking to switch our focus and he will do what he can to make that happen. Everyone is Satan’s target! The only difference between an unbeliever and a believer is that we stand under the strength of Jesus to help get us through. Unbelievers rely on what they see, experience and their own strength. I’m most certain that Jesus is showing and instructing me to let it all out because it isn’t something that happens often enough. There are people out there that need to hear that Christians are not perfect. I’m wondering if this is what people see and is it because we hide our true, conflicted, traumatized inner selves? We want to be doing well but sometimes this just isn’t the case. Are we taught to cover it all up so that we appear to be normal? What does this do for anybody that struggles mentally?
I don’t want people to know that I’m a depressed, fearful and anxious Christian because this is not what God intends for us, right? We are to reflect His light and love in the hopes that we move people in His direction. We are to be whole and filled with joy, compassion, and kindness but I have to say that there are days that I have a hard time expressing those glorious traits of God. Learning to live the Christian life isn’t easy for me nor does it come quickly. I make mistakes, suffer trials and loss and I question God as to why? Storms have the potential to create a deeper intimacy with God, as long as He is our focus and not our circumstances. This is the molding and shaping of Jesus so that we can be the people that He designed us to be–to carry out the purpose that He placed within us. We aren’t here for ourselves and when we live for ourselves, there will always be an emptiness.
Romans 8:18 says this:
“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to fill His space with something else. It never works. We can fight and struggle to put something else there but it will never fit because it was designed for Him from the beginning.
In my time with the Lord, He gave me a vision:
I saw Gerry (my dog) running through the forest, off his leash. And this is true! My husband and I were camping outside of Columbia, SC. The campground we were in was filled with many trees and in the middle of this partial forest there was a hiking trail. We walked it and decided on the way back to collect some firewood. The terrain was hilly and cluttered with rocks, sticks and stumps. It was difficult to keep my footing, especially when Gerry felt like exploring. I let him go free which is not something that I normally do. I am afraid that he will run off and never to be seen again. He looked at me as if he were saying:
“What is happening here? Why are you disconnecting me?”
He seemed to be a little confused in what he was supposed to do next.
Stay or run?
He ran! He sprinted every which way imaginable but always within sight. It was entertaining to watch him. I kept a close eye on him as I made my way through the forest, stooping to gather firewood. I could see and hear him but when he got to a range that made me uncomfortable, I would call his name and he would come leaping back.
My understanding is this:
No matter how strong the temptation is, I will never be able to shut down all that God has done in my life. I cannot let go, I will not let go, even if I’m put in the position of sharing things that I would rather keep private. I have the freedom to choose what it is that I want to do with my life but I can never leave His sight. I can run from one point to another and He is there listening and watching. He will call me back if I’ve gone too far and I will listen because I know His voice.
John 10:27,28 promises this:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
I am filled with peace, patience, kindness, love, joy, gentleness, and self-control because I have Jesus. Without Jesus, I am anxious, depressed, fearful and closed in. Life is sad and bad things happen to good people. It isn’t because He isn’t faithful it’s because He has a plan that we don’t understand. It’s because we aren’t here to serve ourselves. We are here to do His work and sometimes that requires sad and hurtful circumstances. I don’t believe the Lord would impress upon me to share my story if it weren’t in His plan for me. As He peels back the layers of defense that I’ve built up over the years, I will hold on to Romans 8:38:
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I’m so thankful that you brought this post to fruition–that you’ve given me an understanding as to why privacy is not an option and that I will be okay. I fully trust what you have in store for me and I know that what you’ve given me to write will encourage others. This is my deepest desire, Lord, to be a help and if I have to humble myself to lift another, so be it. I am honored and privileged to serve you and people. This is what I pray for. Forgive me for dragging my feet and only thinking of myself. I want to make a difference in a big way! Thank you for blessing my perseverance. I felt much opposition in getting this post up and it’s only because there will be some awesome results. The devil doesn’t want to see us succeed. With you, there is always victory! You are good! I give you all the praise and the glory and it’s in Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.