The refinement. The furnace. The suffering.
“This year is the hardest, yet…” Thoughts repeat themselves day after day, week after week, month after month, and finally years. How do real people do it? How do “real” people get through the crap of life, and honestly, is everyone’s crap really equal? Ohmystars. That seriously came out of my brain. I probably shouldn’t reveal that much of my true self, but it’s there. Are we all experiencing the same amount of stress and damage and I’m just really bad at handling it compared to everyone else?
I think I am in the middle of a holy mystery. I don’t know where He’s taking me and I’m finally learning how to surrender. I thought I had the submission thing, but I didn’t know that I didn’t really know. The belief, the choice, the hope that something bigger than me has got my back right now… the realization that God is seriously the only one who will really always be there for me. Turning that corner in my faith has been painful. It’s ugly beautiful.
Over the past several months, I’ve experienced a few pretty rough patches in a handful of my closest relationships. I’ve hurt and been hurt. I’ve used sharp words or blaring silence to protect my pride, all the while, disconnecting myself from those I’ve loved most. It is only because of this disconnect and damage that I’ve had no one to turn to except God. Painful refinement. I can only publicly express my thoughts on this intimate part of my life now, as the Lord has put his healing touch on these wounds. Only God can make something so imperfectly perfect. True beauty.
I am co-dependent. I am worst-case-scenario. I always have a back-up plan. I always have an escape route. I need other’s approval of my life in order for me to feel okay about myself. My mind creates stress where there is none, because that’s how it thinks “normal” is. Reconditioning myself to be independent, to trust in God today, to believe that I am safe and don’t have to run away in any circumstance, to re-calibrate “normal,” realizing I am loved by the only Guy that matters. These are the things I struggle deeply with right now.
During the study with my teen girls, we’re talking about discipleship and what it means to be a true follower of God. Jesus says in Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” What does that really mean? How am I denying myself? Where is my cross, how do I hold it, and what happens if I lose it with my debit card? Follow Him how? Where? What does this really mean to ME? Can I really call myself a follower of Christ if I am selfish, worried, controlling, and stuck in the ways of my past? I cannot.
My emotional and mental pictures, would not lead another to believe that I am a joyful, saved Christian. The struggle is no longer to convince everyone else that I am happy and that life is good. The struggle is to convince myself that because I have Christ, I have enough. The acceptance of Christ brings joy and peace, undeniable. But, you have to choose it. Choosing joy, embracing faith, and practicing peace when life things are really bad, that’s the tricky part. And, that’s a follower. I want to be there.