Take Me Off This Roller Coaster

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise

— Hebrews 10:35-36

So I’ve been struggling quite a bit the last few months. The last few months have been filled with doubts and insecurities and disappointments…basically the opposite of confidence and endurance. I have depended so much on myself and on the hope I tried placing in others. So naturally I was let down. Repeatedly.

To be honest, things have really stunk lately. I have been riding an emotional roller coaster — no stability, nauseating, and filled with a lot more downs that ups. And for what? For nothing. I cast away my confidence in God and in His love and care for me, and I tried to depend on myself instead. What did I gain from that? Nothing but heartache. Nothing but misery.

I lost my confidence. I lost my endurance. If I’m really being honest, I lost my faith in God’s grace. No reward. No promise. Only bitterness and hurt. That’s what resulted.

Can anyone else relate to this? Lord, I hope not, but also kind of hope so.

But you know what? I’m done. I’m done trying to do things on my own. I’m done seeking after things that mean nothing if I’m not rooted in Christ to begin with. No more running after nonsense. It’s time to get back to where I need to be, where my soul will finally be at peace once more, where self-doubt will turn into love for who God created me to be.

I hope if you are struggling with self-worth, if you are struggling to find meaning or are just filled with hurt and doubts, that you will join me this Lenten season to throw all that out so we can fill ourselves with the thirst-quenching Living Water.

May we remember that the Holy Spirit is He who is in us. May we remember that we are the Father’s royal children. May we remember that we are the beloved of the Son.

Now is not the time to give up on hope. Now is the time to renew our confidence, to increase our endurance, and to prepare to receive the promises we have been given.

Bitter Is My Heart

Last night was not a good night for me. Regrets and bitterness and brokenness all seemed to catch up to me. I was overwhelmed. I was consumed. I was drowning.

I had been able to keep my head above the waters for so long, but suddenly it seemed I had lost focus, and just as Peter began to drown, so did I. And as Peter cried out to Jesus, “Save me!”, I found myself crying out to my Papa.

peterdrowning

The quiet time reading for that day came from Lamentations:

Remember my affliction and roaming,
The wormwood and the gall [bitterness].
My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
(Lamentations 3:19-26)

Sometimes our hearts remember the bitterness. Sometimes our souls remember the times we fell and the times we were destitute. Sometimes our souls sink within us.
But we also must also allow ourselves to recall that our God is not just God, but also our Papa, and that He loves us and is faithful and full of compassion.

What is bringing you down? Is it feelings of regret? Feelings of foolishness? Brokenness?
Instead of letting it bring you down, you bring it to the One who is good and who will do only good for you. Be honest. Tell Him you are hurting. Tell Him you are broken. Ask Him, plead with Him, to lift you up and to help your soul seek Him and put your hope in Him. He won’t turn away, trust me.

Never forget that He is merciful and compassionate, and He cares deeply for you.

Take Me Deeper

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
(“Oceans” – Hillsong United)

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re really asking God when you pray?

The last month God has been answering this one for me. I’d been listening to it constantly, on repeat, no other music, asking God to please take me deeper and lead me to where I could trust Him fully.
And He answered.
And it hurt.

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re really asking God when you pray?

It isn’t always easy. It doesn’t always happen the way you think it will. When you ask God, He will answer. It’s how He answers that may be harder than you expect.

Have you ever stopped to think about what you’re really asking God when you pray?

I don’t want to hash out all the details for the whole world to see, but I will share a little bit of what my life has been like the last month.
Wave after wave after wave have been hitting me, beating me down. When I finally become ready to start accepting what life is throwing my way, another one knocks me down.
Had you asked me how things were two months ago, I would have said stupendously! I would have told you how great God was and how He was working out everything so perfectly in my life. My psych rotation was lax. My relationships were flourishing. I felt confident about myself. I still had my Kenya high.
Everything seemed perfect.

But then things started to go the other direction. I started my surgery rotation which left me with no energy. Problems began to arise in almost all my relationships. My grandmother–my best friend and warrior–was hospitalized and needed surgery on her heart. I started feeling hopeless and helpless.
Things were no longer perfect.
Things were far from perfect.
Things were hard.
Things are hard.

But ask me now how great God is.
In the midst of this crazy, stressful, heartbreaking, far-from-perfect life of mine, God is still great.
It may have taken some time for me to remember that. It may have taken weeks of fighting with Him.
But in the end, God is still great. God is still good.

He answered my prayer. He continues to do so. He is leading me deeper into the water than I could have gone myself. He is teaching me to trust Him more than I could teach myself.

Things suck right now. I won’t lie and say how easy of a process it is, because it’s not. But I know that He is working in me more than I realize. And I know that if I didn’t fully submit to His will for me, He could never complete this work to make me perfect.

 

Conversational

A slightly edited version of my journal post while in Nairobi, Kenya.
(For simplicity’s sake, bolded words are the responses I received from God)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. – Psalm 46:1-3

Papa, You are supposed to be my refuge and my strength, my help when I am in trouble. Well, I am. I don’t understand what’s going on inside of me, but I need a refuge. I need a safe place. I need to be steadfast no matter what disaster comes my way. There isn’t even a disaster right now, and yet I’m freaking out inside. I don’t know if it’s sleep deprivation, or thinking about leaving this place, or all my uncertainty, but I feel shaken. I need a rock to hold onto. I need a refuge so I can lay my head down in peace.

Papa, I need You to hold me right now like You did six years ago. I need You to calm the storm inside of me, stop the internal tears that are flooding my heart.

Be still, and know that I am God (v. 10)

I don’t know how. I can’t be still. I want to do, and go, and get things going. I want to stay here. I want to be done. I want to know what will happen, where I will be, so I can just be done waiting and wondering and not knowing. I just want to know.

Know that I am God

Then help me. Help me to know this and only this. That is the only way I will be satisfied, the only way I will obtain the peace I so desperately need. I need You to help me, guide me, because I’m so easily distracted. I am a dumb, dumb sheep, and unless You make sure I’m walking the right road, I will get myself lost and, I’m sure, seriously hurt yet again.

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge (v. 11)
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn 
(v. 5)

______________________________________________________

I know this is a slightly different kind of post that I normally write, but this quiet time was so important to me, and I felt the need to share. God answers. Whether it’s in the next verse or a year later, God answers. Not only did He answer me in the other verses of the psalms, but He answered me because for the first time in months I was able to have a real, honest, full conversation with Him. He made sure that I knew that He is here with me, beside me, inside me.

I pray that we run straight to the arms of our heavenly Father at the first sign of trouble. I pray that He fills you and guides you, dear friend. I pray that we stand firm in the faith and the hope of our salvation.

Way Too Full But Not Full Enough

The last couple of days I’ve been struggling with a little bit of a hurt pride. I’ve been struggling with my insecurities. I’ve been hurting just a little more than I normally am. And today God decided it was time to make it blatantly obvious why.

Today’s daily journal referred to 2 Kings 3:16, 20:

“And he said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’…Now it happened in the morning, when the grain offering was offered, that suddenly water came by way of Edom, and the land was filled with water.”

The little embellishment below the verse said this:

Before God can become incarnate in my heart I must empty myself so that there is room for Him to dwell. If I surrender to God and ask Him to show me which parts of my heart need to be emptied, He will never leave me dry. He is faithful to fill up the ditches of my heart with His living water.

It seems like the theme of my life lately has been where my desires lie. My insecurities, my hurt, my injured pride. They all stem from one thing: desiring something other than God.

When I desire other things, I try to fill myself with them. I fill and I fill and I fill. But then I am hurt and I am disappointed and I am miserable.

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

broken cistern

I realize this is a topic that is repeated over and over, but it is a topic that I believe can never be repeated enough. Is that not the cause of mankind’s undoing? We look for satisfaction, for fulfillment, for complete happiness. And we will lie, cheat, and steal if we have to in order to obtain it. We will abandon God and our beliefs in pursuit of satisfaction, when in fact, He is the only Thing that will satisfy us. And what are we left with? Even more loneliness and emptiness.

We have to abandon our pursuit of satisfaction in other people, in possessions. We have to let go. We have to let God.

When we let go and let God, we will be satisfied, fulfilled, whole. No longer will we be disappointed because we will be trusting in the One who alone can fill, who alone can heal, who alone will not disappoint.

I pray that we – I first and foremost – empty ourselves, surrender to God, and allow the fulfillment to flow.