Today was one of those days where I needed to be reminded of a truth I already know.
I woke up and felt weird, like I couldn’t feel God. I spent the rest of my morning that way, thinking about all of the reasons why I couldn’t feel God. In church, I was irritable and unprepared for the service; I was butting heads with my sister and having a hard time keeping my patience.
That’s when I was hit in the face with truth: I can’t depend on my feelings.
I’ve been trying to figure out why I can pick my battles at college but not at home with my brother and sister. Maybe it’s because, when I’m not home, I depend on God more and feel more dedicated and determined in my walk with Him. While not a lot of people at home expect me to be running with God or keeping up my relationship with Him, He expects me to, He wants me to, He loves me enough to show me when I’m not. And I’m so glad He does.
My relationship with God doesn’t change with my environment. This is the same thing I told myself before I left for my first semester…I was so nervous that the hardest thing would be going to college…but, in reality, it was the most freeing thing on the face of the planet. It’s like, when I’m on my own, when I have to make my own decisions, I’m more prone to listen to what God has to say, to depend on Him, to remember His love and His promises, because when it comes right down to it, He’s the only one with me who’s known me all my life and even before. He’s the only thing that feels like home wherever I am. But just because I come back to my physical home, where my family is, doesn’t mean I can let my guard down, even though things are actually more difficult here, even though everyone knows me. While home is a wonderful place of comfort, of love, of goofiness, it’s not untouched by the difficulties of the world, the frustrations of life.
This reminded me that God is home, the only real home that exists on this earth, the only place I can be kind and compassionate without someone giving me a sarcastic answer, the only place I can love with all myself and be loved in return even more profusely. God is the only place where I can just be vulnerable, where I can feel safe, where I can mess up and not worry about someone condemning me or brutally criticizing me for it, where I can cry and sob and break down without feeling embarrassed.
My physical home, where I live, takes work; it’s a construction site. But that’s okay. Family and love and relationships need to be worked at; it’s what makes them so special. Now, I don’t know anything about marriage, or about raising a family, but I have done my share of babysitting, of nap time, of having a hard time cooking boxed macaroni and cheese because I’m so exhausted, and of loving even though I’m seen as the enemy. I’m not saying I’m ready or that I’ll ever be ready for kids or marriage or anything like that, but I am saying that relationships (familial, spiritual, etc) take a lot of work. This is just like our relationships with God.
Remembering that my feelings can’t control my relationship with Him, remembering that the Holy Spirit is inside of me but faith takes me looking outside of myself rather than inside, remembering that my heart is deceitful and I shouldn’t follow it, made me also remember that I have to work at my relationship with God. He has no work to do; He’s perfect. Me? That’s a whole different story. But God is the ideal friend, partner, and wooer, because He’s willing to wait for me, to help me be better, to help me fix the things in my life that need fixing, like pride, sarcasm, insecurity, and worry. Likewise also with relationships outside of your relationship with God, you can’t let your feelings control your relationship with your spouse, significant other, family members, or friends. Your feelings are all about you, about what you want, what happens to you, what you need. Relationships are all about others. This is why they take so much work; relationships, strong, worthwhile relationships, demand you to be others-focused instead of you-focused, which is really difficult considering humans would like to believe the world revolves around them.
I wonder why it’s so easy to mistreat your family members. Maybe it’s because you know that no matter what they love you…they may not always like you, but they always love you. It’s kind of like how we sometimes get frustrated with God or kick dirt in His direction when He calls for us; we know in our hearts He’ll never leave us or forsake us, so we feel comfortable enough to let Him see everything, including the nasty parts we don’t want others to see.
Well, in two weeks, I will be heading back to the City, preparing to start the second part of my first big adventure that is Freshman Year of College. I wonder what this semester will hold. I wonder if I’ll worry as much as I did in the first semester. I wonder if God is going to take care of me like He has already. Pssh, I already know the answer to the last question, though the first two are still unknown: yes, God will take care of me. The first semester was a miracle, an absolute shock. I never thought it would be that growing and that eye-opening and that adventurous. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do next semester 🙂
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” —Proverbs 4:23, ESV