God does this really cool thing where, even though I’ve made the wrong decision and given in to my fears or my insecurities, He forgives me and brings me back into His arms. He wipes away my guilt and destroys my fear of being rejected by His magnificence, but it’s by His magnificence and His ridiculously, incomprehensibly merciful character that I can press on after messing up. Whenever I feel like I need to feel bad about what I’ve done for a little longer, whenever I feel like I shouldn’t already feel forgiven but rather I should still feel guilty even after God has forgiven me, I always remember something like this passage:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV.
Despite my sins, my failures, my mess ups, God forgives me of all of them; He wants me to trust that His forgiveness is great enough to wipe my slate clean on a daily basis, great enough to cast the weight of guilt from my shoulders and rip off the chains of sin that cling so closely to my heart and mind, so that I can move on and do what He needs me to do. Sometimes I feel guilty after being forgiven, after I’ve asked God to pardon my sin once again, and I wonder if I’m just being punished for it. But then I remember Satan, the deceiver, the one who wants me to feel guilty about everything, even though God has forgiven every one of my sins. I don’t have to feel guilty; I’m clean.
The reason why I start off with this is because I’ve been looking for a new TV series to watch, just as part of my routine. I normally pick a TV series on Netflix or wherever that’s relatively clean and decently informative to challenge my imagination, give my intellectual whatever a break, and to decompress a little. Well, as I was scanning the TV shows, I found this show called New Girl. Now, I honestly didn’t know a lot about the show and I should’ve used better judgement before diving into the series.
I’m pretty sure I was scarred for life.
While some values such as working together, helping people, and general camaraderie (regardless of how weird or abnormal it may be) were exhibited and received, other things like “meaningless” sex, crude language, and just plain wrongness drowned out any virtue that might’ve been hiding in the woodwork of the polished loft in which the characters lived. The worst part was that there was no way for me to get the content out of my brain. I spent the next however many hours trying to ignore the crudeness and the nastiness that Satan was using to push my heart. I felt so terrible.
I slept with my music on to keep myself from dreaming (I didn’t want to know what dreams would come from having those thoughts in my head), and when I woke up this morning, my thoughts were finally calm enough for me to talk to God about it. I was so ashamed. I realize watching a crude TV show may seem like a little thing, but to me it’s huge. “Garbage in, garbage out” is not something to be taken lightly, especially when I’m surrounded by garbage on a daily basis. In order to keep my heart and mind working properly, I have to watch what I let myself consume, what I let into my brain. I should’ve known better, but I did it anyway. I was a doofus, again.
As I talked through it with God and asked Him for forgiveness, I felt better, I felt like I could think clearly again. I’ve learned my lesson: time to move on. This is where it’s easy for me to get caught up, because Satan likes to trip me up with thoughts like, “Really? Just like that? God really forgives you that quickly, right when you ask for it?” And for a moment I’m tempted to feel guilty, to question myself and to question God, but then I remember when Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden: “He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1b, ESV).
Yeah, Satan, really. When it says God is “a God ready to forgive,” (Nehemiah 9:17a) I believe it.
Morning classes were canceled because of the snow. The problem with snow days in the City is that there’s no place to put the snow…never thought about that. This gave me an opportunity to spend more time with God, to decompress, to relax. I didn’t realize this was a God thing until later today; this morning would’ve been my first day of World Literature for the second semester, but it was canceled. It’s a good thing it was canceled because my textbook hasn’t come in yet. Was God watching out for me? Yes 🙂
I went through the day, thinking about how much God loves me, despite everything…it’s really amazing. I know I talk about this a lot, and it’s probably annoying to some people, but I really just can’t get over it. God is the only One who wants to be around me ALL THE TIME. He’s the only One who can handle me at my absolute worse, when my heart is slipping and my mind is all but lost, when I’m not willing to listen or to feel or to give into Him, into light. He’s the only One who gives me things like sunshine, unconditional love, security, and hope. God makes me feel beautiful even when I feel ugly. God makes me want to love others even when they’re unlovable. God wakes me up in the morning and helps me sleep at night, because I know that not only is He watching over me but He’s also walking with me throughout the day. Cool 🙂
Critical Thinking & Writing class was refreshing…yeah, I know, I never thought I’d say that either. My professor is obsessed with dictionaries (well, not obsessed, more like passionate about, but I’m going to say obsessed so I don’t feel entirely alone about my strange addiction to dictionaries) and while she still concentrates on the meaning of the self (who we are, how we’ve become who we are, what makes us who we are, where we come from, etc.), she also explores how our experiences, history, family, hopes, and dreams make up who we are and affect our identity. So the class won’t be about discovering ourselves or becoming intimate with who we are exactly (or at least that’s not what I gathered from talking over the syllabus) but rather about how we interact with the world and how our lives make up who we are, which will be a little bit easier to manage, I think.
I left class happily, ready to study and work on homework. I grabbed dinner and ran into Marcy on the way back to my dorm. I was kind of nervous at first, but then I decided that I was going to start up a conversation with her whether she liked me or not. I knew that she had been to Israel over break, and, because I’m curious, I had some questions. As we walked to the dorm, I talked to her about her break and what Israel was like. She described the Bible as a “tour book” of Israel, which was an interesting way of putting it, I thought. She talked about how she’d seen Lot’s wife as a pillar of salt. While I responded with “Wow, that’s amazing!” inside it was more like “NO WAY!!! THAT IS SO INSANELY COOL I WANNA GO TO ISRAEL SO MUCH!!!!” Yeah. But I’m totally cool, so I didn’t do that…
ANYWAY! The rest of the evening was slow; I did my homework, wrote an essay or two, read, talked to people…but then, as I was sitting on my bed, a small gray form crawled out from underneath the other bed: it was Cedric the mouse. I’m not sure how he got into my room or how he survived break, but he’s back. I saw a mouse running across the laundry room floor the other day. Also, the other night, I’d left a bag of trash near my door so I’d remember to take it out in the morning, and every time I tried to sleep, it would rustle and move like something was pawing through it. Eventually I put it on top of my closet. Needless to say the rustling sound stopped. During the same night, I heard Sarah scream and run around her room like a crazy person. I’m guessing Cedric has been making house calls to other dorm rooms.
I guess Cedric is the way God has cured my loneliness. I mean, I did pray for Him to help me through this stage of loneliness; now I’m not lonely! 😀 Thank You, Jesus, for answering my prayers, even though it’s not the way I thought it would be 🙂
“By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” —Proverbs 16:6, ESV