This might be a little extreme, but I feel very much like I’m in some kind of relational purgatory, where I’m in a waiting period before I can move into the next phase of life. Yeah, that’s a bit extreme. I guess I just mean that my entire self feels very “in-between-ish.”
I have been challenged several times to not see this time as a waiting period, but to continue to grow in my relationship with Jacob, my relationships with others, and especially my relationship with God. I feel very much like, however, I can’t really grow further in my relationship with Jacob until we get married, since most of what we are discussing now are concepts and principles to apply in, yep, marriage…My growth in my relationship with God, however, is a different story.
This week has been emotionally draining, and I’ve been in a state of mental and physical and spiritual exhaustion for the past three days, seriously wondering if I struggle with some latent form of depression. Today, however, I headed out to my local Dunkin’ Donuts for some quality time with God.
And I realized that I have been trying to minister to others without truly letting God minister to me…
Part of what has always drawn me to Christ is that I can tell Him everything and be shattered and broken before Him. I can trust Him with my hurt, my emotions, my fears, my insecurities, everything, and depend on His love for me to rise above all of it. He will not abuse the information I give Him, not only because He already has all of it, but also because His love is not self-seeking, manipulative, or cruel. He has asked that I pour my heart out to Him and trust in Him at all times (Psalms 62:8).
As I look through my prayer journal, I see a pattern. I have started out each day thanking God for different things, for conversations and blessings and coffee and rainy days. Then I see verses that stick out to me as I read His Word, and following this is always prayers made on behalf of those in my life, whether it be Jacob, my mom, Gracie, or any number of other people. But there has been a serious lack of my crying out to God, of my offering up my emotions for Him to satisfy and correct and love me through. I have always needed to know that what I experience matters to Him. I have always needed to know that He cares about the times when I get hurt and when others hurt or reject me. I have always needed Him to hold and heal my heart.
Not letting Him in this way has left me bearing the burdens and suffering and confusion of others on my own, which I was never meant to do. I have fallen into a poisonous habit of saying to myself, whenever someone has hurt me as I seek to love them, “Your feelings don’t matter. Only your obedience matters. It’s not about you. Get over it.” This has happened a lot particularly in my relationship with my siblings and my Dad. I’ve sought to love them and pour into them without allowing Someone to be pouring into me.
As I drank my iced coffee and read through the book of Isaiah, I was overwhelmed by God’s claim in chapter 45.
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:5-7)
“For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” (Isaiah 45:18-19)
This shook me to my core…
Do you not know who I am? Have you forgotten that I am both Savior and Judge? Have you forgotten how I have comforted, been a refuge to, empowered, changed you, Beloved? Why have you forgotten how to depend on Me? Your obedience to Me isn’t only what I desire. It’s your heart.
My little brother Jimmy was recently a testimony to me in giving things over to God. He’d been struggling with a relationship in his own life, and, not knowing how to proceed in getting through a relational obstacle, he’d prayed for a long time and just surrendered the results of the relationship up to God. He’s fifteen.
And so, why can’t I, who have been out on my own with God, outside of all that is familiar to me, who is supposedly “spiritually mature” offer up the hurt I’ve recently received and that I consistently receive from some of those in my life? Why can I not offer up their suffering and struggles and resistance to the One they actually need, the One who can actually do something about it?
I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever just get it. Will I ever arrive at the complete understanding of God’s love for me and my need for Him? Will I ever realize how very little I can actually do without Him? Maybe not…but it’s good to know He’ll never tire of blowing my mind as He shows me these truths more and more, from now and forever more.