A Window to My Soul

A Window to My Soul

“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Mark 9:24 (NKJV)

I pray as I walk to work. I pray as I lie down at night. I pray when I am scared. I pray when I am lonely. I beg and plead to God as tears trickle down my cheeks.

Nothing.

I feel absolutely nothing.

My heart longs for an inkling–a touch from the Holy Spirit. Something. Anything.

But nothing is there. No spark. No flame. My soul feels cold, and I begin to doubt.

I have silently struggled because I do not want to find pride or honor in sharing my grievances. But Christians are called to live in community with one another, and I am only disadvantaging myself by not seeking that community.

So here I am. Letting myself be seen–weaknesses and all. Which is truly a weird and uncomfortable thing for me. But at the end of the day, this is not about me.

I was listening to a sermon from my home church the other day about the freedom we enjoy in Christ, and it was very convicting. My heart twinged as the pastor fervently spoke. “The Gospel doesn’t save you and I just so we can twiddle our thumbs and wait for eternity… Being formed into the image of Christ is absolutely a process. But it’s a process that should be evident in your life if you claim to be a follower of Jesus. This change is not an option, it’s not a preference. You and I cannot consistently follow Jesus and not consistently grow into his likeness.”

My mind blanked. Where is the fruit in my life? I struggled to find evidence of my growing love and relationship with Jesus. I was staring into the abyss of my own thoughts.

An Aside

Let me outline what I know to be true and the things of which I am sure, despite my doubting.

  1. There is a God.
  2. I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that He died and rose again, and that He alone is savior of the world.
  3. There is a lot I do not know.

On Feeling

“Hear my cry for help, my king and my God, for to you I pray.”

Psalm 5:2 (NIV)

I feel very out of touch with God. And it is hard for me to even write this because I do not quite know how to put into words the hundreds of scattered thoughts going through my mind.

I think the thing that scares me the most is my lack of emotion. While some find comfort in it, feeling nothing is absolutely terrifying for me because I typically swing between extreme depths of emotion. And what makes it worse is that I don’t understand why it is happening. I don’t know if it’s some hidden sin or simply a test of faith at work in my life. However, I want to reach out to my community. I am not going to pretend I am unique in this struggle.

One request I’d like to make is this: Join me in prayer. Pray for those who are in a season of doubt, myself included.

Proverbs 11:14 talks about finding wisdom in the counsel of many.
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”

So consider this me seeking counsel. How do you deal with the chasm of nothingness in your life? My hope is to cultivate a little community that can share and grow together. Even if it is on this digital platform.

While I’m at it, I do want to ask how I can love and encourage all of you. Yes, within the community of believers, but also anyone reading–Christian or not. Comment below, if you’d like (anonymous is fine).

I am a listening ear for your struggles, just as you were for mine.

Thank you for reading.

In The Middle Of It All.

In The Middle Of It All.

“The unpredictable has found a hand to hold.”

Citizen, In The Middle Of It All

I’ve been getting a little overwhelmed by my mind recently. My tendency to internalize my thoughts and emotions has proven to add much more stress than needed to my life. I’m just so exhausted.

Exhausted by all the hurt my friends and family have experienced.

Exhausted by the feeling of being a passive participant in this life I’ve been given.

Exhausted by my own bitterness and anger and never ending questions.

Exhausted by the hatred and evil in the world. 

However, tonight in the midst of all the paralyzing thoughts and feelings stirring in my soul, I heard a still, small voice in my mind saying, “Do not grow weary in doing good.” God in His goodness immediately reminded me of that beautiful verse from Galatians 6.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

When it all falls apart,

When people hate you,

When you are utterly alone,

When you encounter those who defend immorality,

When you feel intimidated by the happenings of this world,

When those who profess to be Christians do not reflect Christ in any capacity,

When you feel like you can’t go on,

do not grow weary in doing good. 

Weariness of mind and heart makes sense for me right now. My life is on the brink of change. New things await, old things still beckon. Everything is in flux.

One song that keeps replaying in my mind during this season of life is “In the Middle of It All” by Citizen. I don’t really like the band, actually, but I love this song. My friend showed it to me while she was struggling with some similar things I am now. The band uses this song to proclaim despair and hurt and confusion. And then right before the chorus they sing, “In the middle of it all, I found you there.”

While it’s very clear the artist didn’t intend for it to be a spiritual song, I think God continues to show me more of Himself through things like this. In the middle of all my stress and anxiety and bitterness and resentment and excitement and confusion, I found Him. I found God in the storm of my life. And He alone is worth the pursuit. That alone gives me peace and calms the storms of my mind.

Everything is meaningless.

Everything is meaningless.

Mankind speaks the language of change. We are always seeking the next, the better, the unknown. Even if we prefer to hold change at an arm’s length, it is inevitable. The seasons shift, the stars fall, our numbered hairs fall out, and our hearts undergo the only constant we know—change.

She Reads Truth

My favorite book of the Bible is the one that many people deem the most depressing.

I’ve always been drawn to the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon’s philosophical analysis at the end of his life brings me so much comfort and joy (perhaps because I’m in the midst of my own philosophical journey).

This past week, however, has opened my eyes to the truth of Ecclesiastes in new and refreshing ways.

Photo Courtesy of SheReadsTruth.com

While my daily reading is usually spent in Genesis, Job and/or Galatians, it seems as though almost every conversation I’ve had this week left me echoing the words of Ecclesiastes.

The spark that really set my mind in motion this week was a She Reads Truth devotion I read called “God is Immutable.” It highlighted the ever-changing aspects of our lives and how God is solid in the midst of them. Solomon affirms this in Ecclesiastes 3: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”

In learning to be okay with change, I am learning to trust God more and more in the everyday. Realizing that God is the only constant in my life is simultaneously the most terrifying and comforting realization I’ve ever had.

God is so unbelievably good when we are so unbelievably not. His grace extends to the deepest wounds, the hardest to reach places and the worst of sinners. And for that, I am overwhelmed and in awe every single day.

I was wrong about God.

I was wrong about God.

Much of 2018 was spent unlearning everything I thought I knew about myself. I viciously analyzed my thought processes, habits, and relationships–most importantly my relationship with God.

For a very long time in my life, I saw God as a sort of genie in the sky–a being who saw everything I did and punished me accordingly. I had a paralyzing, all-consuming fear in my heart thinking of the ways He might be disappointed in me.

I tried and tried to be good enough.

To do more.

To be more.

But I always ended up more fearful of and ultimately more distant from my Creator.

The extreme efforts of essentially trying to earn my salvation only muddied the waters of any sort of relationship I had with God. They ruined my vigor, my confidence, and ultimately my faith.

Going to a university with vastly different views than my own only worsened my anxiety regarding my spiritual state. I ended up spiraling into a constant cycle of guilt, silent questioning, and doubt.

At the beginning of 2018, there were really only a couple things I knew for a fact:

  1. I am a born-again Christian.
  2. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.

These two realities kept me focused and determined. I took the advice of Proverbs to heart and sought much counsel. From people I admire. From those I cherish. And my notions of God were shattered as a result of it.

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Proverbs 19:20

In my discipleship group, we have been studying the book of Galatians. We’re also reading Galatians for You by Timothy Keller to supplement our Bible reading (I highly recommend).

Disclaimer: I haven’t finished Keller’s book yet, but I really recommend it if you’re looking to study a book of the Bible more in-depth.

Keller breaks down each chapter of Galatians verse by verse, allowing the reader to dive deeper into the book. The book (along with a personal study of Galatians, obviously) has radically changed my view of God. It has shaped my view of the Gospel. It’s allowed me to step back and breathe.

For the first time in my life, I’ve been able to rest in the fullness and freedom of Christ.

Here are a few points I’ve come to realize, thanks to my discipleship group’s study so far. Maybe if you’re in the same boat I was, you can garner some insight from this.

  1. There is one true gospel, and (surprise!) it’s not about us.
  2. The gospel provides cultural and emotional freedom in the lives of Christians.
  3.  As followers of Christ, we are compelled to live in accordance with Scripture.
  4. You cannot combine merit and grace to reach salvation.

“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.”

Galatians 1:11

I’ve tried to use my merits as a means for salvation. I’ve tried finding fulfillment in the things this world has to offer. I’ve gone from one thing to the next, looking for acceptance and validation. No amount of compliments, people-pleasing, or new clothes/makeup/whatever can give me complete joy. Only Jesus.

Just the other day I began listening to a sermon series by John MacArthur for my morning devotions. At one point in the message, MacArthur talks about the times Paul tells us to call God our Abba, or Father (Romans 8, Galatians 4). This term isn’t merely poetic or cute. It has deep and powerful implications for our relationship with God. 

Abba is personal. It is endearing. It is loving. With a single word, Paul paints the image of a perfect Father, full of infinite love, longing to have a relationship with His child.

And I now feel fully free to run to Him, despite my past mistakes or my fear of future ones.


P.S. If you have any questions about Keller’s book (or about anything really), I’d love to chat. Feel free to leave a comment or hit the contact button to talk!

A Small Reminder (to Myself Mainly) as Winter Approaches.

A Small Reminder (to Myself Mainly) as Winter Approaches.

One of my favorite songs right now is Seasons by Hillsong. I just love hearing it. I love singing it in church.

And it’s exactly where I am right now. If we’re being honest, it’s what I’ve been trying to run away from for so long. I don’t want to use the Christian clichés of “being in a valley” or “the winter of my life,” but it’s so true.

I’m convinced God created seasons to remind us of the ever-changing facets of our own lives. And with every passing season, He is always faithful to reveal to me what I need to learn and how I need to grow.

My favorite line in the song is the following.

Lord I think of Your love
Like the low winter sun
As I gaze I am blinded
In the light of Your brightness

It may be freezing in my heart, but the blinding light of Christ reminds me of His warmth. May I never lose that gaze.

Sunday Musings.

Sunday Musings.

I know I shouldn’t be saying this, but I really dislike reading Christian books.

You know which ones I’m talking about. The ones that can’t stop saying “sister” and “y’all” and talk about Jesus like he’s a sweet, Southern boy that grew up right around the corner from your house.

In all honesty, I think they’re horribly written and often somewhat shallow. But right now I’m reading this book called “Uninvited” by Lisa TerKeurst. And it’s actually really good.

Of course there’s still the cheesy writing style, but I can look past that aspect of the book because it drives me back to Scripture and forces me to realize things I’ve been ignoring for years.

Something the book has brought to my attention is the idea of living loved. TerKeurst talks about how keeping a constant mentality of being deeply loved by God can fuel us in every aspect of our lives.

What struck a chord with me was when TerKeurst said the following:

“Giving with strings of secret expectations attached is the greatest invitation to heartbreak. That’s not love. That’s manipulation. And it’s all so unrealistic… No soul can soar to the place of living loved when it’s a performance-based endeavor.”

Wow. Talk about a reality check.

Have I been doing things for God only to expect something in return? Do I desire to walk with Him only because of what I can get out of it?

For the majority of my life, the truthful answer (though one I wouldn’t have admitted) would have been yes. But praise God for His work in my life. He has changed my heart and mind. He has drawn me in with His overwhelming love. I now seek Him solely to know Him. To love Him more deeply. To bow before Him and worship His majesty.

I now live every day wholly and completely loved. And l find fulfillment in the love of Christ.