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.

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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!