Have you ever felt like you’re stuck in the depths of despair? Maybe you just have no motivation to do anything, and you come home and want to sleep the day away. Every little thing overwhelms you because it adds on to the never ending exploding mess you’re constantly trying to make sense of. Perhaps you’ve become an easily angered person. It doesn’t take much to set you off. Just the sound of someone’s voice makes you cringe. Your tolerance level is at an all time low. You find yourself pasting on a smile because you don’t want people to see your sadness.
This my friends, just about perfectly describes me these past weeks. I started off the school year in August very excited and passionate about what God was going to unfold this year. That began to diminish as distractions took over, and God kept getting pushed farther and farther away from being the focal point in my life. Don’t get the wrong idea here. I didn’t go all out rebel and turn my back on God or anything. I just stopped reading my word every day and spending one on one time with God all the time.
The longer time went on of me not spending time with God, the worse it got. I began to get really discouraged because I wasn’t seeing fruit in the friends that I was trying to bring to Jesus. I invested my love and time into people who couldn’t care less, people who continually hurt me over and over again. I would also come home everyday and sleep for several hours, and have no motivation to do anything else. The purpose of my life started to get foggy, and this in turn brought on a whole bunch of confusion, making me question if I’m supposed to be a missionary. This freaked me out. When I was four years old God told me that I was going to be a missionary, so for my whole life this has been sort of a part of who I am. So to be unsure of this made me extremely nervous, especially in the midst of my senior year. I was having a lot of trouble trusting God. In some ways I felt that if I wasn’t a missionary, that I would be disappointing God, and all the people that I’ve told for so long that I am going to be a missionary.
At this point I was so overtaken by my doubts and discouragement, that the enemy definitely had room to come in and reek some chaos of its own. I didn’t want to go to church, to school, or anywhere really. Fun stuff that I would usually jump up and down to go to, I preferred to just stay home.
Over Christmas vacation, a family member said something that hurt my feelings a bit. It was something really stupid, but I was so sensitive at the time, that you could of said “your hair looks green”, and I would’ve started crying. Ridiculous, right? My mom asked me what was wrong, and I just started overflowing. I couldn’t hold in my pain anymore. I had pasted on a smile for too long.
Today at church I decided that I had had enough of feeling this way, so I went up and asked for prayer from a couple of close friends. I am SO glad I did! I feel so much peace and grace right now. In those few minutes of prayer, I learned so much.
1. God is not disappointed in me.
2. My version of God’s plan and His version can be different. Even though I’ve always envisioned my self going on to the mission field after college, His ideas could be very different.
3. I don’t always need to be strong. It’s ok to not be ok. I’m the person that people come to because they trust me, and they share their struggles with me, so sometimes I feel like I can’t always put all my stuff out there. Though I do think I am usually a pretty transparent person…. but maybe not as much as I think I am.
4. God knows what He’s doing. I can trust Him to follow through when I am faithful in the moment and circumstances that I’m in.
Pretty awesome stuff right? This was all very encouraging to me. It spoke directly to my heart. It feels like my heart got a little blanket wrapped around it and a cup of hot chocolate. I just feel so good. I’m definitely not completely up to par yet. That will be a process. A process of faith, that I learned about from my pastor in church today.
1. We endure trials 2. Gain Character
3. Establish Faith 4. Obtain Promises
That’s the process of Faith. I am not where I was this morning or yesterday, so already I am better than before. I’m going through trials, I am gaining character, I am reestablishing my Faith in God, and through my continued faithfulness, and pursuit, I will obtain the promises of God. Sounds pretty simple when you see it like that.
As I was and am struggling with all of this stuff, I have constantly asked myself why I’ve felt so down. Why am I struggling and confused? Why do I feel like I am being attacked?
While I was in Church, I was flipping through my notebook, and I found an entry on August 18th, 2014. Which is right before school started. I wrote it when I was at the prayer room at my church on a Monday night, and Mrs. Jane came up to me and gave me a verse in Philippians 4:13.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength”
She told me that that year God was going to use sandpaper on me. That I would be persecuted, and that God didn’t want me to quit. That I could do this.
As soon as I read that it all made sense. CRAZY, RIGHT?!?! That’s why I’ve been feeling this way. In many ways God has been stretching me and pushing me to step out of my comfort zone this year. For the last few weeks I’ve just felt like quitting. Running the race was too exhausting, I was drained, depressed and I couldn’t do it anymore. Then I read that, and I knew I couldn’t let the enemy win. I want to persevere, push through, trust God, and overcome all the things that are weighing me down. This is more than a new year for me, this is a new season. God is working on me, and I’m going to make room to let Him. God gives me strength. I shouldn’t rely on those things to always come from my friends, family, or even myself. I need to rely on Him.
We’re not alone in our struggles. We can overcome, and find joy, even in the hard times. I promise that if you continue to push closer to God, you will find what you’re looking for, because when you’re close to God, your desires begin to line up with His.
I know that at times, maybe all the time, it feels like life is just a cycle of continuous slaps in the face. Don’t lose hope! Be encouraged! Push through it! No matter how hard or boring it may be, continue to read your word daily, even if you still feel awful afterwards, keep pushing in closer to the Lord. Also remember, it’s ok to not be ok. We’re not perfect, and we ALL struggle. So in the hard times, look for ways that God is trying to shape you in that season. Be open and ready. Share your struggles with other people that are trustworthy, encouraging, and will speak life into you. Sometimes it helps others to know that you’re not a perfect human being, but you also just need to let all of your troubles out. Trust me, it really helps. I kept all of this stuff bottled up for awhile. Even when I was smiling, I was crying and pulling my hair out in the inside. Don’t do that guys! You’d be surprised how understanding and discerning some people can be when you just pour out your heart to them. Now I’m not telling you to share your life story with the next Billy Bob Smojoe you see. Go talk to a strong Christian friend, pastor, or maybe a parent.
If you would even like to talk to me, I am happy to lend a ear! I try to make these blogs a bit general so everyone can relate in some ways, but I’m not a top notch writer, so I don’t get to everybody, so if you have specific questions or just want me to be praying for you, go ahead and write a note to me in the “Contact Me” section! But of course, Jesus is the best listener of all 🙂
The title “Depths of Despair” is an Anne of Green Gables
reference for those book lovers out there.