This past Sunday some stuff went down. In a good way.
There was this girl who used to be in youth group with me visiting our church (she lives far away now). And guys, lemme tellll ya, God superrr used her to really speak to my heart, and we didn’t even speak to each other that day. (!!!)
For longer than I have known her she has walked with the Lord in a beautifully devoted way. When we were in high school, this gal did a seemingly crazy thing. She went and cut ALL of her hair off simply because it was taking away from her quiet time with the Lord. Her vanity had become a distraction from her relationship with God, so she did what almost no one would ever think to do–she cut off all her beautiful hair. Like what the absolute heck?
I so loved the drastic measures she took to literally cut something out of her life that she was putting first instead of God.
Can you imagine living your life that devoted to God?
Sitting there in church, thinking about this, I was brought to tears. The cry of my heart is to live my life so aligned with God’s heart yet it seems that I, more than anything or anyone, am what gets in my way.
When I saw this girl I literally could not contain myself from crying, because even though I am not in a deep friendship with her, my heart knows her heart. I cry because I am relieved to know that there is another person who feels such deep convictions in the way they follow Jesus.
It took everything in me not to go and hug her, cry on her shoulder and pray for her. I could look at her and see the pain she’s experienced and the disillusionment she’s felt, as well as the deep peace and assurance in Christ that she cherishes, and that brought so much joy to my heart for her. I longed to pray for her and strengthen her in the ways I knew that I needed to be strengthened.
Because lately, if I am being real, I have been feeling more alone in my faith than I have in a very long time, and with her I know that our hearts feel similar aches, longings, and discouragements. I felt seen by God simply highlighting her to me and reminding me of how we’re similar.
I have felt alone mostly because I feel overwhelmed by my desire to serve God with my life and I don’t see many others around me who feel the same way. I know that in many ways the convictions I have about what I watch, listen to, or even say is very different from others. And I respect that with fellow believers we each have different convictions—but only up to a point.
Please don’t take this as me casting judgement. Really, I am just confused. I don’t understand how people who say they love God can talk so vulgarly and really, in many ways, just not look much different from the world. As much as it hurts my heart, I feel it must hurt God’s heart even more.
We are called to be set apart. This is not meant to be easy. It’s hard and I know this as well as you probably do. If you look at past posts, I have written several times about how hard it has been for me to continue pursuing purity in a culture that doesn’t cherish it, and especially at times when it doesn’t seem worth it.
Growing up, being the sheltered ‘lil child I was, I had pretty high standards for purity. Basically my ideal or standard was that I wouldn’t kiss a dude until my wedding day. Well I can tell ya that that is for sure not gonna happen for me anymore, and I was hard on myself for that. But really, kissing in itself is not wrong. It is more the heart behind it, and every relationship is different.
My personal struggle when it comes to my convictions is that I often put too many standards on myself and am super hard on myself when I fail. Which is soooo not the heart of God. He is a Father who gives us mercy and grace, and he desires freedom for us. He calls us to live differently because He knows that it will bring life to us. So when my standards aren’t doing that, I have to ask myself which convictions are from God and which are me trying to achieve some idealistic version of myself?
But with other believers around me, I have often found that they lean towards the other end of the spectrum and they don’t filter anything in their lives. That right there worries me deeply, especially when there seems to be a lack of awareness or at least an acknowledgment that everything you hear, see, say, and do affects your heart, mind, and soul.
In Matthew 6:22-23 Jesus says “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
And in Philippians 4:8 the apostle Paul says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
There are so many other verses in the Bible where we are encouraged as believers to live a life that glorifies God. There are a lot of issues that are grey areas, but it is important for us to press into God for wisdom on how we should approach those things.
Essentially, I am asking you to examine your heart and the things you do. Then ask yourself if there is anything you need to cut out of your life, or at least filter better. We can so easily be numbed out by what is normal to us that we lose sight of how God has called us to live.
The greatest commandment given to us by God is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.
He desires all of who we are. Wholly. Completely. Fully. He wants relationship with us and just like in any relationship you have to examine it and remove anything that is hindering it from flourishing.
So here’s my question for you:
Do you need to cut some hair off?
(that’s a metaphor of course 😉 )
(but for real)
(lez git real bout Jesus)
(if you need to cut your hair spiritually, mentally, physically, whatever it may be, DO. IT.)
thanks for reading