So far, all of my posts (all two of them…) have been pretty objective. To be honest, I’m just now realizing that I really don’t like to share that much about myself, especially on social media.
So I’m writing this post to work on my vulnerability, but also in hopes that someone out there (because I know there are thousands of people on the edges of their seats, awaiting a new blog post from me!) will relate to me and be encouraged.
When I’m upset, I very rarely tell anyone. I do not like to be vulnerable, it makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s because I don’t like when people feel bad for me. Maybe it’s a pride thing (ouch, that hurts to say…I guess it must be a little of that). But I think the most significant reason of all is that I don’t want to admit to God when I’m upset.
I know God’s promises very well. I know His truths and I know what He says about me. So when I feel frustrated, sad or even angry, I know that it’s not how God wants me to feel. I know He has something better for me. But I’ve realized something recently when I was the most upset I’ve been in years. Just because lies enter my head from this world and cause me to be genuinely upset with God, doesn’t mean that those feelings aren’t real. I don’t believe that God wants us to ignore our feelings. I mean, He knows everything about us anyway. When we suppress our feelings, the only person we’re hiding from is ourself.
So with that said, let me give you a little background on my current situation. Before I truly fell in love with Jesus, I walked down some pretty dark paths. As a matter of fact, if you have only known me for a few years you probably wouldn’t believe some of the things about my past (all I can say about that is thank you, Jesus for saving my soul and changing my life!! Seriously, I can never thank you enough!!). Anyway, because of some of the things I have dealt with in the past, the biggest thing that God has been working with me on is patience. Ugh, let me tell you, I was never patient. Why wait when you can have what you want now? Pffft. So, the biggest lesson that God is teaching me is not to simply wait, but to wait joyfully and patiently—to be content no matter what I am waiting for or how long I have been waiting. We can’t just wait because God told us to, that doesn’t work. We have to wait because we believe with everything in us that God has better things in store for us than we could ever reach on our own.
That last sentence just made me think of a line from the song by Bethany Dillon called “To Those Who Wait.”
“You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.”
Ugh, I love that line. Actually, I love that whole song.
So last week I realized that in the midst of my waiting on God, I had indeed become impatient. I knew I had to do something. This impatience was making me angry and it was distancing me from Him. So in an effort to release my anger and be totally open with God, I thought to myself, “I’m going to journal exactly what I’m feeling. I’m not going to hold anything back. Let’s give this ‘vulnerable’ thing a shot.”
And thus, my temper tantrum begun.
I felt bad about some of the things I said once I was done writing. I told God I was mad at Him. I told Him that I hated being patient, and that He must have forgotten about me. I told Him that I did everything, everything He asked. I surrendered everything, I surrendered my very being to Him and now what? I’m still waiting? What am I waiting for!? I told Him I didn’t care how selfish I was being. I said that I knew His promises, but in that moment I just did not care because I was tired of waiting.
But you know what? I believe that God wanted me to say those things. Once I finally got those words out of my head and onto paper, it felt so much better.
I then asked myself a very important question. A question that I didn’t know the answer to right away. I asked myself if God is enough for me. If I never get that thing I’m asking for, if I have God and only God for the rest of my life…will I be okay with that? A year ago, the answer to that question would have been a quick, abrupt, confident “yes.” But as the clock ticks and things are still the same as they were a year ago, has my mind changed? Maybe. Yikes.
But God doesn’t want flaky followers. He wants followers who will stand firm and always trusting in His promises and love. He wants us to be so passionately in love with Him that literally nothing else matters to us except Him. He wants us to be brave enough to admit when we get weak and have doubt so we can run back to Him. He wants us to make a choice when we are doubtful: stay where we are or follow Him. Maybe that’s why He tests our patience, to see if we mean what we say when we tell God that we belong to Him.
We can wait a thousand years for something, but what is the condition of our hearts? Are we still completely sold out to God or are we subconsciously kicking, screaming, and pouting because we don’t have our way? I never physically kicked and screamed, but I sure felt like doing it. I grew so upset with God. The condition of my heart was: cold.
I looked at what I had said to God and I cried…and cried…and cried some more. Just seeing those words made them more real than when they were just floating around in the back of my head. When did this happen? When did I become so angry?
I was very open with God that day, but I didn’t really feel as good as I thought I would afterwards. I still felt impatient. I was still upset about waiting. I spent the whole day down in the dumps. I felt better, but not completely refreshed like I thought I would.
The next morning, I read a verse that I have probably read 50 times, but this time it slapped me right in the face. It woke me up.
“This High Priest [Jesus] of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:15-16
This is what I needed to read. This was the refreshment I needed. Sometimes I get so caught up in myself that I forget that Jesus was human once, too. He has felt the same things I feel. My feelings are equally as real to Him as they are to me. He is the most empathetic being there is. Because of that, we shouldn’t hide or feel ashamed, but we should RUN to Him! Run with everything in us! We need to rest in His presence. We need to allow him to refresh us and give us a jump start.
One of the best things (and one of the most unknown things to this world) about God is that He isn’t scrutinizing everything we do so that when we mess up or have a bad attitude, He can condemn us. There is no condemnation in God. He is love. That’s why we have the amazing gift to boldly approach Him and tell Him what we’re feeling or dealing with.
Because this life is hard. God knows it is hard, and He knows we are going to be weak. He never expected us to be flawless. He knows we’re going to get frustrated, weary, and impatient. He knows that we sometimes need a “pit stop” so we can continue in this race stronger than we were before. And it’s okay to admit it.
The things God asks us to do can be crazy, wild, difficult, and go against everything this world pressures us to do. He asks us to do impossible things because He doesn’t want us to be able to do them without completely relying on His strength. He wants us to need Him. It hurts to be patient. It hurts to not give into temptation, no matter how big or small it may be. It hurts to trust something you can’t see. It hurts to go against our human nature. We can’t do any of these things without God’s grace.
So in conclusion, don’t be afraid to be honest with God. He isn’t going to punish you for having doubt or being upset. He’s going to reward you for being vulnerable, and He is going to wrap you up and love on you and give you the endurance you need to keep going. And as you continue on in His love, abiding in His presence, He will refresh you over and over again, whenever you need it.
Don’t be afraid to be honest with the people closest to you. Find people that you love, trust, and can pour your heart out to. Sometimes just talking to someone we trust can make so much of a difference.
Finally, don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself. We can’t grow when we aren’t honest. We need to expose our weaknesses.
Because when we let God into our weak areas, into our dark areas that we’re ashamed of, He shows nothing but love. He fixes us, and He makes it all worth it.
I will wait with hope and with joy because I have Jesus. He is the one and only thing in this whole world that will ever make me truly happy and sustain me.
Our patience may waver, but God’s doesn’t. He will always be patient with us and pick us up when we fall, all 2728472939 times.