I’m independent, and that’s an understatement. As the first-born, my mother never had to worry about me. From a toddler and onward, she could place me in one spot with a book and I’d never move. I was never clingy, never became jealous once my siblings came along. As I grew, so did my independence. In some ways, that’s not a bad thing, but in some ways, it became a struggle. I have never liked asking for help. I have a lot of drive and am very focused. I’m competitive with myself, both in academia and athletics, and will push myself forward. In heartaches and loneliness, I wouldn’t talk about my pain and tended to push others away. I would even push God away.
I went to college with the hopes and aspiration to pursue one career until that door slammed shut in my face in the harshest way. Then I recognized that it was God’s guiding hand leading me to another avenue; it was actually His grace and not a hindrance. I saw His plan and ran after it. But when I graduated, goodness, another slap. Not by God – He does not harm His children – but by the world and the traps of the devil. I wrestled with the notion of “if God called me to this, why isn’t He continuing to lead me and provide for me in this?”
I started this year off well. I had bought a new prayer journal and decided to study Psalms alongside other books of the Bible. I finished Hebrews but grew impatient with God. Two years is a long time to wait for the promises of God, but people have been known to wait longer. I grew angry and yelled at Him in frustration. I doubted His goodness and grace. I disbelieved that He had a future in store for me. I adamantly chose to neglect my time with Him. I continued to write here on my blog and on Instagram. I wrote about the very things I wasn’t doing – trusting in God, praying to Him, studying His Word, believing in His faithfulness, hoping in His supremacy, persevering in trial, etc. The Holy Spirit was using these two platforms and the very gift God’s given me for writing to try to speak to me. He was using my own hands to catch my attention. I would reread my words but didn’t let them influence my mind and stir my heart. I knew the truth, but didn’t quite believe in it. It wasn’t that I was being a hypocrite, but I had allowed my circumstances to harden my heart. This is purely the work of Satan. He would love nothing more than to distance believers from God, to break their faith in Him, and discredit their influence.
A few weeks ago I was walking my dog, came around a bend, looked up, and saw a brilliant double rainbow. The sky had grown purple from the setting sun and the two bows were bright and bold. Most people see a rainbow anything they think about pride. I see it and am reminded by what is said in Genesis.
“And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.’ ” Genesis 9:12-13 ESV
The rainbow is a sign of God’s faithfulness to mankind. He dearly loves us beyond comprehension and does not want us to be in pain. I’ve been in pain for months, years. This isn’t what He wants for me. He wants me to be in profound community with Him, resting in confidence in His power and love, and to live in the security of His character.
The other night, I was walking my dog (again, perhaps there’s a theme here… hmm) and the sky was on fire. The colors dancing on the clouds as they themselves spread across the expansive sky. I couldn’t control myself; my heart began to confess. I cried out internally that I was so sorry for abandoning God. Sure, I was going to church and writing two faith blogs, but I neglected Him for myself. I apologized and cried out “God, I cannot do this without You! I cannot do this alone.” I asked for Him to soften my heart, draw me close to His chest, and reignite my personal desire for Him.
We were never made for isolation. Independence is all fine and good, but when you allow it to harden your heart and keep you from community, it’s the worse thing you could do. I let my frustration in my circumstances, my independence from asking for help and letting Him do His work, my fear of the unknown future, distance me from God. I thought I could do it alone. I thought that by myself I could provide for me, that I could make my life happen and find joy, security, and a future. But alas, I cannot. I couldn’t.
I failed because I chose to neglect the very One who is my joy, my security, and has a future set for me.
This week I have an interview. I’ve had a few in the past seven months, and although some were for opportunities I actually would have enjoyed, none have worked out. My prayer to God as I begin my journey with Him again is that although I wish and want for Him to provide and reveal His goodness, even if this falls through, I will keep trusting in Him. I will continue to pursue after His heart and believe that with Him by my side, I cannot fail. I cannot be consumed by the darkness of this world, by pain, by failure, by fear.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the LORD. Live as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8 NIV
“I have come into the world as Light, so that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness.” John 12:46 ESV
“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5 NLT
I am to abide in the LORD, the Light in this world, and walk without ever having to be in the darkness again. I have no clue what my future holds. As my pastor shared on Sunday, fear is rooted in our inability to know the future and control it, but we need to have faith that overcomes our fear because our God knows the future and is in-control. I cannot have faith in God to overcome my fear and guide me in my future if I choose to try to live my life alone. It doesn’t work. And clearly, it just makes me more stressed out, and in my case, worsened insomnia and migraines.
I lack joy and life and hope when I try to go about life without including God in it.
Like I said, I don’t know what my interview’s outcome will be, what next month or next year will look like, but if I know one thing, it’s that even if I try to live life alone, I cannot flee from God’s presence. He still sees me and knows me. He still sees my anxious mind, restless heart, and tremulous life. He still knows that only He can calm them, and give me what I need to continue on, but He cannot calm me and empower me if I abandon Him. In actively choosing to seek God in everything, and I mean absolutely everything, only then will I find joy, security, hope, peace, and purpose, regardless of what is or isn’t going on in my life. I don’t want to try to do life alone anymore. I’m not strong enough, but my God is, and He will both fight for me and give me the strength to fight the good fight for my faith.
“For the LORD your God is the One who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4 NIV
” ‘No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed… This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from Me,’ declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17 ESV
“For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:3 NLT
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT