I’m not ready to write But here I find myself on the page…
Already two lines in , this is how life started, I was not ready for that either. Sometimes I still feel like I’m not ready, who said go, I’m 32 and I’m looking around and I think where do I go, what am I meant to be doing?
I’m not alone all though I feel it at the moment, but more aptly I’m not alone in feeling this way. We all go through times when we question why and what or who for? Purpose some call it, just something to keep me temporary entertained is what most of us end up trying to do. The distraction is fleeting and in a time much sooner than we expected we find ourselves back at the crossroads of life where we again get to choose, purpose or distraction.
I have kept myself distracted with many things in my life. Traveling was certainly the most effective and most enjoyable for me personally. TV is the saddest distraction in my opinion as I feel it gives back the least. Whilst my chosen distractions also only results in a temporary fulfillment, travel at least leaves you with memories and in some cases shapes you into a better you. The greatest discovery through travel is that of yourself.
After the trip and the adventure is over you again find yourself at the crossroads, seeking purpose and peace.
We are unique as a species in that we seek things beyond the physical needs we have here on earth. Every single one of us. Some scientists put it down to genetics and sociology however I think if we all really examine our hearts we will agree we are searching for a meaning beyond this earth.
So what then?
Twice I have looked and twice I have found.
The first time I travelled, I ran away in truth, and I got lost but I did find myself. I found my inner heart and what makes it come alive. I also found God or He found me. The indescribable peace I had from this discovery is exactly that indescribable, but I will try:
I had always feared death, in a sense this stops you living, scared of everything. First part of the peace was an absolute surety in eternity. That my life did not end when I died but instead I would be with God in heaven, eternal peace no more worries no more pain. The peace from that alone allows you to live with peace.
Secondly knowing that I found and serve a God who has done it all. That’s right, I didn’t have to qualify to become a Christ follower. There was no 3 months probation. He knows us, he understands our fallibility and this is why he sent his Son to die for us. Jesus took our place and what we deserved, nothing we can do can earn our salvation! He has done it all, this is what they call the scandal of the gospel. Freely given to all who will accept him. The peace in knowing that my salvation was not in my completely incapable hands but that it rests in. Jesus is overwhelming.
Travel was now not the answer to my searching heart but it was as it should be, a blessing to be enjoyed and embraced and appreciated. He created every beautiful thing on the planet and I would like to see it all Our pastor always says don’t take a good thing from God and turn it into an ‘ultimate thing’ I believe in enjoying our lives but do not look for permenant comfort form the things of this world as they will leave you unsatisfied.
The Second time
6 years down the line, I had walked with God, I had been a dutiful christian, part of a local church, fallen like so many, into the trap of religion. An appearance of God following but very much trying to do it all on my own. Some say backsliding however I think of it more as complacency, ‘Not remembering The God of our youth’ the radical realization of Him. That He is real and that he is the only true peace and joy on this earth. Now if it wasn’t bad enough, I didn’t merely start to live on my own strength I made some mistakes that separated me from God. Not him leaving me, He said I will never leave you nor forsake you, but rather the shame and condemnation resulted in me hiding from him.
I was out in the wilderness, speaking less and less, getting through entire days without Him. At first the old nature suggests the very same distractions, I found solace in music, even learning to play, I read, I watched movies, I dreamed of traveling again, I tried everything and this time they were even less distracting and less fulfilling. Probably because I had experienced real joy and peace. I love the simile of Jesus and water, water from your tap does quench your thirst but only temporary. Whilst your thirst is quenched you are certain you have no need for water, but you will need another drink at some point. Jesus on the other hand is a a permanent solution and available all the time by just merely remembering what he has already done for you.
I became anxious, something I’ve never really experienced, I might have even had some anxiety attacks. It’s funny how God as a solution was so far from my mind, I found myself googling anxiety coping solutions and tried breathing and positive affirmation and all sorts, all temporarily effective but I’d wake up the next day and yet again it was waiting for me. Friends even suggested spending time with Him but it was as if I didn’t even hear them.
One night the anxiety was so bad I’d even taken some pills to help with it but just found myself actually trembling and pacing up and down and completely incapable of a rational thought. I don’t even know how I ended up on the bed listening to music or how it ended up on my ‘church’ playlist I had actually been avoiding those songs out of shame and guilt. But the first song that played was ‘You’re not guilty anymore’ I broke down completely crying like a baby, something I hardly ever do. I had an intellectual and theological understanding of the difference between guilt/condemnation and conviction. I understood Gods love and forgiveness but was by no means living like I believed any of it.
I had an absolute peace, and surety of the words of the song being true. The next song that played was Take Heart by Hillsong united. I completely broke down, sang it and played it maybe 5 times. I was completely aware of His presence and felt His love and peace. This was not just an emotional cheer up, instead an indescribable peace.
I will put the words from the song below, they are powerful, more than any pill or therapy. There is a hope, there is a peace, I swear to you there is no greater comfort than God and his love. No matter what you going through he can and will comfort you.
John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Philippians 4:7 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Take Heart – Hillsong United – listen here – http://youtu.be/8MfBQ30Ta9w
[Verse 1:] There is a light It burns brighter than the sun He steals the night And casts no shadow There is hope Should oceans rise and mountains fall He never fails
[Chorus:] So take heart Let His love lead us through the night Hold on to hope And take courage again
[Verse 1:] In death by love The fallen world was overcome He wears the scars of our freedom In His Name All our fears are swept away He never fails
[Bridge:] All our troubles And all our tears God our hope He has overcome
All our failure And all our fear God our love He has overcome All our heartache And all our pain God our healer He has overcome
All our burdens And all our shame God our freedom He has overcome
All our troubles And all our tears God our hope He has overcome
All our failures And all our fear God our love He has overcome
God our justice God our grace God our freedom He has overcome
God our refuge God our strength God is with us He has overcome