“When everything inside me looks like everything I hate, you are the hope I have for change, you are the only chance I’ll take.” – On Fire by Switchfoot
Change is a funny thing. Life changes can happen at the speed of lightening – bam – before you know it, nothing is as it used to be. And you’re left in the dust wondering to yourself what the heck just happened.
But then .. there’s another kind of change, the change of heart and attitudes that seem to take all their freakin’ sweet time. It’s like life’s own dirty rotten trick.
And that’s exactly the trick life is playing on me right now.
This season has seen some of the hardest life changes for me. It’s been a season of losing and letting go. Dreams seeming to die without much hope they’ll ever see the light of day again. Plans and things I was sure of have proven that you can’t really be sure of anything in this life but Christ. It’s just been difficult. And let me tell you, I will be the first one to stand up and admit that I’ve reacted to them all wrong. All wrong. Yes, these changes have proven time and time again to be nothing short of annoying, frustrating, and downright sad. BUT, reaction is everything. And I’ve failed terribly in reacting in a loving, Christ like manner. It’s so evident that I can no longer deny it; I need a change of heart and attitude.
But darn it, it’s a slow, maddening process.
You see, in the midst of all these frustrating changes I did something that I know better than to do, something I don’t fully understand why I did… I pulled away from God. It was subtle really, but sooner or later I wasn’t even praying or seeking him anymore. It wasn’t that I made any conscious decision to stay away from him really … I just started avoiding him. My heart missed him but I let myself get so distracted by the hurt that I just stopped talking to him. Because of this, my heart was becoming harder and harder by the second. I was just letting the hurt and pain swallow me up.
"Do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness," - Hebrews 3:8 (NIV)
I became depressed and just felt angry and hurt. And soon enough, as it often does, all that anger, sadness, and hurt that I was harboring in my heart came to a head. Suddenly, it became painfully evident that a change had to be made before things in my heart got worse.
That’s how sin is, it’s like a cancer, if it’s not dealt with as soon as possible, it spreads. Before you know it, every cell in your body is infected. You’ll begin to look at your behavior, all the outward manifestations of what’s going on inside, and you’ll wonder how you got there. Sin spreads fast, my friends.
Now, standing in the rumble that remains, all that’s left to do is surrender to God’s healing rain; letting it fall on my heart and finally begin a healing process. It’s going to take some time of digging out the stubborn weeds and replacing them with good soil so maybe in time, a beautiful harvest can spring up there. But surrender feels good. No, it feels freeing. I’ve been spending more time with the Lord lately, and my heart feels lighter and more refreshed than it has in months. My heart really did miss him.
It’s so easy in these hard seasons to ask God, “where are you?” But he never leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). I’ve found in my life the times I’ve felt that way are the times where I’ve left. He was there all along. He was faithful.
I’ve also been listening to a sermon series by Landon Schott called, “Out Of Order”. This series is so what I need right now; what a God send! Landon preaches about sins and behaviors that have our hearts and lives out of order and in complete chaos. I want to write about it more later when I have finished the whole series, but it really hit me when he said how if we want God to move in our lives we need to bring order to it; the biggest way to do so, by putting him first.
This seems to be a common theme for me right now. Because I also heard a sermon by Damon Thompson on The Ramp tonight that I’ve heard before but, man, it’s fitting for where I am right now. In the sermon he says “glory follows order”, and if we want to see God’s glory in our lives we need to bring order to it; by putting God first and laying down our sins. A common and important theme for me right now.
I want God to move in my life; I want to see his glory in my life. And I’m ready to let him into the places that I’ve tried so hard to keep from him so he can heal what’s broken. To let him take the hurt, pain, and anger away and replace it with glory. I was tolerating it, making excuses, and justifying it, but I simply can’t do that anymore. I need him to work in my heart. I know this is going to take time and it isn’t going to be easy. In fact, believe it or not; as I’m writing this there is something that is tempting me to go back to that angry and annoyed place. But I need to and have to choose to surrender. Because I’m sick and tired of dealing or .. ahem.. not dealing with this heart condition. I’m fully aware Jesus is the only cure for it.