So, yeah, life has been a struggle lately. In lots of ways. Somedays I really feel discouraged and not sure how to keep going. A few weeks ago I was reading Rob Bell's book, Velvet Elvis. Today as I was sitting here contemplating my situation - and yeah, feeling a little sorry for myself - as I was asking "why me?", and "why can't it be easier?" I remembered a section from the book. It was talking about a time when Bell was starting his church, and the way he knew it was the right time. His insights gave me a real application to my life that I can hold on to - a way to look at this struggle and come through it. Probably slowly, cuz it's been really discouraging and difficult. Bell said he knew it was time to start a church when he no longer cared if it was successful. And he said, and this is what really impacted me... "When I realized that if thirteen people joined up with us, and that was all it ever was, that would be ok.” What I’ve been realizing is – I have to follow Jesus. Period. Live a kingdom life. Period. Live within a new belief construct. Period. Even if NO ONE ever gets it, or my decision, and even if no one ever joins me, I have to do it. Now. No excuses. No matter what other people think. And no matter what anyone else does or doesn’t do, sees or doesn’t see, believes, or doesn’t believe – I still have to follow that path, possibly alone, or at the very least in a minority. I may not find a perfect community either – but that’s ok. I have to do it regardless. Be true to the call. This section gave me perspective and was immensely helpful as I struggle with “am I right?’ or ”why am I doing this?”
And beyond this, I should change what I say from “I have to”, to “I get to.” I get to follow Jesus. I get to find my place in God’s story. I get to learn and grow. I get to experience God in a whole new and wonderfully fulfilling way. I get to celebrate. I desire, I thirst, I am excited….And moving into this way of thinking changes a struggle to anticipation of a wonderful, but controversial journey. A journey of limitless blessing where I can look to others and say join me.
It's still a struggle. It's still not easy. I still lose sight of where I'm going some days. I lose my perspective. Especially when things become overwhelming. But I need to remember God will see me through the storm, and He alone is all I really need.
I know I've posted a lot of lyrics lately, but really, these two songs have been playing in my head this morning. The words are how I feel - and what I need to remember. So I thought I'd share them. The first is a section from Jeremy Camp's I Still Believe and if you know his story at all you can see why these words are incredible.
"The only place I can go is into your arms
Where I throw to you my feeble prayers in brokeness
I can see that this is your will for me
Help me to know you are near
Even when I don't see I still believe. I still believe."
And this one is from Mark Schultz, and is one I pull out on my bad days. It makes me feel better... just the reminder that no matter what, no matter how alone or misunderstood I feel, He is always there.
I call, You hear me
I've lost it all
And it's more than I can bear
I feel so empty
You're strong, I'm weary
I'm holding on
But I feel like giving in
But still You're with me
I know I'm broken
But You alone
Can mend this heart of mine
You're always with me
And even though I feel so lonely
Like I have never been before
You never said it would be easy
But You said You'd see me through the storm
And even though I'm walking
Through the valley of the shadow
I will hold tight to the hand of Him
Whose love will comfort me
And when all hope is gone
And I've been wounded in the battle
He is all the strength that I will ever need
He will carry me
BTW - if this post shows up weird, apparantly my blog has a mind of it's own today. Sorry - hopefully all will be back to normal tomorrow! :)