When Life & Faith Get Real

So I will call upon your name
and keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in your embrace
For I am yours and you are mine
— Lyrics from Oceans, Hillsong United

Click here to hear the song as you continue reading: 

 

A month ago, I cried out to God in a state of being completely overwhelmed. I cried out "I'm called to comfort others in their pain just as God comforted me in my time of need. I'm called to walk alongside those that need a hand to hold when they face the unknown. I'm called... But I'm drowning. I'm drowning in pain that belongs to others." The next Sunday, the service opened with that song, Oceans, and I broke under the grace of God that was beginning to pour over me again.

Let me tell y'all... This is where the life of a believer gets real. I've been on a quest to live intentionally - every moment of every day to be pleasing to Him - to be fully used for His purposes and to grow my faith and relationship with Him. It has been an amazing journey. I can honestly say, while I screw this up plenty of times, plenty, I love and desire to continue to be fully immersed in His calling for my life. I want desperately to continued to be led out into the deep where I have to be dependent on God to keep me afloat.

But we mess this up... I mess this up... I was in too deep, looking down at all the stuff - the good things - and took my eyes off God. Until we get through this life on earth, this is a battle we, I, will continue to fight. We have to remain extremely disciplined and in tune with the Spirit, because the second we stop examining our hearts and commitments in accordance with the Spirit's guiding, we say yes to that one extra something, we say no to something God had been preparing us for, we don't hand the reigns of a job to the next person who has been raised up and is willing and ready to take the lead. We get all caught up in the flesh of it and we mess up. We get overwhelmed. And life gets real.

I am so thankful for that too, because in the real reminders of our humanness and imperfections, we come face to face with reminders of the realness of God's continual grace and mercy. Through that continual grace, we get to try again and through His strength we can become more in tune with Him and His plans for our life and talents and passions. When we recognize that we have strayed away from that utter dependence on the Spirit, and the source of our joy, we can get back into the center of His will again. We can hand off those things we aren't meant to do right now to someone better equipped. We can focus our energy and attention on doing exactly what God wants us doing. We will be refreshed at the same rate we are pouring ourselves out in service to Him and others and will therefore remain full of His joy. We won't burnout. He will keep my eyes above the waves.

For the past month, I have been prayerfully working through learning this lesson again. I'm struggling through a variety of emotions that come with self-examination through the eyes of Christ. I'm struggling with guilt that comes because I messed up and got a little ahead of God again, but can easily be misconstrued as guilt that I'm saying no to something I had previously said yes to. But, when we say yes out of guilt - not out of the Spirit's leading - we over commit again, and we become useless in all the good things we are doing. As my pastor recently reminded me... When I know I've stepped outside of God's will and plans, I can't trust how I feel about any particular decision. I have to prayerfully be obedient to what His Spirit is guiding me to do, and what is in accordance with Scripture and the feelings will follow. If we follow God's prompting alone, guilt will be replaced by relief and joy once again.

The days when the Christian life gets real are tough, but are such powerful reminders of the active relationship we have with God, of the leading the Holy Spirit is giving us at all times, of God's grace and mercy and redemption. And that, my friends, is real.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place [the presence of God] by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
— Hebrews 10:19-25