Lately I've been feeling really tired & unmotivated to accomplish my extra-curriculars. I know that this is temporary, but the feeling is hard to overcome. There's this gnawing feeling in the back of my head that keeps my mind focused on the negative. I start to think that if I was really passionate about the things I do, then why do I feel this way. I start to belittle my ability to succeed in life and it makes me not even want to try anymore. Tasks of what I need to accomplish flood my head and I start to feel overwhelmed. And with so much to do and so little motivation to do it all, it's a combination that is sure to be an explosive one, leaving debris of hopelessness, anger and worthlessness. I can't help but think, "Where is God in all of this? I've been praying for Him to help me out of this emotional and mental rut. Where is He? Why isn't He here?" Cue the rushing feeling of guilt that spreads through my body as I mentally yell at myself for even thinking of such a thing. But the cold hard truth is that those are my real thoughts and feelings, even as a Christian.
It happens though. This isn't some uncommon symptom to anyone that feels like they're drowning in problems. The truth of the matter is, everyone has issues, but how we deal with them can be the differentiating factor. For me, I look to my faith life. It seems to be the only constant thing that keeps me from immersing myself deep into anger, doubt and fear. It makes me happy, gives me a whole new perspective on how to deal with life and how I can be a better person. It's my saving grace. But here I am, doubting the one true thing that has helped me. It's pretty awful, but it paints the picture of how intensely I feel.
So I think back to a time of when I didn't feel like this, of when I was confident in my God and all of his wonderful blessings. In the summer of 2011, I decided to do a 40 day Daniel Fast, a strict vegan fast inspired by the book of Daniel in the Bible. I partnered with my Aunt for the entire duration of the fast so that we could hold each other accountable. I was so excited to embark on the faith journey because I couldn't wait to see how God would move in my life over that 40 day period. I completely immersed myself into the whole experience; I did a 40 day devotional and journaled everyday just so I could document every outstanding moment of my fast. I was prepared, I was pumped, I was ready to go!
One of the reasons why people do a Daniel Fast is because they want to see God move in a situation of their life. In my case, I was feeling kind of lost at this time in my life, so I prayed for 3 personal situations:
1: For clarification in my faith life.
2: For God to give me closure in a past relationship.
3: For God to work in my heart and mind and help remove some anger I had been holding on to.
With these three things in mind, I was motivated and determined to see God move in my life. However, it wasn't the easiest journey to go through.
Some people have this idea that once you're a Christian, everything is perfect in your life. Well, let me let you in on a little secret: Life isn't perfect, but having faith makes bad situations easier to bear once you shift your perspective on Him and not your problem. Just cause I believe in God doesn't instantly mean my life is filled with sunshine and rainbows 24/7, just like how going to church doesn't automatically make me a good person. It takes work, determination, a lot of patience and the willingness to be an open vessel for the Lord. There were a lot of moments in those 40 days where I did not want to work. I wanted to give up. I wasn't patient and I wanted to close myself off. I had some people who supported me and some people who didn't. The people who didn't support what I was doing couldn't understand why I went through such extremes to some guy in the sky who (and I quote), "doesn't even exist". But because I was focused on making it through the fast, I clung onto God as hard as I could so I could see Him work his glory. And let me tell you, HE WORKED ! Every single one of my prayers came true, leaving me amazed and causing me to fall deeper into my faith life more than ever before.
I sit here and think how badly I want that same amazing moment to happen now. I want to fast forward to God's glory moment. I don't like feeling this way and I want this feeling of doubt to go away. I look to the Bible, find the most encouraging verse and a light bulb goes off in my head...
There are a few verses that jumped out at me in the book of John. Jesus is talking to a crowd in Jerusalem on the ways to live for the Lord during a difficult time in our lives. And as he preaches, God reveals himself to the crowd. The story goes as follows:
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” -John 12:27-28 NLT
Jesus is saying that no matter what life hits you with, we should look to the Lord to help us THROUGH our troubles, not to simply take them away from us. But why would we ever pray something like that? I think about this way: Every heartbreaking, painstaking, anxiety-ridden and difficult situation that I've ever had to endure has made me stronger. I've learned the most lessons through the most difficult times in my life. To experience pain in our lives is inevitable, but how we defeat that pain is how we create our testimony that shows off the goodness of the Lord. I also need to remember that every time I've had a heartbreaking, painstaking, anxiety-ridden and difficult situation, God has ALWAYS worked His glory in the end. In a lot of instances we are waiting in our pain and waiting for God like we're waiting for rain during a drought. And even though we want God to work on our time, He doesn't always operate that way. God shows up, but in His timing. We don't always see it in the moment, but His timing is always perfect and glory is always brought to His name.
Take heart and remember that whatever you're going through, I pray that you find peace. I pray that you trust God and feel rest assured that He will reveal His glory moment to you. It may not happen right away, but know that it will be the most perfect moment when it does, leaving you amazed and breathless at His is everlasting goodness.
Happy Wednesday !