I like to think that I pride myself on my honesty. I have been given jobs in the past because I was really upfront and honest in interviews about my experience (or lack of), and the interviewers were so surprised and delighted by my honesty they gave me the job anyway. I like to think that I am open and honest with people when they ask me how I am; I don't easily fall into that "I'm fine, thank you" mode unless I really genuinely am fine. I like to think that I can give a straight answer, speak up when I agree/disagree (the situation considered, of course). I like to think that I am always completely honest with my husband, friends and family, and I know it's ok to be honest about my flaws, faults and problems - I don't have to have it together all the time. But you see, there's a big problem with this view I've had of myself...
Really, honestly.... It's all a BIG FAT lie! How can I be completely honest with those around me, and completely honest with my God, when I am rarely honest with myself. I kid myself a lot that I have it all together, that I'm doing well, that I am making huge progress, that I'm trying my hardest all the time, that I have a clue what I'm supposed to be doing and how I'm supposed to be living this life. Please don't get me wrong, this all sounds very much like I'm depressed and not seeing any of the good in my life. That is completely not the case and right now as a stage of my life I am loving it and have incredible amounts to be thankful for. These are exciting times we're in and I feel hugely privileged to be a part of them. What I am struggling with is making any progress in my walk and relationship with God (which I am SO aware is the most important thing I could ever do in my life!!), and I know that it is really only myself that is standing in the way! I feel hugely challenged to step up my efforts and understanding. I think my default response to this challenge in the past has been to panic, to let myself be overwhelmed by the enormity of what needs to be done. I really feel that unless I start to change the way I think and feel about myself, and learn to be truly real and honest about where I am at, then progress won't be made.
So this is me being honest. This week has been really, really tough, I'm feeling a little lost and I can feel that default panic setting creeping in at the corners. At the risk of babbling, not making sense and covering a very wide array of subjects/dilemmas I want to share a specific bit of what is banging around in my head. If by the end I have confused you so much that you don't know where to begin with answering wisdom then that's ok. Maybe just by writing it down I will be helping myself to see the way more clearly.
I know that God loves me, that he made me with unique gifts and that he wants to work his purposes out in my life - what an honour! I also know that he wants the best of me, is jealous over me and when he says 'Put ME first', he couldn't be more serious. But how on earth do I handle that when it feels like I fail miserably at every attempt!? I guess that's what Grace is all about right? But how am I supposed to balance the fact that I am human and I will always mess up, with the urgency I feel to really do better!? How do I not let this balancing act end in guilt?
I can honestly say right now that I want to want to love God with everything in me and want to feel that hunger for his word and his presence above all! But I feel stuck at how to do that. On monday in amongst all the amazing testimonies there were from the Sunday services the day before, I just felt annoyed and frustrated about how little I had felt God. Whilst rejoicing with all these people over their incredible breakthroughs I couldn't help feeling hurt and confused whilst reading their stories. (To the people who shared those stories - you have done absolutely nothing wrong obviously. This is my issue, sorry :S).
"The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less." - 2 Corinthians 5 v 5 (MESSAGE)
This is the verse that most stuck with me from sunday morning's talk. I want that to happen, I want that taste, I want God to give me that little bit that will start my hunger for him!!! I want this more than I have ever wanted anything! And yet, standing there on sunday evening, I poured out my heart to God, I tried to offer up every possible thing that could be standing in the way of me feeling his presence, every issue and mindset. I tried to 'press in' like people are always saying you need to. I cried, got angry with distracting thoughts. I tried waiting in silence listening, tried singing till I lost my voice, tried praying in tongues and english. It was happening to people all around me. I have absolutely no doubt that God was in that place. And still I felt nothing. The words and visions people were receiving felt perfect for me, especially with the emphasis on musicians and songwriters and yet I felt I missed out.
I know that there are no formulas for having a relationship with God, for feeling his presence. I know it feels different for everyone and that God has his own perfect timing and can always see the bigger picture. But right now I am a bit despairing as to what I was and am doing wrong. Surely God could see how much I wanted it!?
So right now I'm waiting. Waiting for God to show up, and i'm guessing it may be in a way that really surprises me, I don't really know! But what I am happier than ever to admit is that I have absolutely no idea how this works, how life with God works. But I trust that he does and I'm determined to fight my frustration and confusion and stand in hope and faith that God will show up!
And that.... is me being honest.