I’ve always been a person who tends toward the darker side of life. For a very long time I lived in the negative. Somewhere along the way I made a choice that it was easier to embrace pain then to try to change who I was.
Last year I made a real and true commitment to follow Jesus with all my heart. Over the course of this last year, I’ve been learning to trust God as the Lord of my life in more than just words. I’ve been growing with God in an intense way. I’ve felt my faith strengthening. I’ve worked to build a real relationship with God through reading the Bible, a commitment to prayer, and attending church as more than just a social gathering.
A few weeks ago I noticed some of my old patterns and feelings coming up. I was unreasonably annoyed with the little things of life. I was frustrated by everything. I wasn’t treating my husband the way he deserves to be treated, at all. I was struggling to just get through the day, instead of appreciating each day for the gift it is. I started to feel extremely anxious in social situations, which is something I haven’t had to deal with in months.
When I’ve felt this way in the past my response has been to isolate. I would stop talking. Sleep as much is my schedule would allow. Not spend time with my family. Stop going to church. Stop reading the Bible, because it’s easier to escape into fantasy books then it is to really try to give God‘s word all your focus. Stop praying. Stop listening to worship music. I would get caught up in the cycle of feeling bad because I was feeling bad.
Once I figured out what was going on, I decided not to do that this time. I didn’t miss a single day of praying. I didn’t miss a single day of reading the word of God. I didn’t miss a single church service. And while I wasn’t always is nice to my husband as I should be, I didn’t shut him out. I prayed every day that God would show me what this was, and help me to get rid of it. I told God that I was tired of going back to the same patterns I’ve been repeating since I was 11 years old.
Wednesday night, my husband was out with my stepdaughter so I had the house completely to myself. I turned up my worship music as loud as it could go and danced around my living room like an idiot. I spent most of that two hours praying for others and not myself. But near the end of my worship time I heard God say to me, “just worship.” I decided to take that literally. I spent time in worship, with my christian playlist whenever I could on Thursday and Friday. Yesterday I went to a women’s conference and during worship time I pretended I was in my living room, or at my home church, where I worship like only God is watching me. I didn’t focus on the 350 other women around me, I didn’t worry about what others might be thinking of me. I just worshiped.
This morning I woke up with a very true and real sense of peace. I found myself smiling at nothing while making breakfast for my kids. I prayed a true thankful prayer to God for his peace, and his joy, and his love. There is absolutely nothing different about my life today than there was yesterday. There is no reason for me to be any happier or on happier. The only reason that I am not stuck in the same depressed cycle I was in three years ago, is because of God. I am learning to trust God, to seek God, and to worship the Lord my God no matter how I feel.
In doing that, God is teaching me that he can use my feelings. I can be an intense person, and that can be a good thing when that intensity is focused on God. I can be an emotional person. And that can be a good thing, when I’m using those emotions to bring others closer to God. I am learning to let go of who I used to be, and the old things that gave me comfort, and hold onto the only true comfort there is in this or any other world.
“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
Psalm 100:2 NIV