Friday, April 18, 2014
From The Inside Out: A Good Friday Post
It's kind of funny how life works.
I sat in my car this morning, listening to this song, closed my eyes, and really just prayed these lyrics out from my heart. Then I found this link on YouTube, and realized that I am not the only one to ever do this. *buzz kill*
I've been struggling with some really huge realizations I've had about things this past year. It's not just one thing in particular, but literally EVERYTHING in my life. I've been forced to reflect on things that I didn't really feel like reflecting on, had to deal with loss, deal with being faced with the reality of life, and death, and having to come to some serious grips with the direction my heart is leading me at this time (as a parent/professional/individual).
Through all of this, I was also forced to look back at the huge changes that were made in my life over the past year, including my big move up to Alaska. This was not done lightly, and was done with A LOT of prayer, and asking for direction from God. I followed the direction I felt I was given, and have spent the past year REALLY struggling with that decision, and the past few months have been the worst yet.
I was really feeling let down by what I perceived as "poor direction", and "a big mistake" regarding my relocation. And I was pissed, because I sought out every step of my direction from God. I had prayed that work would improve back home in Colorado prior to my move (because I really didn't want to move)--it didn't. I had prayed that if I was meant to relocate for work, that all the pieces for that relocation would fall into place effortlessly--and they did (at least, until I hit Alaska, then it was crap).
Then the big move came--and aside from having a great job, with super dependable hours, and amazing coworkers, I've had one of the worst/hardest years of my life emotionally.
Words cannot describe how "trapped" and "isolated" you can feel when everything that you love, and care about resides thousands of miles away from you. Regardless of how frequently I've been home to be with my kids, or trips they have taken up here, or to Hawaii with me, I have never felt more disengaged as a parent, and so "aimless" as a human being.
I started to pull away from God. I started to question my faith, or how I could have faith in anything anymore, since I was allowing myself to feel misled, and forsaken. I still prayed, but half-hearted, and most of the time I would ask, "Why?...why am I here? (not like here on Earth, but why Alaska (which is like another planet to me)) Why couldn't You have made it work out in Colorado, and cut this Alaskan move out of my life completely?"
The more doors of communication I closed with God, the more isolated, helpless, and panicked I felt about my future. The burden of what lies ahead for me is huge with respect to work, family, etc.--and it is on my shoulders to direct it all. It has all been feeling like one gigantic, poorly choreographed sh*t show, and nearly impossible for me to find a stick big enough to throw into the spokes of the bicycle of life that currently feels like it's headed downhill fast.
I woke up one day, about a month ago, and forced myself to pray. Still feeling misled, angry, not particularly enamored with God, I turned on my radio in my car. I forced myself to listen to K LOVE radio (the Christian station). I found myself mocking some of the lyrics. I felt kind of like a toddler, but was still pissed at my situation, so kept it up for a day or so. However, I forced myself to keep listening. I felt so far away from God, but I felt like if I still had a line cast out in His direction, no matter how fine that line was, that if there was to be restoration of my faith, I would have a way to reel that back in and not cut it off completely.
The more I listened, the more I felt my heart start to get lighter. The heavy burden that I was carrying, the anger that I had been manifesting, the feelings of hopelessness, and self-pity--all started to dissipate. I found myself starting to turn up the radio to listen to what once were my favorite Christian songs. There were moments I started feeling connected to God again through the songs, and realizing that, although this year has been one of the hardest of my life, there really may have been real purpose to it, regardless of the misery that accompanied it.
I started to tear up to the song by Hillsong, "Oceans" when the lyrics, "You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail; and there I find You in the mystery, in oceans deep, my faith will stand..."
And then more lyrics came
"You make all things work together for my good..."
"You give and take away, you give and take away, my heart will choose to say, blessed be Your name, blessed be Your glorious name..."
"Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me..."
I started to pray harder, and more diligently. I refused to change the radio station in my car--even if a cheeseballer Christian song came on that wasn't my fave. I decided that the rift between the pulls of good and evil in the world, with me as the middleman, were not going to pull me in the direction of self-defeat, self-pity, or negativity at the expense of losing the foundation I had built my faith, and self-worth upon.
I continue to pray very hard these days. Not just because "I need something" from God right now, but because I refuse to be that hopeless, angry, pitiful wimp that I felt like I was when I decided to temporarily give up on my faith, and be pissed at God for what I perceived as "misdirection".
What it boiled down to was my realization that, if you let darkness consume you, it will. I happen to prefer the light--which is also why I should've never moved here, because Alaska is dark as hell in the winter!
My prayer is now focused on redirection--redirection of my entire life, but more importantly, my heart. I have re-prioritized, and have my focus now set on a new course. It's not going to be easy. There are still many unknowns, and there are still many things to fall into place, but in the long run, it could actually turn into something really good for me, and super amazing for my family (in a "best of both worlds" kind of way).
I thought I was a person who was pretty strong in my faith--until I was met with the challenge of this year. It was so easy to get mad, and turn away from everything I had worked so hard to build up with my relationship with God. However, I did realize, firsthand, that no matter what, the door to God is always open, no matter how hard I try to slam it shut.
I'm thankful for the gift of Jesus Christ this Good Friday, that through Him all things are possible, and that, time and time again, it has been proven to me that
I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH.