A quick side note: God put it on my heart to write a little bit about what He taught me each month of this year. So, you’ll be seeing something like this every month, and hopefully other posts in between 🙂
January. Wow. I’m still in awe of how mightily God moved this month. Briefly, I started January still home for Christmas break, came back to school for second semester, and braved through the frigid temperatures. I’m trying not to think of the rough weather to come. I’ve also been really excited as I anticipated the new semester and year. Living life, anticipating growth, and embracing change is so sweet with my Heavenly Father.
I could probably write a small novel recounting the depth of everything I learned, saw, and experienced the past 31 days, but that’s just not realistic considering I have approximately 7 hours of homework ahead of me tonight. Lol.
God spoke into this area of my life last November/ December, and had let me know that prayer was going to largely transform my walk with Him, and my life in relation to other people in 2018. I’ve been completely in awe in how faithfully God has moved in this… and it’s only been 31 days! When I had already decided that 2018 was going to be a year marked by prayer in my life, my home church and the church I attend when I’m at college both started off focusing heavily on prayer. In fact, my home church declared that 2018 is going to our “The Year of Prayer.” It’s clearly a God thing. Like seriously!? God has been using the messages on prayer I’ve been hearing to help me seriously change the way I view prayer and how I actually pray on a day-to-day basis. For one, God has shown me first hand how prayer is not just talking to Him, but practicing His presence. As I’ve started to carve out time to listen, God has spoken loudly and demanded my obedience, in which He has allowed me to speak and do things completely led by the Spirit.
I’ve never experienced such friendship and connection with God as I have when I decided to pray consistently, boldly, and persistently in order to KNOW GOD and be TRANSFORMED in His image.
When I have committed to pray and lay before the feet of God multiple times a day, being persistent in asking Him to call me higher and to use me as His mouthpiece, He has not once left me there. Through praying in this way, God has graciously allowed prayer to start becoming my default reaction whenever I have a quiet moment, or even when I am in the presence of others. It’s seriously amazing living life so enamored and loved by the creator of the world. It’s beautiful to just sit in that.
Another big part of my month was God revealing certain sin in my life by putting me in enough circumstances to finally beat it into my stupid head and sinful heart. Specifically, coming to terms with deeply rooted issues of jealousy and comparison that I genuinely never realized I had. Let me just tell you straight up, this has been one of the hardest pills to swallow I’ve ever been forced to face. All the past 19 years of my life kind of hit me all at once, and things started to make sense.
While God has bestowed so many unique gifts, qualities, and callings on my life, I have really struggled to realize how deeply I reject God in how I pine after the relationships or qualities of other people.
In the midst of this, God reminded me of 2nd Corinthians 12, where Paul describes a thorn of the flesh that he asked God to take away from him three times, yet God allowed to stay pierced. In response, God told Paul, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.”
In other words, God allows us to continually struggle in certain sins by means of drawing us to Him in humility and desperation. If we were not plagued by sin, we would have no need to rely on the Lord for every ounce of strength in our beings. In this fight against jealousy and comparison, God has shown me that this is one of my thorns. But, I will fight it proudly and with everything I have if God is most glorified, and I am most found in Him.
In the midst of dealing with my thorns, interpersonal situations, and this lingering season of waiting I’ve been going through for a long while, God put it on my heart to live with resilience. It is a word I have chosen to define how I live my life. A lot of circumstances I’ve had to deal with/ process through this month have been full of anguish, hurt, and difficulty, if I’m being quite honest.
Two weeks ago, God spoke to me through a memory of a book I remember reading at the library when I was 5 years old. I didn’t remember the title, but I remembered the recurring phrase, “we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, so we have to go through it” that it said on every page as the children in the story experienced going through different things on their adventure trek, like the sticky mud, deep rivers, and eerie forest. God hasn’t spoken so directly to me through a memory before, so I was awestruck.
As much as I’ve wanted to just “be done” with some of my particular circumstances, I’ve realized there is no real escaping. God called me to rely on Him with all I had, and He promised to completely hold me through it. If I want to make it to the other side, I have to actually go through it.
There is immense beauty in going through the struggle with the God who never leaves us, and promises to keep a hedge of protection around us always. As Jennie Allen says it in her book titled “Anything”, we have to JUMP, or CRAWL DOWN. So, we might as well jump with conviction, resilience, and God’s promise, rather than crawl down in fear, apart from the fullness of God and what He has for us to experience in this life.