I’ll be honest, these past few weeks I have felt like I’ve been walking through the valley. I have been confronted with struggles, heartache, doubt, and fear. It shouldn’t really be a surprise, I mean, life is hard. It’s unpredictable. It’s scary. It changes in an instant and most of the time we’re just swept along with the current and taken for the ride. But as Christians, we should be able to rely on God to take care of us, right?
That’s the Sunday School answer. But what happens when you’ve spent so long just coasting? When you’ve ignored the urges of God to draw close to him? When life has been going well, so you decide that you can handle it all on your own and you don’t need to rely on God?
It’s hard to admit, but that was me. I was coasting, sitting on the fence, being lukewarm. Use whatever metaphor you want, but I was not growing in my relationship with Christ.
And then my coasting came to an abrupt stop.
I won’t go into details, but I was hit head-on by some pretty challenging things in the past few weeks. Things I thought were so secure started to crumble and slip through my fingers. I was scrambling to grab things as they fell, but all the things I had been juggling on my own started hitting the floor.
And finally, I turned to God. I cried, I prayed, I begged God to give me clarity. And man, did I learn so. much.
Number one: We cannot beg God to take heavy weights off of us and then refuse to let go of them. Growing up, I always heard the phrase “leave your burdens at the cross”, and while it seemed like a good lesson, I didn’t really understand it because I hadn’t ever experienced it. But something clicked after begging God to take things away for two weeks and then wondering why he wouldn’t; He would. But I wasn’t letting Him.
Number two (And this ones the big lesson): The way I experience Christianity has changed so much in such a short amount of time. I grew up in a pastor’s home, so I had all the answers. I knew the “right way” to pray and the “right answers” that people wanted to hear. I knew the “right way” to behave in a church and the “right way” to approach problems. But I have come to realize that the “right way” to be a Christian is ridiculous. We are all human beings, created by God, and he made all of us different. God knows us. And that means that God knows when we’re being fake. He can tell when we’re insincere.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to be honest with God. And I mean, painfully, heart-breakingly honest. It’s okay to cry out to him and admit your greatest weaknesses. It’s okay to talk to him and say “I can’t go a second longer God. I am out of hope and my faith is small”. It’s okay! Life is hard, and we’re going to experience those feelings of doubt and despair. And God should not be someone that you hide away from or sugar coat things to. I reached a point where I was saying, “God, I don’t even know what you’re doing, and I don’t know why you’d do it. I don’t understand why these things are happening, and frankly, I don’t like it. I am helpless and lost, and you are the only one who can help me through”. It was at that point that my relationship with God was pushed to the “next level”, because I was allowing myself to be authentic with a God who already knew these things about me.
He knows what frustrates you. He knows what hurts you. He knows your limits. He knows everything about you! He made you!
I don’t want to be a sugarcoated Christian anymore. I don’t want to be unauthentic with my God. Because if my prayers and communication are fake, then so is my relationship, and that is the wrong place to be.
Don’t be afraid to admit your brokenness to God. He’s the only one who can put you back together.