Through Smoke: wrestling with being human.

Hello there.

 

I haven’t written here in much too long. I could give you a lot of valid reasons, but we won’t go into that because I know the real, singular reason I haven’t written.

The real reason that I haven’t been writing is that I’ve been struggling. And when I’m struggling I can’t write about anything.

 

And to be honest, I didn’t feel as through I wanted to sort the depths of my soul out on the internet. Which is also valid, but as I said before we won’t go into that.

 

I’ve been struggling with a lot of things. Confusion, anger, restlessness, lack of motivation, depression. My mother has asked me more within the past two weeks if I’m doing all right more than I’ve known what to do with. I shrug. I say “yeah, I’m fine.” Or a vague “yeah, I just have a headache.” Which in most cases has been true. I haven’t felt like eating, I sleep but my dreams take the rest out of it. I can’t focus on anything. I’ve been ignoring reading in the Word, and trying to get off with generic prayers. But I feel my Spirit prodding me, saying “this isn’t enough.”

 

I know it’s not been enough. But I can’t shake this feeling of numbness.  The only answer I can give for why, is that I’ve been feeling such a stirring in my Spirit. As though I’m being prepared for something new. A new leg of the journey. And either I’m being put through fire, or satan really doesn’t want me to continue on this new adventure. To the point where I’ve felt sick. And for a couple days now I haven’t been able to pin down the source of this increasing burden. My shoulders are developing knots and I feel like I can’t look people in the eye.

My Mother told me yesterday that she feels like I’m somewhere far away. Again I shrugged. I feel like I’ve been beat up Spiritually, and instead of going to the Healer I’ve been trying to pacify it through human means. But movies and books and music can only go so far before you have to come back to terms with reality, and you can’t do much before your mind goes back to the fact that you’re feeling quite lost.

I find myself wondering why I didn’t just set it all at Jesus’ feet, as I would under normal circumstances  Because throughout my short time of being devoted to Christ, I have learned that He’s the only answer. And the only times I’ve felt any sort of completeness or peace, it was Him. It was Jesus taking it all on Himself with the beautiful self-sacrifice that I’m never able to entirely grasp. At the very core it’s always been Him. So why not this time? Why weeks of unrest and inner turmoil? I can’t say I know because I don’t. But at this point I believe it’s been growing pains. That’s the only thing that has resonated, the only thing I can match up against the Word, and say “yes this makes sense.”

 

And as I examine my heart, I find that I’ve been quite ashamed to be having struggles of this kind. I’m not a mean person by nature. Though it’s a vice that flares up in me, it’s not a daily battle. Therefore, dealing with it out of nowhere has proved to be difficult. And I felt like I couldn’t look into the eyes of my Father and say “I can’t do it.” You know, human nature likes to convince us that we lose points in the eyes of God when we can’t handle things. And my innate fear of seeming less than to the Being whose love means the most to me crept in. And for a moment I believed that there was something I could do to earn the love of my Father.  My nature longs to work at it. My inclinations of the flesh tell me that love is conditional. But because the spirit is in me, I know better. I know that the truth is that His power is made perfect in our weakness. And that the Gospel is the Gospel whether we respond or not. I know that the truth is that my love for Jesus is not an emotion, but a choice. A lifelong commitment. Bless the day that our purified souls can escape these cumbersome bodies that temp and weigh us down! That we will be restored, delivered from this constant battles.

 

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering where the clarity that I just exhibited crept upon the very different girl of the former paragraphs. But I can’t pinpoint it because I believe God allows us to wrestle with things and He opens our ears and sharpens our perception at the time when the Spirit will glean what God wants us to glean. Life lessons.

All in all, the truth is indeed always with us. The Holy Spirit is so. good. to enlighten us to what God is saying. The (in true allegorical perfection)  that the reason it’s called going through fire is that you’re burned and tested, just like gold. There is very real heat. There is very real pain. But I recall God speaking to Israel  and constantly telling them that He must purge the evil from among them. It’s a comfort to me to know that sanctification is a process, and that I am not in control. My role is merely to obey. And even when I feel as though I can’t handle it, my loving Father gives me courage an strength.

 

Today when I got home, I read a passage in 1st Peter. The whole forth chapter really nailed it.  As I’m approaching 16, I’ve been deeply pondering what I do with my time. You may laugh, because (as I’m aware) I’m still quite young. But as my parents will confirm, I’m an advocate for the realization that life begins when it begins. When you’re born, not when you graduate. And when people ask me what I’m going to do with my life, I can’t help but laugh because I feel as though I’m already doing it.   I’ve tried to use my time well, and God has been faithful as I see the fruit time consistently spend in the word, and in prayer. I’ve been immensely blessed by  parents who love me, and teach me, and admonish me when I’m off base and encourage me when I want to give up. I have three brothers who teach me more with actions than words than I’d like to own, but as former words have communicated, I’m trying my best to be honest here. I have incredible mentors and friends who have always been there for me, to listen to the things I’m wrestling with.

Somehow I feel as though by sinning I become less Sydney. Less of a Christ follower.  But I do sin. Every day. And that’s why Jesus, that’s why grace. And that’s hard to embrace for me at times.  But I am reminded by the Word and the influence of humans that I have committed to God, and He loves me. He has a purpose for me, and that gives me a “fire in my bones” so that no matter how burnt I’ve gotten, I must  keep going. I can’t stop. And it’s enthralling, miraculous, and truly by the grace of God alone.

 

I know I’ve already written a book, but I think it’s only appropriate to end with the passage that has brought me the most comfort, clarity, and encouragement through my wrestling.

1st Peter 4:1-14:

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others,as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”

 

I’m so thankful to everyone who takes the time to read what I write. I love you guys.

 

-Sydney

 

 

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