This year has been one of the toughest years on record, and that has only transpired since Hurricane Harvey. Now, while I was not directly affected by the hurricane in the terms of damage, though so many others were, I was met with the difficulties of adjusting school schedules, time away from work, and just the stresses that come from such a storm. In March, I started at a new job as a full time employee, I’ve expanded my personal business as well, and I’ve been attending school full time for a couple years now. I have been, and at the moment, burning the candle at both ends. I’ll be honest, it’s been slowly wearing me down for months. I’ve not been depressed, but rather just tired. Not exhausted, but just tired. Over the last couple months, I’ve been scraping to reclaim any spare moment of time where I could remove myself from the world for a couple hours here and there just to recharge. Unfortunately, I’ve been been claiming some of that time from places that I probably should not have.
Every Sunday, I assist with the audio-visual media for the youth service of the congregation that I attend, then I co-lead a small group of ninth grade students from the youth group after their message, before going to my college Bible study class where I again assist with the audio-visual component of our displaced classroom. Lately, I’ve fulfilled my duties with the youth, and then going to my class to check their media needs before leaving just after the class begins. I slip out the door at the back of the classroom and head home to nap, play video game, and just rest. While this behavior is not inherently detrimental, especially due to rest being a necessity for our wellbeing, I’ve kind of just been idle for over a month. Here, in this idleness, this apathy, I’ve fallen into the trap of removing myself from community, a much needed community that I so fondly appreciate! So what did I do? Well, I took the week of Thanksgiving off from work. I spent a couple days catching up on some school work before spending the rest of the week resting and spending time with my family.
Come the next Sunday, I was recharged and found myself returning to a place where I was stepping back into proper reverence for my God! My mentality toward service returned to a place of opportunity, not a job. I had spent two months in a valley of darkness, a place of depravity where my soul lingered and was subsequently drained. Only to take one first step out into the incline of the mountain and once again stood into the light ready to linger in the presence of the Lord! Luckily for me, there are things to look forward to!
We all go through seasons of difficulty and seasons of success. The ups and down of life are both areas in which growth occurs. For me, during this time, I could not and still do not see where it is I am being grown and stretched. Yet, I know that the Lord is working and stirring within me for the benefit of His kingdom. Despite my limited, human view, I am faithful that this season is for my growth and greater dependance upon the Lord. Trust in the Lord is easy at time, while also being more difficult at times. So what makes entering into a place where you go idle is the lacking of perspective and understanding. It makes you question where your strength and energy originates. It makes you question where you are headed. I must admit that had I not had the perspective of where I was within the valley, it more than likely would not have been headed into a good direction.
Too, do I have exceptional friends, Jesus Family, that transcend blood and distance to keep me accountable. I’ve been blessed to have people reach out and pull me through this time, to talk, to listen, and to share in life. Being a student at a seminary working toward a degree in Biblical studies makes it difficult, for myself at the least, to find a way to work what you know and twist it around on yourself. Being a know-it-all is the easiest path to use the knowledge that you learn along the way, which is why I am so appreciative of my friends who are able to correct me and call me back to a place to recognize my faults, my sins. Looking back through this time, I believe this has been a season of preparation, to grow up, as things loom on the horizon.
In 2015, I attended my first Passion Conference at the Toyota Center in Houston. I attended the conference with my new college minister and the small core of our college ministry at that time. While I enjoyed my time, it was difficult to turn off my seminary mind and criticism of those speaking at the conference. Setting aside what I found to be poor interpretation and execution of Scripture, I was too hard of heart to let the Spirit speak to me through those there to speak to us. Well, in January, I will be going to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Passion 2018 with my college ministry which has grown larger in number and deeper in Spirit. I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to be receptive to what I have to be taught by the Spirit. I earnestly ask to be broken down, knocked down a couple pegs, as someone who has need to be more compassionate, more personal in my application of Scripture.
Looking back, I see the path I’ve travelled and the walls of the valley which surrounded me, just for a season, and see where I could have done better. I look ahead, and see opportunity to be better, to mature, and to hold fast to the truth which I know. God has placed me on a path that I cannot explain, nor can I hope for myself. I am far better off along the path set before me than the one I tread myself. So if there is anything I can ask of the Lord at this time, anything that I am lacking, it is joy! Joy! Let me rejoice in the Lord, may I celebrate the work He continues to do in the lives of those around me. May I cheer on others who’s hearts the Lord is stirring. May I love others deeper, may my attitude reflect the endless, ceaseless grace that has been bestowed that I do not deserve!
This is the first piece that I plan to write in the next few weeks leading up to the Passion Conference. I appreciate that you took the time to read this post and visit my new blog. I hope that I will be able to continue to write in such a way that I may share my thoughts, experiences, and life with you as I move toward being a more faithful servant to the Lord.
Grace and peace be upon you,