With this date marking the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 tragedies, I had planned over the weekend to write something to the affect of remembrance for this
With other spiritual struggles looming, I feel led to pursue a different route. Not to cheapen the tragedy that took place on that September day by any means. It's a day burned into my brain -- one I hope to never relive and one I will never forget.
Over the course of the last 7 or 8 months, I've started to feel a lull in my life in the spiritual sense. I believe that all Christians go through phases where the "heat" waxes and wanes. Not to say that we turn away or forget about Christ, but moreso just that there are times when what we assume to be more pressing matters take center stage, and vice versa.
I feel like I'm in the middle of one of these seasons right now. To be honest, feeling overwhelmed by all of the "church" I'm doing, but still unfulfilled at the end of the day. It's like I'm missing the big picture -- Jesus. Redemption. Joy. Peace. Fruitfullness.
But that's only part of the picture. The bigger part is me needing an attitude 180. Little by little, certain things and situations surrounding "church" have irked me. To the point where I've mentally tallied a pro/con list. Yeah, because "church" revolves around me obviously. I know that it doesn't and that it's impossible to please everyone.
But there was a time not long ago where I woke up on a Sunday morning and couldn't wait to get to church and learn the Word. Same for Wednesday. I haven't felt that feeling in months, but still week after week, I'm there.
Going through the motions? Perhaps.
Because it's the right thing to do? Definitely.
Still with all the volunteerwork and hours spent at "church," shouldn't I be fulfilled?
True to my Type A nature, instead of sulking about things I obviously cannot change, it's time to turn around and focus on something I can change -- me.
My attitude, my outlook, you name it.
So things aren't going my way? If I don't get that "it's all about me" attitude in check, I'll never feel satisfied.
Is it worth searching for a new church home and the work of starting over somewhere new if I haven't exhausted all efforts in my current situation? Definitely not.
Step 1 in this attitude makeover is serious time in confession. Asking for forgiveness. Marking off my laundry list of sin one by one. Painful but humbling.
Pride, selfishness, worry, distrust, ungratefulness, anger.
On a whim (who am I kidding, there are no whims with the Holy Spirit), I flipped to Psalm 32. Written by David expressing the joy of forgiveness. True forgiveness from a God who wants to forgive, pouring out His grace, eager to clear the slate.
All I have to do is ask.
Verse 1: "Oh what joy for those who disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!"
Verse 3: "When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away and I groaned all day long." <-- sounds vaguely familiar
Verse 4: "Finally, I confessed all my sins to You and stopped trying to hide my guilt...And You forgave me!"
And now comes the best part...
Verse 8: "The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life, I will advise you and watch over you.' "
It's like God says, now that you've done the hard part, you wanna see what comes next?? Here, I'll show you. I always have your best interest at heart. Let me advise you. Let me watch over you.
I like the picture shown in verse 9: "Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control."
Some people refuse to let God take the reigns (I've been one of them), and they stubbornly leave God only one option -- my way or the highway. So, as a way to refine us and make us more like Christ, it's like asking for discipline. No doubt that God prefers to take the other route -- for us to let Him fully take the reigns and guide us step by step on the path that He wants for us. One that doesn't involve discipline or stubborness.
Thank you, Jesus, for loving me enough that You won't leave in the pitiful place I am now. Thank you for grace and mercy, which never end. Thank you for being eager to forgive me, even when I'm not eager in extending that forgiveness to others. Thank you for lettting me be real and loving me anyway -- the good, the bad, the ugly.
This life is hard and days will come when tragedy strikes and our world is shaken (such as the events of September 11, 2001), but Your Word reminds us to
"Take heart, for I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33)