losing control.

Hey there, it’s been a while! Those are probably my least favorite words to say on this blog, even though I’ve said them all too often in the past year. Recently I came across an article that included the statement, “True writers write even when they don’t feel like it.” For as long as I can remember, my brain has been wired to put pen to paper as often as possible; doing so has made me better — as a person, as a writer, and in my relationship with God. I use all of this to say that throughout the past year or so, the words haven’t come as easily.

Hitting the “X years ago” mark often makes me reminiscent. When I think about who I was just one year ago as I prepared for a completely new and unknown stage of life, I am shown just how far I have fallen. This should have been a time to strengthen my reliance on God. It should have been a time where I allowed Him to continue making me into the person He had so diligently crafted during my college years. Instead, the past year has made me increasingly more obsessed with control each and every day. I want ultimate control of my job, my finances, what happens to the people I love, and so much more. And little by little, my need for control has made me less of the person that the Lord is making me into, and more into someone who grips tightly to temporary possessions.

It would be easy to look at one instance and say, “THIS is where it all started,” but I know that no matter what life-changing (in relative terms) events have come my way in the past year, none of them truly hold the power to change me in this way. No, the real story is that since I left college, I have struggled to understand what it looks like to follow God without Christian peers always surrounding me. And because it was a struggle, I silently gave up — even in terms of self-realization. I accepted the spiritual dullness as a “transition phase,” hoping that somehow my spiritual life would magically blossom again without any effort on my own part.

Here’s the reality: no matter how far God reaches to me from His end, there is no way for me to be satisfied in God without realizing my need for Him. And there’s no way to realize my need for Him without reflecting on what He did for me on the cross.

What I’ve noticed during this time is that God is extending a hand to all of us — whether we’re professing Christians or not. He sent His Son to die for all of us, and He offers His grace to all of us. So for any of us to claim that God just isn’t “there” goes against everything that He promised. In our times of spiritual dullness (or absence, for some), the problem doesn’t rest with God; it rests with us — but here’s the paradox: while the problem lies in us, the only way to fix it is through Him.

Look at Psalm 61:2: From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. When our hearts grow faint and our passion for God dwindles, we can’t ignite a fire by doing more things that we hope will please Him. That will simply make us into people trying to earn God’s favor, the notion of which He crushed when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. And if you’ve ever tried this method, you know that it leaves us exhausted and discouraged. The only solution is to go back to the gospel: we were more sinful that we ever dared to believe, but we were more loved than we ever dared to hope. The more we reflect on this, the softer our hearts become. And by extension, the Lord builds us into the people we were always intended to be — something only a creator can do.

Don’t get me wrong, as evidenced by my lack of posts recently, this isn’t something that reaps a harvest overnight. The moment I turned away from the ultimate source of spiritual life and growth, everything that had come alive in me spiritually began to shrink again. It has been a painful process, and I’ve continued to believe that I could curb it by seizing control over as many aspects of my life as possible — but it didn’t work, it only fueled a fire of helplessness and confusion.

All I can say is that even if the right words aren’t flowing out of my heart in this time of weakness, the biggest favor I can do for myself and you all is to continue to pour out what is happening in my spiritual life with honesty and candidness. This blog wouldn’t be a reflection of real life if it didn’t include the challenges and heartbreaks that come with the times when we feel faithless. But since the power of God doesn’t rest on my own strength but in the One who gave it all for me, I can be assured that even during these incredibly dull, frustrating “spiritual slumps,” the Lord sees me in my brokenness and fights for me anyway. That’s what makes the story of the gospel so amazing — God didn’t leave us when we failed; He brought us closer. So as I sit here with a stubborn heart and a guarded soul, I hold close to the promise that when the “slump” ends, my understanding of God’s love for me will be that much more vivid and real. What a true blessing that our Lord can make the most beautiful things out of nothing.

“These [trials] have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

-1 Peter 1:7

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