have you ever had one of those moments where you have a thought, and it makes you come alive?
an aha moment, where things just click and make sense and you (finally) feel like something is moving and working that has been stagnant for so long?
for me, those moments happen oftentimes two places:
1.in Bible study or
2. in the shower.
Or in this case, both.
(No, I wasn’t reading my Bible in the shower, that is weird- even for me!).
lately my faith has left me feeling a bit lifeless. it’s been lethargic– just barely there. i read, i pray, i journal, but i do those things and nothing feels like it’s happening from them. I pray, but i’m scared to talk about the big things. i read, but usually very fast and just enough to get through a devotional- not really enough for the words to sink in. i journal and write, but some days i don’t feel like i make sense, or feel like it’s fruitless to write about faith when i’m in such a rut.
i felt like i was stuck. or worse, moving in reverse. i’m lost about what the future holds. scared about the present. exhausted from the past few months. nothing has felt like it’s gone right in a long time– and that goes for my faith, too.
But, a few days ago I was reading a verse, and it’s moved around in my head over the past few days… and in the shower tonight, i was thinking some more, and it just clicked for me. and i got excited. i may have gotten out of the shower dancing, but i’ll let you decide if that actually happened or not. i have been all bouncy and excited and just downright joyful for the past few hours, all because something clicked in my brain. and it made life make so much more sense.
it’s crazy to me how in one sudden moment, one thought triggered an avalanche of thoughts– and words became clearer, his voice became louder, and a spark just became lit under me and made my soul ignite.
it’s amazing what happens when I come alive to what He’s doing- or in this case, what he’s saying.
in case you were actually wondering what i’m talking about when i write this, i’ll stop being vague now.
“what if you believed what i say about you?”
i was reading scripture a few nights ago, something honestly i haven’t done in awhile. I read it on my phone for devotional or in a blog post, sure, but i haven’t just sat with my bible and read in a long time. I felt overwhelmed, as i typically do; i knew i needed away from the computer and out of my head for a bit. so i grabbed my bible off my desk, and read.
i’m not one to typically rummage through the bible, russian roulette-style, waiting for God to throw a random verse or story in my face that I need to read. I prefer direction and guidance of some sort. i usually look through the psalms, or go to a favorite book/verse and go from there.
The bible i have was a gift from my nana for Christmas my freshman year- i still love it. it has a pocket in the back, which typically i would have filled with random papers or what have you. for some reason i didn’t though- it just had 2 pieces of paper in it.
From freshman year.
They were papers from a women’s chapel when my friend April was the campus minister. We were talking about discerning the voice of God- which is a topic i currently need to re-visit, because hello i need to hear from him about a few things right now. One piece of paper was a personal exercise on what we needed to hear from God about (unsurprisingly, 4 years later, the things I need to hear about are almost the exact same- funny, huh?!). The second page was quotes from a Priscilla Shrirer book on the same topic, talking about things to do to see if it’s God’s voice you’re hearing. The scriptural example was 1 Samuel 3, where Samuel keeps hearing from God but he doesn’t know it’s him, so he keeps asking Eli why he’s calling for him. When Eli finally figures it out, Samuel listens and does what the Lord says, even though it’s really hard because it involves Eli. This is where it gets crazy for me, y’all.
The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. -1 Sam 3:19 (NIV)
Now, when I first read that, I was a little confused… does that mean God never let Sam’s words fall to the ground? Or vice versa?
If you’re anything like me, you need to look at other translations at this point, just to see how they say it, for clarity’s sake.
My personal fave has always been NCV:
19 The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up; he did not let any of Samuel’s messages fail to come true.
Also a big ESV fan:
19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.
you can see the linguistic shift here- at first it’s appearing that we’re talking about Samuel’s messages, but here it’s talking about the Lord’s messages for Samuel. or rather, his messages through Samuel. None of the words the Lord said through Samuel’s prophecy fell to the ground- He made sure everything Samuel said of the Lord’s was truth.
and lastly, The Voice- I never use this one for academics, but in personal study it’s one of my favorites:
19 As Samuel grew, the Eternal One guided him and none of His words were lost on Samuel.
none of his words were lost on Samuel. none. everything he said to and through Samuel– and Samuel believed them, and told the people what the Lord said.
“what if you believed what i say about you?”
That was the word I got, reading that last translation. That was the voice in my head and my heart, finally coming alive to something I needed to hear.
what if i believed what he said to me? or about me? or through me?
how would i live differently if I believed everything the Lord said?
what would happen if i truly, truly, believed what he said?
what on earth would that actually look like?
i’ve spent so much of my faith life in a half-truth situation: i believe, sure. he’s for me, he loves me, he’s got a plan. when everything’s going my way? awesome. I totally believe and worship the god that makes all things awesome.
and then, all hell breaks loose, and i lose my footing in those half-truths. because half-truths aren’t really truths at all.
and i decide maybe just maybe, my plans and way of doing life is better. that if life is bad, it isn’t from god. only the good stuff comes when i say yes to jesus.
oh how quickly i forget. and how quickly i learn.
he doesn’t make things go the way I want them- he makes things go the way they’re supposed to. He makes paths straight, he declares plans. but they aren’t necessarily the paths or the plans i have in mind.
life isn’t necessarily going to be great every moment– but he promises to be there and love us through it all, ups and dowsns and in-betweens. We aren’t guaranteed an easy ride- quite the opposite. We’re guaranteed the support and love of a God who loves us enough to direct our paths, even if it means us getting lost and hurt and confused by our own means in the process.
i wasn’t made to live believing only halfway. i was made to live life that’s bigger and better than what I can imagine… but i have to truly believe it for it to really happen.
so, what will my life look like if i truly believe in every word he says– not in these half-truths i’ve constructed?
what will life look like if i truly believe he has a plan for me– even when right now i have no clue what that plan looks like?
how will i live knowing that all things come together for those that truly love him?
how will i live believing that he loves me fully, knowing all my troubles, my doubts, my questions and fears? what does life look like believing you’re fully known and fully loved?
i’m still trying to figure that out. but i believe that this question, this thought, has started making my faith that felt lost and stagnant in a sea of confusion and worry and stress come back alive again. And even if i don’t have an answer yet, i know this: an alive faith brings much more joy to life than a lethargic faith.
i don’t want to go through the motions anymore. i don’t want to live life questioning his plans, or his love, or his words anymore. I want to life a live that believes what he says.
and it all began with just one tiny verse, with one tiny spark… amazing how God can move mountains in my heart with one thought.
when we come alive- switchfoot
This is a post in my 31 Days series. Don’t know what that means? Go here!