At the beginning of my journey, I felt so far from God. Although I knew that He was there, I could not get rid of the feelings of being distance. It can get frustrating when you’re seeking Him, but He isn’t answering you in the way you want Him which leads to feelings of rejection. God is not like that because He loves us. It is us who cannot feel Him, because I guarantee He feels for every one of His children. I learn more about Jesus Christ every single day that I am in covenant with Him. There is no such thing as mastery of a relationship! We can only improve our relationship. The key is to understand that the relationship with Him is a growing process that takes years to develop. With patience and adamancy, the beautiful relationship with Jesus Christ will come to fruition.
Scraped Knees :
Like sports, our journey with God always begins somewhere where we are learning and making mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, then you are not learning. We must learn to fall in order to get back up and we must learn to walk before we can run. I remember when I was learning how to walk, I always had these huge bruised knees. I was born with feet not normal, they were put on backward and on their sides. Years of falling on my knees because I couldn’t walk properly was the evidence. Ambitious, I found a way to walk. The key was I never stopped moving. Moving forward and backward because they were like stilts and standing still was nearly impossible. Surely if I can find a way to walk with that, then we can find a way to be in a relationship with Him.
Honestly, the hardest time for me was at the beginning of my relationship with God because my fundamental concepts were being challenged. It is usually the time where our only knowledge of Him is from other people and from sources. It is difficult to discern heavenly wisdom and your wisdom. Learning about Christ is like drinking tea with a teacher. If your tea is so full, how can the teacher fill your cup with tea? The teacher may overfill your cup with tea, but your tea is still mixed in. If you want the purest tea from the teacher, it is best to empty your cup as to be a willing cup accepting his tea. Then you get the full mighty tastiness of his tea.
Trust the Process :
We may arrive at the church because we are hurt and we don’t know what to turn to. When we are hurt we become so desiring of healing that we rush things through with Him. We may not prefer quality time with Him, but rather that He rushes to work his grace. Like a chick who must proceed to struggle in order to gain the strength to break his eggshell. For if the eggshell was broken before the chick was strong enough, then the chick will most certainly die because the chick is not strong enough to survive the real world. Like the chick, we must struggle in the beginning not to feel more pain but to attain the strength we receive when we are fighting every day. Rush it, and when bad times come we will most certainly fall and perhaps fall further.
I am impatient so I really struggle with long-term goals. I was the same way with Jesus Christ and I saw that it was faulty because the relationship with Him doesn’t end. If you are in it for the 15-year plan then you’re in it for the wrong reason! When you commit, you commit not only for this life but for ALL eternity. I felt like in the beginning, the process was going to take ages. The reason many people are not willing to commit is the amount of time required. We worry about our time and whether the effort will be worth it. This becomes extremely nagging when we are suffering and just want that quick fix. I assure you when you have nothing to lose there is no greater investment than in the relationship with Him!
It is so much better to go into this journey with a friend. My friend Dominic had invited me to a group of young adults who were in fellowship with God. I was initially ecstatic, but then old habits rushed back. Anxiety filled me and I became a nervous wreck. I wanted to go, yet at the same time, I figured it’d be easier if I didn’t. I was thinking out of fear, which came from the devil. It was the fear of being singled out and being in a stranger’s place as a stranger that put me off. This fear-thinking reasoned to myself that I didn’t need to go because I would get less out of it than good. It was that fear-thinking that tricked me into believing that I would be hurt and that I didn’t need to be hurt if only I didn’t go.
However, it was being contested with thinking out of love, which came from God. I wasn’t going to be fooled by the devil any longer. Even though my power in Christ was dormant and I didn’t realize it, it was Him who caused me to be ecstatic. It was that little power that enabled me to go ahead and accept the invitation. I was thirsty and I had a friend who was there for me. God had paved the way for me and now it was up to me to go come through.
I would ask Jordan, the youth pastor, a year later from that point, “Is it that perfect love drives out fear, or that true love leaves no room for love?” He couldn’t give me an answer, but what I can tell you is that when you are thinking out of love you become so preoccupied that fear has no way to creep in. If you condition your thinking to be through Christ then fear cannot take root. Fear is similar to the seed that guides spiritual growth in that it must set and root itself, but unlike the seed of life, it sucks the life out of you. Leave it no good soil for it to take root and you will give fear no chance to take root. I believe in the power of Jesus Christ to fulfill that promise.
I really am grateful for Dom for being there for me. He probably didn’t notice the pain but hiding pain is something that I’ve gotten good at. However, when it comes to these life groups, there is no pain that can be hidden. In order to grow, everything must be put on the table. Healing starts when we expose ourselves and become vulnerable. That was the difficult part because I had already decided at that point that it wasn’t going to work for me. These groups though have a tendency to break you down. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Because ya know, Christianity is supposed to be boring. Right?