Lately I’ve been really inspired by the idea of living a great story. I want my life to be so full; I just love doing stuff. I think Jesus calls us to adventure and I’ve been relishing in the great big question mark of my life. I don’t have any real, strict plans or ideas for what I want my future to look like. I’m ready to drop everything in a second when Jesus calls. And I want to give Jesus my unconditional yes, no matter where He calls me. I think this mindset leads to a lot of joy. It comes from a place of deep faith and trust and abundance, knowing that if I have Jesus, I have all I need. But that’s not what this blog post is about.
This morning, I woke up with an anxious heart.
And y’all, most days I wake up with a smile on my face, so excited for the new day. I wake up encouraged about loving people in new ways. I remind myself that the very fact that I woke up is grace and means God believes in me. I wake up and decide that today will be a great day.
Yet this morning, I woke up and didn’t immediately call to mind that God has a good plan for me, even on this very day. I didn’t tell myself that today is the perfect day to love people extravagantly, or that God believes in me. I woke up, thought about the big question mark of my life, and felt like the walls of my heart were crashing in on me.
This summer ahead is my most immediate question mark. These next few months are jam packed with things, but new things and lots of unknowns. All these things will lead to me living a great story, but I’m nervous and fearful. I’m in such a beautiful season right now and I don’t want it to end. This morning, I woke up with fear and asked, “what if?” What if I hate all these things I signed up for? What if this was actually a bad choice? What if I’m really lonely? What if this is a season of regret and suffering?
It’s really easy when you’re super inspired about something to embrace it fully and not let fear get in the way. But on the days you don’t feel inspired, anxiety and fear can creep in and steal the joy that was once found. I was super excited about the fact that this summer, and ultimately my life, had so much open space for God to work and do beautiful things. Today, anxiety crept in and gnawed away at the joy I once felt about the unknown.
Remember. Remember God’s promises. Remember His faithfulness. Remember the ways He’s shown you He loves you before. Remember, remember, remember.
I read this great book by Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way. In it, she says
Get busy, get distracted, and you can forget God. Forget God, and you lose your mind and your peace. Forget God, and all you remember is anxiety. Anxiety can give you God-Alzheimer’s. Forget the face of God, and you forget your own name is Beloved.
wow wow wow, color me convicted.
I’m so guilty of forgetting God. One of the greatest callings we have as Christians is to be a remembering people. We must remember how God created the world and pursues the hearts of His sinful yet chosen people. We must remember His character and the promises He’s made to us. We must remember how He sent Jesus. We must remember Christ’s finished work on the cross and the depth of what that means for us. We’ve gotta remember.
I think a lot of my anxiety and fear rise from my chronic forgetfulness of God.
So today, after I woke up and let the anxiety creep in, I felt a little paralyzed; I didn’t know what to do. I felt such a deep unrest. John Piper said something that really stuck in my heart and it goes like this,
If you wake up feeling fragile, read the Bible until you find a promise strong enough to carry you through the day.
Y’all, I love that. That’s exactly how I felt: fragile. Anxious. Fearful. On the verge of breaking. And I’m not sure why all those feelings hit me this morning, but wow did I have a case of God-amnesia. Yet, I’m so glad for JP’s practical advice; read the Bible. When you wake up feeling ultra-aware of your brokenness, spend time in the Word until you find something strong enough to carry you through the day. And you will find something.
This morning was a little mini time of suffering. Yes, I want to be constantly excited about what life has ahead of me and how God will write my story. But I’m not sure how much that will promote spiritual growth if that’s how I always feel. Times of suffering are often when we feel closest to God because we’re holding onto Him the tightest. Any place that reminds you of your desperation for God is a pretty good place to be, and this morning I was reminded of my deep, deep need.
I spent a longer time than usual in the Word and in my journal, writing down all my feelings and prayers. And then I literally walked around campus for twenty minutes and listened to “Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go” and those lyrics brought so much comfort to my heart.
Oh, joy that seeks me through the pain
I cannot close my heart to Thee
I chase the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be
Saying rejoice, my heart
Rejoice, my soul
My Savior God has come to thee
And rejoice, my heart
You’ve been made whole
By a love that will not let me go
It’s a love that will not let me go
Every time I drive from Denton to Corpus or the other way around, I see the Schlotzky’s where I stopped on my very first time to Denton. I remember walking in, grabbing a booth, and then breaking down crying. I was so scared about the move. I didn’t know what God was doing (lol do we ever?) and I felt so fragile. Now every time I pass by that Schlotzky’s, I always smile to myself and laugh a little bit. Silly girl, God had it covered.
Rejoice, my heart. You’ve been made whole. Even in the unknowns and question marks, His Love will not let me go.