WHEN FAITH BECOMES FAITH
The nurse leaned up against the counter, crossed her arms and said, “Well sweetie, it sounds like you have a lot going on in life that you can’t control. The only thing that has ever worked for me was God. Practice putting things on the God shelf, and letting it go.”
And the tears came. As she handed me tissues I couldn’t help but think... Is it bad that I’d almost rather have had some kind of physical diagnosis than be told I had a severe anxiety attack? I immediately felt the shame and embarrassment wash over me.
“You’re supposed to be full of Jesus, why are you anxious?”,
“This isn’t what you preached in church.”,
“I thought you had a renewed mind?”
Etc... Whatever negative thought you can think of, you name it...I heard it, and felt it immensely.
I left the urgent care with nothing more than a bucket full of shame that I needed to sort out, and a prescription to go deeper with God.
When I got home, I sunk to the floor and cried.
“I’m so tired of this!” I wept to God.
Tired of my season, the loneliness, the wondering, the attacks, the jabs... just tired. And not just for my own life but my friends and family. I bore my heart to God in deep vulnerability. I felt disappointed in Him, let down, even left alone... although I know that’s not the case.
He stood in front of me with patience as I released all of my heart. And when I came to the end of myself, He knelt down, wiped the tears from my face, and looked me in the eyes. I noticed now, that He had tears in His eyes too. He wrapped His arms around me and held me as I broke completely. Crying loud enough to wake the neighbors, I let months, even years of anxiety, heart break, disappointment, stress, financial problems, inadequacies, comparisons.... leave me. His embrace was strong, but I knew He was crying as he held me.
After a good moment there, I knew I had to fight this battle from where He finished. Lying in this valley was not going to get me anywhere.
I walked across the room, picked up my guitar, and I started to worship.
“Falling on my knees in worship, giving all I am to seek your face, Lord all I am is yours…”
The sound wasn’t pretty, as I was singing through choked up tears... but I sang with all of my might, knowing that there HAS to be more than a life of anxiety. There HAS to be more than health problems and illness. There HAS to be more than struggle and depression.
“My whole life I place in your hands, God of mercy, humbled I bow down, in your presence, at your throne…”
I felt the ferocity rising within me. Through the weakness of my fleshly body, something greater began to give me life and strength. Although my emotions still felt the pangs from the aftermath of anxiety, my spirit was shouting a new song, and somewhere in the fogginess of my mind I knew there was a crystal clear light that began to shine brighter and brighter as I continued to sing.
“In my life, be lifted high. In my world, be lifted high. In my love, be lifted high.”
When the song was finished, I felt peace.
I picked up my Bible and looked out my window at the mountains.
“There HAS to be more, Papa.” I said to Him with longing.
I opened to 2 Samuel, and landed on Daniel’s prayer.
“How great you are, Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears…You are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.”
I looked up at the mountains again and said, “Let it be so.”
I’m not writing this article to prove some mighty and righteous point of my success in the faith. If anything, I felt compelled to write about this debilitating moment because it humbled me. And it reminded me that I’m not perfect, but I’m connected to the One who is. And it’s in these moments, when life gets thrown in your face, that He becomes real.
It’s easy to praise Him and give thanks when everything is going my way, but what about when it feels like my life is out of control? When I can’t think straight, or take a deep breath, and panic settles itself around me? Can I lift up my hands and praise Him then?
You see, faith isn’t faith if you don’t have opportunity to exercise it. Up until that moment of activation, your faith is a belief you have in the existence of the word; the definition of the word... but nothing more than an object, resting on a shelf. It’s not until there’s someone breaking into your front door to rob you, that you run to that shelf and pick up that object that turns out to be a weapon, and use it. And that, my friends, is when it all becomes real, and you discover what’s inside of you.
Although I hate what happened to me yesterday, and I believe it’s under my feet, I consider it an honor that God trusted me to walk through it. He knew the enemy was going to throw it at me, and try to push me off course...but something in my Heavenly Father said, “Go ahead devil, and try. You think you will besiege her, but no...it is YOU that will stumble and fall. For she is mine and I am hers, and she is a lion, not a lamb.” God knew that I would not let this overtake me, but in the face of it, choose to seek Him deeper and with more fervor, ultimately becoming stronger and gaining more authority. He trusted me enough to step back and watch as I battled through this and chose to worship Heaven over the circumstances of earth. Like a good Father, who knows He raised His child right...He trusted me to face my own Goliath.
When we partner with the truth that we aren’t living for ourselves, but for a greater Heavenly purpose, it gives us strength to endure the hardships we face...because we WILL face them. Understanding that the reason I woke up with breath today was not for myself, but for Him who gave me life... frees me from the affects my circumstances might attempt to have on me. When darkness is at my front door, or I’ve encountered pain along my path, this truth that I have explained gives me great reason to know that what happens to me, has absolutely nothing to do with WHO I AM, WHY I’M HERE, AND HOW I’M DOING.
I lived 21 years disconnected from this truth, and fell prey to so much hell and havok. When I met Jesus, and He spoke to me of truth... everything changed. From that moment on, the way I view hardships has been altered completely. Hardships and trials aren’t as difficult when you’re connect to the One who knows your outcome. And that’s why you hear it said, “if it’s not good, He’s not done yet.”
If you’re facing your Goliath like I was yesterday, don’t listen to any other voice but Truth. Stand in the face of that giant and roar. You are not merely a living substance that is molded and shaped by the situations of life. You are so much more. Remember that you’ve been given a weapon. And whether it’s resting on your shelf, or armed and ready in hand... it’s real. And once used, it is the most powerful force you could ever obtain.
He was slain as a lamb, but he was raised as a lion. And it’s in this life that we will proclaim, “I am a lion, not a lamb.”