FIND REST IN YOUR IMPERFECTIONS & IN HIS PERFECTION

FIND REST IN YOUR IMPERFECTIONS & IN HIS PERFECTION

Have you ever felt like you're not doing things the "right" way? Or thought to yourself that your relationship with God doesn't look like that girls' relationship with God so you must not be as close to Him? Or maybe you're not reading the Bible enough or praying as much as you should or praying the way you think that God wants you to pray and so God is far from you? Or maybe you're struggling with something specific and because of your struggle you think that God is angry with you and has turned His back on you? 

Well let me be extremely vulnerable right now...I have DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY felt and thought to myself all of these thoughts. So you're not crazy and you're not alone. 

I'll give you a little background of myself...

I truly accepted Christ into my heart when I was 13, but it's kind of funny to me because the only reason I took that step was out of the horror I felt when hearing of hell. I just wanted to have a sense of security that I would make it into heaven. Now I know that salvation doesn't work like a free ticket in but God actually used that feeling of fear I had and turned it into a passion and love for Him. God used my youth pastors, Roger and Chrissy Nelmes (who will always hold such a special place in my heart), to genuinely guide and support me, along with a group of my friends who were also in this journey to follow Jesus together. I'm beyond thankful that God placed my youth pastors and my friends to be exactly where they were in that exact season of my life.  Throughout the next few years of middle school and high school is where I grew in my intimacy and authenticity with Christ without a doubt. It was at this time where I experienced true encounters with God, I understood the foundation of my faith and learned solid truths that I will never forget. I'm still working on living out the truth of what I believe and learning more about the things of God every single day, as well as accepting that I'm not always going to be perfect at living them out. I wasn't perfect back then, I still don't have everything "down" and I never will. 

So a little while after I graduated high school, I was no longer in the same season as before. I didn't have the same youth pastors helping to lead me, I had somewhat drifted away from my core group of friends and many of them had moved on as well. I had ended a long term relationship, I was figuring out "adulting" and was eventually called to a different church (which is where I'm at now). So it was safe to say that there was A LOT of change going on in my life and it undoubtedly affected me and my walk with Christ but instead of leaning in closer to God, I became overwhelmed and kind of drowned in all the chaos going on around and within myself.  It wasn't that I had completely turned my back on God, I still had a relationship with Him, I just wasn't choosing to be as close to Him as I needed to be. I felt like I was going to church just to go to church, but I wasn't enjoying it and I wasn't growing anymore. I felt like I had hit a plateau in my relationship with God and had become complacent and I viewed myself as a dry desert, with barely any faith inside of me anymore.

The time came when God called me to break out of this desert season and to do that, I needed to make a move. I needed something more. I needed deeper growth and accountability again. I was 20 years old at this time, so whenever I began attending the church God called me to, I immediately started to learn more and I was challenged in my faith to grow more. The experience I had in worship every Sunday ministered and moved something within my heart like I hadn't been ministered to in a long time. I began to feel that fire for God again. I made new, genuine and deep relationships with sisters in Christ and I met the love of my life in this new season. 

So this spiritual "high" lasted about a year and then eventually I started to recognize that same desert feeling over me...again! I tried to fight it by praying and reading the bible but it seemed like that just wasn't enough. I didn't feel close to God so I kind of just gave up altogether. Just like that. I thought that because I wasn't as close to God as I knew I should be, that He wasn't close to me anymore and with that type of mentality I began to feel ashamed because I knew my heart was changing away from the things of God, I didn't even feel comfortable when other people would want to talk about God with me and so I didn't draw myself closer to Him but pushed myself further away because I felt that He had put up with enough of my doubtfulness and spiritual laziness already. This was such a twisted way of thinking, but the enemy only used it to distance my closeness to God. It worked. I won't even try to lie about that. But he didn't win.

Now I had times within this season where I did feel close to God and that I was doing things the right way but then I would mess up with some sort of sin or miss many days without praying and suddenly I would feel far from God again. As a result of this feeling I would then choose to distance myself from God and eventually there would come a point where I couldn't take the distance anymore so I would call out to God again and try my best to seek Him and walk with Him but soon enough the cycle would start all over.

This season lasted up until very, very recently actually and I almost didn't write this blog because I thought to myself, "I'm barely coming out of this season, shouldn't I wait until I know for sure I've conquered this battle?" but no. I realized that the reason I was going through those seasons of drought wasn't because God was far from me, He NEVER was. I was the one who chose to distance myself from Him. It was because I was basing the status of my relationship with him off of my own crazy, human, womanly, emotional, feelings! I only sought Him when I felt like it. I thought that because I had exited out of some of the best years of my life with my youth pastors and close friends, that I couldn't do this walk without them. It was almost like I had, in a way, depended on them to keep my walk with Christ strong. I allowed this feeling to control the level of my perseverance towards God. Yeah, I knew the truth - that He was always persevering me but I fell many, many times into the traps of the voice of the enemy in my mind that God was tired of me and didn't want me anymore but instead He wanted a different, better daughter. I knew I had struggles with praying, reading and sinning but I've come to the realization that that is actually very HUMAN of me! I'm a sinner, and that's why I need Jesus. Naturally, my human-ness doesn't want to pray, doesn't want to read His word and wants to instinctively sin! This makes me laugh as I write this because I should have known this from the very beginning when I started this battle but God knows why He allowed me to pass through it. My love relationship for Him is a choice!  I know that my heart wants Him, needs Him, so I choose to seek Him no matter what now. I now understand that I won't always feel close to Him while I'm praying or reading but I know without a doubt that He's there, He's listening and He's loving me and shouting for me, cheering me on to keep fighting the good fight(1 Timothy 6:12). I now understand that even when I mess up, He's still there encouraging me to get up, dust myself off and keep pushing forward. His faithfulness doesn't depend on my faithfulness and I thank Him so much for that<3 He doesn't require me to do things like a perfect little Christian young lady. He knows I'm a work in progress, because He's the one who keeps shaping me daily. I have flaws, scars, weaknesses, and I'm a sinner so I'll never be perfect and I'll never do things perfectly. I'm a sinner but I'm saved by grace(Ephesians 2:8) so however "perfectly" or "imperfectly" I think I walk with God, I'm still walking with God because of His decision to love me! He knows I need help with self-discipline and the internal fight between my flesh and the spirit of God living within me. I'm a mess but He's made me a beautiful one. I've come to embrace that and get excited about that actually because if I were perfect, then I would have no way to relate to an imperfect world. I'm never going to stop learning as long as I'm living and as long as I'm learning, I'll never be a perfect Christian, there's just no such thing. 

I know this may sound silly to some, but this struggle was my struggle and it was so REAL to me and I know that if I struggled with this, someone out there may be fighting this fight too. I hope that whoever is reading this gains some true hope or encouragement. Know that God loves you. He doesn't want you to be perfect to have you beside Him. Yes, He wants us to run after Him with all we've got and with the best we've got but He's not the type of God that requires you to be perfect or else He's done with you, no. He's a God who embraces His imperfect children.  He knows that we'll never ever be perfect, that's why we need Him. He created us to be dependent on Him for a reason:) He desires relationship with us. He wants raw, real, and authentic followers. When we walk honestly and openly, we're able to reach messy people, just like ourselves<3  

If you made it to the end of this, thank you<3 I know this is my first post and it's a little lengthy but it's what God placed on my heart and I pray that it encourages yours. 

-Steph

xoxoxo

New Directions