Sometimes you have to do something you’ve never done to get an outcome you’ve never had. What’s not working? What have you been doing? How badly you want things to change? If what you’ve been doing hasn’t improved anything, what does it say about you if you keep continuing down the same road? How badly do you want that future you dream about? Are you willing to change it all?
Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.Matthew 12:33 (niv)
For years, I was dead on my feet. I was hollow inside because nothing seemed substantial or real. I was so afraid that one day, at any moment, a strong gust of wind would blow me away and no one would know the difference. I held on tight to people that paid me any attention. I dug deep into performance as my only redeemable quality. I clung to the fleeting moments of celebration or congratulatory fodder because that kept my fire burning. I was a dimly glowing ember in the midst of the storm called life. I couldn’t cling on to nothing forever.
I searched for people that valued me. I chased women. I comforted “friends” to make them feel good. I avoided moments of discomfort with hard truths. I numbed my pain with alcohol or whatever other things I could conjure up to make me forget about the void instead of taking a look in the mirror and facing it. I, like many of the people around me, was miserable. Every day was monotonous and listless. The love I sought never filled the whole in my chests. No matter what I tried to fill it with, nothing would change. I tried to feel real, tangible, and permanent did nothing. I continued being terrified of the wind.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)
My turning point was looking towards God. For the first time, in as long as I could remember, I felt like I didn’t have to do everything on my own. I either trusted God to make it happen or I didn’t, but I got comfortable accepting the things that were out of my control. What seemed to be even more soothing was shifting God from this All-Powerful Being making rules in the sky, to a Father knowing more than I do, and trusting Him more than myself that He knows what’s best for me. The more I trusted, the more the Father showed me that it was alright trusting Him. The wounds on my heart healed. My desire to prove my existence ceased. The weight lifted.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30 (niv)
As I was shifting from just looking at my Lord to communicating with my Father. He initially started off by giving me relief. I received relief from the anxiety, depression, fear, chaotic thinking, and oppression. Then, patience, clarity, joy, peace, and love started to color how I looked at myself and then the world. I became hungry for more of God because if this is just the beginning, what more could He have in store for me?
But in this hunger came a cost. Every time I would go back to my old ways, I would feel the weigh of my old issues. I would get depressed after nights out drinking. I would feel anxious about interactions with women. I would be fearful for my livelihood looking at the success of others. My mind would run rampant as I shifted between all of these. God was giving me a choice. I could stay where I am and wallow in the emptiness I felt. Or continue to chase this zest and let him teach me about life.
By wisdom a house is built,Proverbs 24:3-4 (NIV)
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures
My pastor said that he doesn’t believe in the saying about bringing a horse to water and not being able to make him drink. He said that it all depends on how thirsty you are. If you refuse to drink or eat, it’s because you still have or believe you still have choices.
I didn’t know how thirsty I was. This was the first time I had water in a long time and I didn’t want to go back to before. I was standing at a fork in the road. I had two choices. Go deeper and seek out the life that God wants me to have. Or, continue doing it my own way, by my own power, and reap the consequences.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may liveDeuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)
I talked about how Joseph chose to stick close to God and avoided committing the same sins his ancestors committed in Sins of the Father but that leaves us focusing on the negatives of the pasts instead of the Blessings of the Future. The breaking the cycles of the past has relatively little to do with them or you, it has to do with the Father and making a choice. A choice to change and wait for the benefits of the future.
I have so many thoughts about what Jesus meant about the narrow gate but for now I’m going to cut this short before it goes on too long. Next week is going to be a hard share for me but I want to be vulnerable with you all. Next post is about my battle with Lust. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Turn Your Brightness Up!