So a year ago I messaged DUDEronomy to ask about opportunities to work together through our ministries. We never connected, though, and I had honestly forgotten all about that message. That is until I received a message from them over a year later! Turns out, technology had decided not to show the DUDEronomy team my message until then, although, looking at it from my perspective I think God may have just had a different plan.
See, last year I was in a completely different place. Life didn’t feel quite as tough and I felt a whole lot stronger. So, when DUDEronomy asked me to write a guest post I kind of freaked out a little! I freaked out because in no way, shape, or form do I feel qualified to write anything giving others advice. Heck, I feel like I need the advice right now more than anyone else!
This last year I have been through some faith shaking trials. Things I do not understand at all that have been crushing and difficult to deal with. From the beginning of this huge trial I always said I was not going to stop following God, but I sure have doubted, questioned, and even been angry with Him. Going through all of that and not even knowing how to talk to God, let alone feel close to Him, I stepped back from some of the work I had been doing. To make matters worse I wasn’t just doubting God but also myself. I’ve struggled with the idea that I may have brought this nightmare onto myself by not being as faithful as I should have been; for allowing sin in my life.
That is why I think God may have intended for my message to get lost in the deep, dark internet for a whole year. Last year I felt stronger and more prepared. Now? Now I wonder how I can be used when I can’t even find peace and rest myself. Maybe that is where God can use me best though. After all His Word tells us that He makes us strong in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Being asked to write a guest article has given me a kick in the butt to realize that and get back out there!
One of my favorite parts of writing for a Christian blog was the way it challenged me. I learned and grew so much through doing it. Yet, I stopped because I felt uninspired and spiritually drained. Try as I might to get back in the swing of things I always felt like I was dragging. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Ephesians 6 when we are told to put on the Armor of God. We are supposed to be spiritual warriors. To be frank, if I am supposed to be a soldier then I feel like, as of late, I have been the soldier lying bleeding in a muddy trench with no food or water waiting for someone to save me or deaths embrace to wrap me up for good.
As I slowly work my way out of that trench though I am learning. Looking back now I realize I may have let pride infect my defenses. My shield wasn’t being held high because I believed I was strong enough not to fall. That is until I started tasting dirt and trying to stand up again. That would be lesson number one I suppose: Don’t let pride blind you and weaken you. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride comes before the fall (paraphrased). I let in pride and I fell because I didn’t believe I could, therefore, I didn’t prepare. Going through this trial has humbled me a bit.
Another thing I am learning is that God can use our low points in life and teach us through them. We can relate to the people of the world suffering their own trials better when we can understand pain. Recently one of my coworkers suffered a great loss. The pain was clearly written on his face and in his mannerisms. Being able to relate to that made me more sympathetic and, I hope, able to encourage him better.
There are benefits to suffering sometimes but we still feel beat down and as we start having doubts we may start to question how worthy we are to be working in God’s Kingdom. Trust me I know. But I keep thinking about this meme that has been going around Facebook for some time now. It didn’t mean as much to me until I started to relate to it more. There are several iterations but they are all similar in theme. Noah got drunk. Jacob was a cheater. David had an affair. Jonah ran from God. Moses stuttered. Lazarus was dead. When we feel unqualified we are in good company because, historically speaking, God does not call those who are qualified. He qualifies those whom He calls. Remember that.
So here I am, one year later, in a completely different place in life and a completely different frame of mind. I have struggled. I have struggled with sin, struggled with doubt, struggled with God, and struggled with myself. But God is teaching me through all of that and He can still use me. God never expects us to be perfect. Otherwise He wouldn’t have sent us Jesus.
Just remember (hopefully a little better than me) that God can use you despite your doubts, sins, weaknesses, or perceived strengths. As humans we will never be perfectly faithful or perfect at anything for that matter. The point is that we try our best and rely on God for our strength.