It has been 40 days since I made a decision to really give my life to Jesus – so that every box in my life comes together under the power of his love and truth. I make it a point now that I will not be a talker or a sitter, but I want to be a Hearer of God’s word and a Doer of what he says is right to do. It is a struggle, but it is well worth it. It is not over, it has just only begun.
I realize I have grown stronger in my resolve to follow God’s call upon my life. There is a point where you get serious, and that very simple decision begins to change the course of your life by first changing the focus of your thoughts. I understand now the potency of a life given fully over to God. I can’t say that I have given over everything fully, but the process of beginning to give over myself, at first drastically – and then in the ‘bit by bit’ way of my every day life – has set the ball rolling and it ain’t stopping.
I used to be worried about what other people would say. I used to be cowardly about my faith. I still am. But now I realize the difference. Before this, I thought it was OK. Now I realize what a vital call it is to live out my faith authentically, humbly, compassionately, with God’s help. I can’t compromise, and neither should I give up nor feel condemned when I fail – because God’s grace is all the more sufficient for me. What matters is not that I succeed or fail, not that I prove myself to others or gain their approval – but that I try, and that I rely on God all through.
I see now that I’m going through training ground. They are not ideal conditions, they are tough, and my own friends or parents may express their misgivings about what I’m giving my life and time to – but it doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is I go and I stay where God calls me to. I will listen to sound advice and wisdom, but I will not listen to voices of cynicism that cloud my judgment and dampen my enthusiasm. I will heed the voices of truth and take in good counsel, but I will not be suppressed in my spirit by critical people who provide no solutions nor encouragement alongside their criticisms. I will stand, because God enables me to stand.
However, what discourages me, what makes me weep with tears and silent screams, is when I am faced with people – friend, foe, and family alike – who oppose me knowingly or unknowingly, because they do not see what I see. They do not want to go where I am going because they do not see that there’s a future in it. Sometimes I ask God, why do you give me a vision that so few people around me sees? Now I feel how hard and painful it is to carry something that is so close to my heart, and yet in some ways so far from reach, because nobody else ‘feels’ me or understands this vision. Therefore they also won’t be able to understand my mission. They will think it is foolishness, it’s a waste of time and effort and talent, it’s a lost cause, it’s just youthful idealism that will fizzle out… Well you know what, I thank God for helping me see this, for the words that He has spoken to me through His word and through perfect strangers – I cannot forget these sweet ‘coincidences’. I only need to remember what he has already done in my life, what he has already spoken, what he has already brought to pass – then wipe my tears and get up to get going again.
If I give up, the naysayers will have triumphed and they will say exactly what they have said before, from “I’m telling you, you’re wasting your time” to “I told you! You were wasting your time all along.” God won’t let that happen if I fall back on him for strength to keep going. I can’t let the lies lower my sights and belittle the calling God has placed in me. I must willingly allow God’s love and truth to lift me up again and again. So I struggle, yes. But I love it. Now I can truly say that I love it even though everything in me cries out that I hate it. I love it because I am being tested, and I am going to hold fast.
It makes me tremble on the inside – with excitement – to know that I am facing opposition. To face simple opposition is the first blow; the next thing is you will face disappointment, and perhaps later persecution. (What am I even talking about?!) I’m crazy. But I do believe that I will traverse dangerous and tough places in the future – even now. It is a blessing in disguise to face these things, because without them, I would be awfully complacent. Without these troubles, I wouldn’t have to rely on God’s grace and power. Without these difficulties, I wouldn’t be refined in my character. So I welcome them – with Fire in my bones.
J a n i e ll e