Thursday, May 11, 2017

Walking With Isaiah

                
I wrote this about a week ago...

It’s midnight, and I can’t sleep.  Racing thoughts and shifting dreams of what will come invade my mind.  I know by now to expect this ebb and flow until 3 AM and still past that.  They say 3 AM is the ghosting hour where shadows show their form, but I know it’s just my overactive imagination on high alert again. It’s annoying how night after night I have the same thoughts tumbling around in my head.  For the life of me, I can’t figure out how to sleep.  I’ve taken sleeping pills, drank hot tea and have read boring books in an attempt to calm my mind, but nothing helps during these kinds of nights.

I counted sheep for the first time in my life tonight. I got to 33 little fluff balls jumping over an imaginary wooden fence before I found it too ridiculous to carry on. Because of my bipolar disorder, this is how my nights pass by half the time. I wonder if I should get out of bed, but I rarely do. Instead, I try to tire my mind by watching re-runs on Adult Swim. I know most of the episodes of Family Guy and American Dad, among others, by heart now. The channel shows the same episodes of each about 3 times a night. Last night’s episode of Family Guy was pretty disturbing, but the story itself was good. Stewie and Brian bonded in a bank vault through truth and poop. Gross.

Typically, I try to surround myself with positive things, though I admit I have a weakness for crime shows.  I have Biblical verses written on little note cards hanging in my view on the wall next to me. My favorite is Isaiah 43:2 (NIV). “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Something about that verse really resonates with me. With mood swings flipping back and forth, it’s comforting to know the Lord is with me, and it’s even more comforting to know He doesn’t judge me for my perceived insanity. There have been plenty of times when I’ve gone through a depressed episode where He’s been the only One who I’ve held on to. He’s been the only One who understands me at all.

I trust that God is with me every step of the way though. Whether it’s night or day, He’s with me. When I’m confused or scared, He’s there. The best times are when I discover something new about Him or myself.  It’s during those times that life makes a bit more sense. It’s like a treasure that He reveals right when I need it the most. That’s God’s character though.  He always gives me the strength I need in different ways in all circumstances.

I think of the mood swings I go through, and I compare them to turbulent waters and fires in my path. Then, I think of God’s promise to always be there to lead me to the other side safely. I may get soaked in the rivers or smell like soot once I cross through the fire, but I still make it. I know above all I can count on God more than I do myself, and sometimes that’s all I got, but He’s more than enough. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Epiphany

For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:3-6).
                                                                                               
Lately, I’ve been asking God to “wake me up inside” and let me know my purpose in life. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been going through the motions of life day after day wondering if anything I’ve done so far really matters. I understand why King Solomon said “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14, NIV).  I’ve seen people doing the same old things and making the same mistakes time and time again, and I’ve wondered if there really is a point to it all.

I was staring into my bathroom mirror earlier when all of a sudden I had an epiphany, and I know it was God answering my prayer. It came to me that we all live out our purpose automatically every day without even realizing it. Even when we get off the right path we should be on, we still make the choices that allow us to keep living out our purpose even when it’s not in the best way.

I used to think God kind of coerces us back to the right path by taking over certain areas until we get to where He wants us to be. I felt like, even though He’s given us free will, He still directs us in ways that only makes us think we’re making our own choices, but in reality we’re limited by the either/or standard, either we go down the path of righteousness or we don’t.

Today, I discovered that we have free will in more ways than I could have ever thought possible. God gives us the freedom to make choices, whether good or bad, but those choices will always lead us back to our purpose. We can’t mess up who we truly are. We can delay our progress, but He made us for reasons we can’t comprehend, and His will is done no matter what we ultimately think or do. This is a good thing because it takes the weight off our shoulders of trying to find out the meaning for our existence. Even when we get confused or can’t find the words to explain what it is, it’s still there.

Before we’re born, God decides what gifts and abilities we’ll have. There is absolutely nothing that can change that. I think of it like a computer. It is built with a certain set of programs that makes it run the most efficiently for its model. If you were to mess with that programming, you’d damage the computer. Have you ever tried to delete essential files that come on it? There’s a reason it warns you not to if you try. It won’t work the way it’s supposed to without its factory settings.

God creates all of us with unique abilities that nobody else has in the same way we do. He doesn’t want us to compare ourselves to others or feel inferior to each other. We can deny who we are or step into a place we don’t belong, but each of us has the ability to be exactly who God created us to be because He hardwired it into our very DNA. We just have to stop struggling and let God show us who He made us to be. In John 8:32, Jesus told his disciples “the truth will set you free.” He was explaining to them the truth about God’s kingdom, not the world’s truth. His truth will always set us free.

The world will never be able to tell you what your purpose is. How could it? Since God made you, He is the only One that can open your eyes to your personal reason for being here. If you want answers about yourself, ask Him. I read a quote once that said “The problem with listening to other people is that it’s like the blind leading the blind.” No matter who a person is, whether it’s family, friends and especially complete strangers who know nothing about you, they’ll never be able to tell you who you are. God is the potter, and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8).

People search for happiness and success in places that can't give it to them in a lasting way. We can have all the money in the world and every nice thing it can buy and still lack happiness. We can gain fame or recognition from others for our various accomplishments, but it means nothing if we don’t have God backing us. Ultimately, we are aimless without Him. So many are driven by what really doesn’t matter in the end. They have a hole inside that can’t be filled by the world's version of success. I used to have the same problem. It wasn’t until the Lord woke me up to who He is and the love He has for me that I realized He was what I was looking for all along.

The enemy and the world will try to distract you with many things that don’t matter. Satan doesn’t want you to know about God’s love or to discover the unique person you are. He wants to make you wander after things that he knows will never satisfy you. Don’t let him fool you, and don’t let anyone else have control over your life. It’s yours. How you live it and the choices you make are yours. Ask yourself what you can offer the world that nobody else can. What gives your life meaning to you? 

You are special because God made you to be. For any who were like me searching for their purpose, know you don’t need to look outside yourself because it’s already inside where it's always been. We hear this message in various ways, but I believe it isn’t until it hits us in the right way that we really grasp it. God woke me up today, and I thank Him for answering my prayer! He will answer yours too if you ask Him to.


See biblehub.com if you’d like help finding specific Bible verses.