Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Going with God

The path of rebellion is one I have traveled too many times. My first major trip down this road was at 15, when my life was going just fine, and I decided to mess it up by getting on drugs. When I was caught red-handed and disciplined for it, it was all His fault. I was sober and realizing just how much I had jeopardized with my actions for the last year, and I was mad at Him. How could He let this start and continue for so long? How could He let me get caught instead of just getting me out of it without any one having to find out? I was angry, confused and alone. All of my friends from church had washed their hands of me and the one friend that I would have had left was the one that I had followed into the drugs in the first place. My parents weren’t letting me anywhere near her.

It took me a while, but I realized that I had to suffer the consequences to learn my lesson. It is by His grace that I even walked away from that season in my life. I was never in it alone, but I was making my own decisions and there was nothing he could do to stop that except let me get caught. The longer it went unnoticed, the deeper I was falling. It was obviously not going to end by me just walking away, so He interrupted my life and truly caused a divine intervention. Once I was able to accept that, it was easy to agree with Him, and I never looked back.

My next major trip down the road was when I was almost 17. I had been dating a guy from church that I loved. I was renewed and happy and this was where I wanted to be. His parents didn’t want him dating, so we kept it quiet. I see now that that was probably my first step towards the road, but at the time it seemed like we could justify going against what his parents wanted. This went on for a few months and then they found a letter he had written me. In it he wrote something about wanting to kiss me, and his parents freaked out. They knew about my past and they met with me and my mom and told us that they were worried I was going to lead him down the wrong path and that I was to have no further contact with him. That really affected me. Here I was thinking that my life was changed and I was forgiven, but they were using my past against me. I was confused. I got home and messaged him on the computer. He wrote back and said he agreed with his parents and we shouldn’t talk any more. That was the end of my first love. It sent me spiraling down. I didn’t blame God this time because I knew that He had forgiven me, but now I was blaming my loves parents. It was their fault that he didn’t want to talk to me any more. They had convinced him I was some evil woman and now my life was ruined. It had nothing to do with the fact that we had been sneaking around for the last 6 months, rebelling against his parents. This was just them trying to make me miserable. I know now that this interruption was to get us out of the rebellion before it went too far. My love was ready to listen but I wasn’t. I was angry and chose to ‘sit, soak and be sour’ as Priscilla said in day 1 of week 3.

A few months went by and I started at a new school and met a boy. He was troubled, but a decent guy and he liked me. And, he was allowed to date. I quickly decided that what I needed to do was bring him to church so my love could see us together and realize that he wanted me back. It was brilliant. We went to TNT together and the new guy had actually gone to elementary school with a few of my friends so he blended right in. When I saw my love, I put on the biggest fake smile and stood right next to the new guy. The look on his face when he saw us was exactly what I had expected. This was it. Tonight I would get an IM from him and everything would go back to normal. Instead, he had my best friend come tell me that it was ridiculous and petty for me to do that and that it hurt his feelings but it didn’t change anything. He didn’t IM me again for almost 4 years after that, and we still to this day haven’t talked face to face. It’s been 9 years.

These stories of my life were really brought to my attention on day 3 of week 2 in the devotional. Priscilla talked about the bad choices we make that lead us down a path we never thought we’d take. The bad decision to follow an older and ‘cooler‘ friend led me down a path of drugs and emptiness. The decision to secretly date my love led to me being hurt which led to the worse decision to use the new guy against him. And when that didn’t work out, I was left clinging to the new guy because I just needed someone there. The new guy became my worst decision ever made and 4 years later I was fighting my way out of a terrible relationship with him.

In week 3, she talks about the 4 principles. The Blame Game, Man Overboard, Agreeing with God and Going with God. The blame game was hard for me at first. I never wanted to blame myself, I wanted to blame God for letting these things happen to me. It wasn’t until I was willing to accept God’s discipline (man overboard) that I was able to blame myself for the things that had happened. When I was able to look at His discipline as a sign of love instead of conviction, it was easier for me to understand that it was never His fault to begin with.

Agreeing with God can be a challenge for me as well. I agree with Him on just about everything, but some things I just don’t get. There are things that I will feel like I need to do but they just seem impossible and I will sit and argue with Him about it like I think that I am going to convince Him that I’m right. Then I read what Priscilla wrote on page 69 in the devotional - “It doesn’t necessarily require that your feelings have changed about what God is asking you to do. Repentance means you are willing, despite those feelings, to put it aside and stop traveling the wrong way. The effectiveness of our confession is not negated because of misplaced feelings. Many times God calls us to choose to walk by faith, and our feelings follow along in time.” Ouch. That pretty much cancels out all my ‘impossible’ excuses. I have to choose to walk by faith. The world is constantly reminding us of every bad thing there is. If I have to choose to listen to that, then why wouldn’t I have to choose to not listen to it and instead walk by faith? If every decision is a choice of faith, then every excuse I make to avoid God’s decision is a choice to rebel. It always starts as a small choice that leads to a big path of destruction. I know this all to well.

The last principle is Going with God. This seems to be the hardest one, but it should be the easiest. He wants only the best for us. He has good intentions, and we should be more than willing to follow His ways. Priscilla says on page 73 - “Likewise, we must be willing to obey the small details along the pathway to obedience to the Lord as well.” She also talks about letting go. I have a hard time letting go. Whether it’s friends, ideas, arguments or things, I want to cling to them. I am learning that part of my ‘obeying the small details’ is letting go of things that are holding me back. If I hold on to old friends, I will never make the new stronger friends I keep saying I want. If I hold on to my old ideas, I will never make room for the new ones that God has for me.

I pray that this study is opening your heart to all the wonderful things that He has in store for you. No matter what has happened in your past, you are completely forgiven and renewed. There was a time when I thought I would never be good enough for God again. Now I serve in the children’s ministry and at TNLN, both of which I volunteered for on a whim. I have a husband who loves the Lord. I have made some amazing new friends at church and I hope to make even more. 9 years ago I felt defeated. Today I am strong in the Lord. I still have work to do, and I still mess up on a daily basis, but I am confident in His love for me. My testimony is story after story of interruptions that turned out to be miraculous divine interventions. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. Thank God for a second chance.