We are not just forgiven as Christians, but we are cleansed. Do you understand that? I definitely have not lately.
The past month I’ve felt far below adequate and that mindset has made every day pretty miserable. I’ve felt too far-gone to be saved and too distant for God to reach. When I read those words, I know it’s not true, but my heart has not believed it. I’ve felt as if all my attempts to rectify my relationship with God have been futile and pathetic.
Over my four day winter break in early February I had an especially hard time. I went home and I was miserable with every aspect of my life. I felt so hopeless in the status of “Christian.” I didn’t even know how to vocalize it to anyone, I just felt incredibly sad, like I’d let God down in every area of my life. It’s only now in retrospect that I can put these thoughts into words.
I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself and works. When I’m not radically spreading God’s love or changing peoples’ lives or having a super wonderful day or resonating with the Holy Spirit I feel useless. Sometimes reading the Bible is the last thing I want to do and that makes me feel like a phony.
Let me stop a second. Have you caught this, because I only just have hours later… Everything I’ve been saying is a flat out lie. I’m letting the lies consume me and I’m not trying to combat them. Focusing on works and my own efforts is completely contrary to how God wants me to live. I’m honestly still trying to pull myself out of this mindset… I need to keep leaning into the Wonderful Counselor beside me. Satan has been generating blow after blow daily and I’ve been too weak to stand up.
But maybe I can’t stand up because I am too weak. Maybe when God says I am weak and he is strong, he’s talking about seasons in my life like this. I cannot pull myself out of this pit of despair, but if I present it to Him, He is strong enough.
I love to turn to Psalm 139 in every situation. It’s one passage from the Bible I never get tired of reading. Today as I sat in chapel a half hour early, I read it again. In relation to how I’ve been feeling lately, I now realize this portion matters:
“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” ~Psalm 139:7-12
I read this and suddenly the truth brings me to tears. I read this and suddenly my heart feels it. I read this and I hear my Father, who desperately loves me and wants me to understand his unconditional love. I hear my Father saying, “Annah, you think you are enveloped in darkness, but there is still light in you. You are still as bright as day. You are my beloved and with you I am well pleased.”
I am forgiven of my sins, but I am also cleansed. I don’t have to dwell on them anymore.
Yes, Satan is chasing after me. Yes, I am too weak to fight back. Yes, God still loves me. Yes, he will fight for me. I need only be still and turn to him.