Today is very easily one of the most difficult days that I've ever experienced.
How do I feel?
These things that I feel are things that I should feel. That's what happens when you blatantly disobey God and resort to living a lifestyle that isn't lived in accordance with what is right and true.
For the past several years, I've somehow managed to morph into a person that I myself don't even recognize. I often lamented that I miss the "old me"- the brilliant, vibrant girl who dreamed big, loved hard, and believed in the impossible. That version of me was replaced by someone who hung with the wrong crowd, made the wrong decisions, and put their faith in the wrong things.
These aren't just the delirious cries of a someone who wants that old thing back. I had, even before now, come to the realization that I needed change, but I never expected it to come about in this manner. Well...this is what happens. Where did I fail? Is there redemption for me? Is change even possible?
When I first moved to Greenville 5 years ago, I was nervous, but I knew I was in physically (I came specifically to study with my professor) in good hands . At that point, I had gone out on a limb, pursuing grad school and moving here on a wing and a prayer. I literally had nothing here. No furniture. No money. No financial aid. No clue what would happen to me. No nothing. No nothing but faith and hope that I'd made the right choice.
I started off on the right foot. I actively sought to join a church. I read my bible. I prayed. I communed with God. I was ok. However, somewhere along the way, I veered from the path. Church was not important. Prayer wasn't important. I failed to be responsible in all areas of my life. I still believed in God, but I didn't honor my commitment to actively pursue a growing relationship with Him. Before I knew it, I was waist-deep in mess.
I stayed in this darkness for months...years. It seemed like every time I caught a break and could somehow get ahead, I took several steps back. Eventually, I got enough ahead that I could make out some semblance of a breakthrough. Almost 4 years to the day that I began my life in Greenville, I met him. I'd broken through and somehow managed to exude enough positivity that someone wanted to know me!!!! Talk about scary! I felt all of the things that people in new relationships feel, but I was willing to try...to give...to invite someone new into the deep caverns of my heart that had never seen light...
Rose-colored glasses. I wore them proudly. I knew that we would each shed them eventually and that we would have to deal with our "true selves"...but I had no idea that my true self wasn't...well...wasn't good enough.
Of course not.
But that's what happens when you go on a journey and don't invite God along.
I've always prided myself on my ability to see past differences, accept people for who they are and what they bring to the table, and to love - TRULY LOVE- without contempt or judgment. It's funny how no matter what dirt I did and bad decisions I made, this part of my moral fiber has always remained strong. I loved hard and only did my best at uplifting him, trying to meet his needs, and make it work. So...why hasn't it worked?
I never invited God. I never asked Him to make it work.
Restoring my relationship with God and building a relationship with another is hard to do separately, let alone simultaneously. I lost myself in dreams. I lost myself in false hope. I lost myself in false intimacy. I lost myself in the fantasy that I'd created in my mind & in the utopia that he now deems "unrealistic". I lost myself.
Jesus came to find me. That kind of sounds corny as I type this, but that is the truth. His entire purpose on earth was to rescue me from the sin that swallowed me and consumed my life and to glorify God. I truly believe that God has the power to change hearts, to heal, and to make new that which has been torn, sullied, and defiled. Yep...even lost ones like me. The Word calls on us as believers to be hopeful, to endure, and to believe that His best for us far supercedes the greatest success we could ever fathom. Paul wrote about these requirements...these gifts that God has freely given to us.
So what does any of this have to do with "restore vs. reset"?!?!!
After spending a futile hour and a half of my life trying to salvage my relationship and petition for (at the bare minimum) us to take inventory of ways in which we could grow together, he gave me his answer. Spitting was inevitable; the issues that we'd "swept under the rug" have come to finish us off for good. Left to my feelings of inadequacy, failure, and grief, I did what anyone would do- I tried to erase it. Now, see, my "erase it" was simply going to delete our text message history so I would't have to see it when I go in my inbox. I lost my best friend. I lost the future to which I was looking forward. I lost the plan.
Well, while doing that, my phone froze. Completely. After Googling all of the remedies I could find, that bad boy refused to budge. Ok. I could do a restore and my phone would be return to the same settings it had when I last backed it up, right?
Nope. This phone, the same phone that I've never had any issues with in the 2 years I've had it, never had to reset, from which I never lost any information was now being RESET. I couldn't turn it on/off or make it perform any commands; I had absolutely no control at all. Resisting the urge to go outside and run over the phone with my car, it all became clear: this day, this time in my life, is meant for reset. I needed to be completely reset and made new and not restored to some old half-baked, distorted, disillusioned version of myself. This is my opportunity to get back to basics- to recenter and start fresh in my walk with God. I can not change my beloved's heart or his view of me & my beliefs, but I know without a doubt that God has the infinite power to change hearts, minds, and lives. Even if our relationship can not be restored, MY relationship- my kinship with Christ and most importantly, my faith and hope in God's will for me is made new.
1 Corinthians 13: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
I am protected. I trust. I hope. I persevere. I may have failed in the past 5 years and have been failed in this relationship beyond comprehension...but true love never fails. This is the love to which I am entitled as an heir of Christ. This is the love that I am required to show. Human nature will fail me, but God will never fail me. He wants my best. He requires my best.
I shall give it to him. This time, I invite God along.
...to be continued...