Warning: This one’s a little different and a little more personal than what I normally write, so be prepared.
I haven’t written on here in a while. Since this is where I’m supposed to take my mask off and all that, I’m not going to pretend and I’m not going to lie: it’s been rough lately. In the past couple of months I’ve felt everywhere from spiritually ok to spiritually dead. I want to tell you that being at a place like Missio Dei automatically makes you a better Christian, uninfluenced by the highs and lows of life but simply pushing ever onward, getting closer and closer to God. But I’d be lying. Yes, there is a lot of opportunity for growth, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t take advantage of it. So instead of growing closer and closer to God, I’ve kind of drifted back into going through the motions in a lot of things. Don’t get me wrong, I can still get into the moment when a service really speaks to me, but even then I can tell that I’m not as into it as I used to be.
Maybe you’re going through the same thing. Maybe you’re feeling like you aren’t connecting with God like you used to, or maybe you feel like you’ve never really connected with Him the way you should. If that’s you, remember this: you are not alone. Sometimes it seems like you are and so you feel like you need to put on a happy face so nobody judges you for being different, but there’s plenty of other people out there doing the same thing. If you’re feeling dry, talk to the people you’re close to, gain some insight and perspective from them, and try to figure out what’s causing you to dry up. A lot of the time it boils down to one simple thing: intimacy with God. Chances are, if you’re actively pursuing God through reading the Bible, praying, and worshiping every day, then you aren’t going to find yourself being dry very often. I’ll be honest with you, this was exactly my problem. I wasn’t taking the time to put God first every day, so my spiritual life suffered. I’m getting back on track now, and it’s amazing how quickly you start seeing improvement in your thought life, your self esteem, your decision making, and pretty much any other aspect of your life that you can think of.
Now then, the reason I’m choosing to write this now is because I cried. Not a gut-wrenching sob or anything, but I shed a few tears at the altar tonight. Why? Because God dropped something on my lap that I wasn’t expecting. We went to Sunday night service here in Brewton, Alabama, and the pastor did a sermon about the dual nature at war within us. He compared it to the story of Jekyll and Hyde, a tale of a scientist who tried to make himself perfect and ended up simply separating his evil self from his good self, allowing only one to have control of his body at a time. The main point that I got out of the sermon was that you need to recognize that there is still evil at work within you, but you have the power to refuse it. After being in this dry spell for so long, I was more than ready to go up to that altar. So I went up and I prayed. (Not crying yet). And the first thing I said? Why? Why do you want to use me? All I do is fall again and again whenever you pick me up. How am I supposed to be a youth pastor, leading students into a deepening relationship with You, when I can barely even keep myself on track? I went on, thanking God for the opportunities that He’s already given me, then slipping back into that doubt for a little while, asking again how God could use someone like me. Right as I came back to that, someone came up behind me and prayed over me. And the first thing he prayed was that God’s annointing would be renewed in me and that I would be able to feel the calling on my life. I mean, come on. If that isn’t a God thing, I don’t know what is. (By the way, still not crying).
So after he finished praying over me, I prayed a little more, kind of moved but still not totally convinced that I was ready to be used by God. Then, one of the other guys from Missio Dei came up and prayed over me. When he started praying, the first thing he started with was, “No more Jekyll, no more Hyde, just Kyle.” And he repeated that a few times before continuing on with the prayer, but honestly, that line is all I remember from what he said. It may seem weird that he was saying that since Jekyll was supposed to be the epitome of perfection, but this is where God dropped it on me. God doesn’t want to use some perfect version of me. He doesn’t want to use the version of me that’s got all of his ducks in a row and has all of his insecurities figured out and knows exactly how to handle every situation the world throws at him. He wants to use me. Me me. Messed up, sinful, struggling-just-to-get-through-the-day-sometimes me. He wants to use me just as I am. I’ve heard that line used so many times, but this moment was the first time that it really sunk in. This moment was also the first time I’ve cried in months. Something in me broke a little there, and I think that’s just what I needed. I’m still not back to where I want to be in my relationship with God, but I’m definitely back on the right track.
So if you’re feeling dry and tired and drained, just remember this: you aren’t alone and you will get through this. Keep pushing.