Guest Writer (Must-Read) Angie: In Christ Alone
The first time I met Angie Smith was in the middle of the first service I attended at C3KW.
I was crying during worship, and she calmly and confidently tapped my shoulder and asked if she could pray for me. I didn’t quite know how to get the words out for what I knew I needed God’s help and guidance in, but somehow, I did. And then Angie, through the Holy Spirit, took over, and prayed for me. Since then, I have been continuously inspired by the love and kindness and joy of this precious woman, day in and day out, despite her struggle with a chronic illness. Angie aims to live in full submission to Jesus Christ, and that is evident in the person she is. That is why I was so excited when Angie sent me the following prose to edit, and then gave me permission to share it here. I hope it is as encouraging to you as it was to me.
Find Angie’s uplifting Instagram here.
You know those moments when you are getting to the end of your rope? It starts with the list of things you need to figure out becoming overwhelming. The small decisions suddenly seem life-defining. On their own, these decisions seems manageable, but when three decisions become ten all within a limited time frame, they no longer seem small. The weight of it feels suffocating until you get to the point you just shut down. That fear and worry turn to exhaustion and apathy. You become too numb to care. Your motivation is lost. The apathy slowly shifts from having the feeling of not caring to having nothing left to give even if you wanted to. When you start to experience this, it’s easy to stay here as you compare what used to be or what other people are doing. You question if it is normal. If it is your fault. Are you being lazy? Would this be different if you changed your life trajectory? Maybe if you were truly excited & passionate about what you do, you wouldn’t feel this way. Were the hopes and plans you had just a mirage formed in the whirlwind of excitement and emotion? Are your ideas for your life realistic, or will this always be your reality? Are you dishonoring God by not having that joy and gratitude? Maybe if you worked harder and were determined enough then you wouldn’t crash. Maybe you thought too highly of yourself and what you could do, and you created the very situation you feared. In reality, the more “determined” you are not to crash happen, the more you are only perpetuating & prolonging it. Your determination becomes a way of coping; a distraction from facing and dealing with the reality ahead of you. When we reach this place, it’s easy to be aware of the obvious manifestations that impact our day to day, such as fatigue, apathy, & fear. But there is an aspect to this that creeps up that is buried within each of these things & becomes ever more prevelant the more we push ourselves. That is, our sense of worth. What you bring to each day, your friends’ lives, & community. What are parts of your personality that you bring to the world? What do you contribute? The problem with these statements while in this mindset is the negative tone in which we view each of these questions. It’s easy to allow what people say of you to work its way into becoming your identifier. When we get to this point of apathy & exhaustion, it becomes easy to view through the lens of “do not.” What i am lacking. How I am not the same as I was. How I do not have the same passion. How I do not have anything to give. How I am not living for God the way I want to be. How I do not have the same joy or energy. How my way of thinking & processing is hindered and lost. The ironic part of all of this is that it is only once you’ve truly felt you have nothing to give that you realize how much God does give. His grace abundant. His Spirit working. His love in you. His hope as your foundation. His words. His wisdom. His strength. Though guilt & lies of not being enough can linger, there is such a quiet beauty about feeling empty yet grounded. Empty of yourself. Stripped of everything that made you feel like yourself. Every motivation that you attributed to who you were. And instead it is replaced with this wave of humility. Humility and awe! Not empty humility that builds on worthlessness, but full humility out of awe of who God is & who I am in relation to God. That I am truly empty of everything I thought made me me, but how amazing that is, because I get the honor of being a “vessel” for God. That it is His Spirit, His doing, and by His grace! Humility, because as much as you don’t think you view your worth through what you bring/what you do, it slowly creeps through, lurking behind affirmations. Compliments or comments on who you are, how you influence the lives of the people around you. What started out as encouraging, your mind has twisted it; deceiving you into thinking that you are only noticed when you do those things. That you know have to keep up this expectation of how you think people see you. Even if it is genuinely you, there is a pressure & obligation to be that when you are around those people. Because that is what they get from you. You become trapped in the identity of expectation and you didn’t even realize you were there. That is until it all got stripped away.
Although humility can be tough, to see God’s grace in how He humbles us leaves me not with feelings of anger or hurt but true breathless wonder & awe of His character and love. That He humbles to show where we are putting our worth, our idols, and identity and trust & how easily they fall. Everything you held on to and thought made you you is gone. Empty. Yet He remains! And you realize what you thought made you “you” was only because of God’s Spirit, and further more in that emptiness it can only be God working in & through you. He gives a new depth of understanding of what it means to die to our self. He gives a new understanding of what it means for your life to be for God, and not you. He gives a new understanding about how to wait on Him to provide, and acting only as His Spirit acts through you.