Do you ever feel like there’s a common theme of a lesson throughout your day? Or is that just me?
Maybe it’s because I’m an English major and look for theses and themes on a daily basis in literature, but I think it’s something God has really taught me, and a way He speaks to me. Convicting me, teaching me, loving me, making me better for Him.
And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:1
I’ve been reminded a lot recently about the importance of allowing God to work, rather than trying to speak on His behalf. He is a much better, more patient lover than I ever could imagine being.
I woke up this morning still feeling a little bit queasy, as I went to bed last night with a weird and sudden stomachache. I felt stressed about the potential of missing school, or work, at first wanting automatically to worry.
Lord, protect me in Your way and keep my mind from worrying and fixed on You!
After some time reading, I got out of bed, made breakfast, and spent the morning just chatting in the living room with my roommates, truly being still and, as Jesus has been teaching me, present with my loved ones.
After breakfast, I was excited to go meet a friend, Courtney, at one of my favourite coffee shops, Settlement.
Courtney and I met in a really cool way. A Starbucks barista at the store down the street from my house, Courtney has made such an effort to get to know me, and to brighten my day every single time I enter that store. She is the epitome of selfless, others-focused, and an inspiration, as I watch her give the same, valued, and considerate service to every single customer.
One day a few weeks ago, Courtney and I said to each other, essentially, “Why haven’t we hung out? I feel like we should have each others’ numbers.” We swapped contact info, and finally made a plan to go for coffee this afternoon.
Over dark roasts and pastries, Courtney and I got to know each other, talking about all sorts of things, leading to talking about our faith. Our conversation surrounded the amazing things that God does and that are in His plan, and how unfortunate it is that some churches/people portray worship as part of a performance, or that Christians need to meet a certain standard, or that Christianity is about following certain rules.
Consequently, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what was impossible for the law, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did. Romans 8:1-3
We also talked about how it’s Jesus Himself that reminds us that only He is perfect, and that churches aren’t. We just continue to love Him, allow Him to work in our lives and convict our hearts, expectant of His revelation and greatness.
The conversation reminded me of a similar one I’d just had with my older sister, and another one with one of my best friends Bethany, and again with Johnny. And reminded me that one’s relationship with God and the way He works in lives is not dependant on my humanity in any way. Rather, my humanity is so weak, and thank God He is so strong! It’s too amazing.
I headed to class with such a happy heart, and thinking about just how amazing our God is, the perfection that is His plan.
After one English midterm that went really well, I headed to one of my favourite English classes this semester, in which we discussed a book called The Stone Angel. At the end of this book, the main character, an old and stubborn woman, is finally opened up after a preacher first tries to talk to her, but her prideful walls only rebuke him. The pastor takes a deep breath, and just sings a hymn instead. The old woman experiences revelation from God. It was clear that the pastor realized he had been trying too hard; forcing “religion” down the woman’s throat. He sat back, and trusted God to work instead. And work God did.
I smiled as I took notes in this class. Thank-you, Lord, for reminding me it’s not up to me. I can trust You.
After class, I headed home. I decided against going to Youth tonight, as I’ve been sick and with so much homework. Making peace with that, I made a delicious dinner, and sat to do homework.
I also messaged my amazing dance teacher about how much her dance class has changed my life and been such a part of bringing back my passion for dancing, healing the places it had been toxic in my life. Her response was so kind, and her amazing presence in my life another reminder of God’s perfect timing.
Throughout this period of home working tonight, I’ve felt little periods of anxiety. Voices of lies… telling me I wasn’t doing enough for ___ person or ___ area of my own life. Making me feel angry and bitter.
Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
He equipped me not to stress and to make time to just hang out, watch videos with, and talk with my amazing roommates tonight. Asking for His strength gave me the perseverance to push through homework.
I could do it without Him, but I wouldn’t want to. I’ve always known God as my Father, but He’s teaching me just how much He is my friend, too.
And I want to live this; for Him to be light through me, without “using lofty words” or “talking about Him all the time.”
As I talked with Maddie tonight, both of us “rambling” to each other, as we often do, about various things… we talked about just how much we can trust Him. How He’s using every season to teach us for His glory… and I trust His plan. I trust His timing. He is so much bigger than me.
He wants you to have peace in Him. And on a day like today, #BellLetsTalk day, I know and have experienced firsthand what absence of peace through mental illness can be like. Mental illness is real and it is debilitating… but I have truly experienced healing and joy and understanding in Jesus.
If you have questions about this part of my life, and how faith has informed such healing, please feel free to reach out to me in any capacity. Freedom from chains is more than possible.