a very personal post
Hello my dear readers, let me begin by saying this is the type of post that took several tries to get exactly right.
Admittedly, I can’t even guarantee that it’s right on this try. Regardless, I hope that it reaches you on some level, and I personally think it’s full of things that need to be said.
Before I get into the specific details, you need a little background information. I relatively recently discovered this amazing church; it’s been the type of place that has absolutely saved me without any of the people really noticing at all. The pastor is on this wavelength where I just absolutely know God is speaking to me specifically through him; like maybe everyone feels that way, but regardless, I feel that way. I can think something, and then the next thing he says is in answer to my thoughts. It’s weird, and it’s the coolest thing. The people exude this unrelenting faith, the peace in their hearts is obvious and beautiful and I crave that.
Going to this church was not God’s first step in helping me when I was at my lowest and most desperate, but it was a big step nonetheless. It has proved one of the most important. I am getting gradually closer toward that peace, and I am seeking after God with much greater fervor than possibly ever.
I feel God’s presence there constantly; I feel convicted, I know God is speaking to me there. This Sunday service proved no different.
My pastor talked about several things and made quirky jokes, as usual; I laughed too much, as usual.
This particular Sunday is the first Sunday I have went without the comforting company of a few friends, who introduced me to the church to begin with. I have social anxiety, and despite what going to the church has done for me, I haven’t quite been able to break into being like a really social, accepted member of the group yet, so I was nervous to the point of tears, which is maybe not that big of a deal because I cry all the time. Nonetheless, I felt really relieved, excited, and admittedly proud that I had went by myself. It’s a little victory, but whatever.
The pastor spoke specifically on the story in Luke 18 of Jesus encountering the blind beggar on His way to Jerusalem.
At this point, it should be noted that I may very well be butchering a Biblical story. I am incredibly bad at remembering locations and names and everything. I apologize if naming the wrong details ruins the sentiment for you. Please look past any mistakes I make.
My pastor talked about how Jesus asked the blind man what he wanted Him to do even though it was totally obvious that the man was blind and therefore wanted to see. My pastor explained that Jesus made the beggar specifically ask to see because saying that’s what he wanted in front of all the crowd with Jesus was an admission of the beggar’s faith that God would allow him to see.
It is easy to ask God for vague things; to say “please bless me” or “please give me good things.” That requires little faith.
It is also pretty easy to ask God for those big deal things in the privacy of your own room or your own head. Anyone can pray a silent prayer asking God for what he or she needs, and yes, God will hear that prayer.
But it is a huge profession of faith to stand up in a crowd and ask God for that big thing. It is also incredibly difficult to do.
As humans, so many of us care so deeply about the opinions of others. We don’t want others to judge us. We put up walls, we wear masks; we so often do not want others to see us when we are vulnerable and broken. We do not want others to see us in the same broken, wrecked, sinful way that we truly are, in the way that Jesus knows us to be.
The blind beggar was desperate, and he had great faith. This was his Hail Mary; he asked for mercy and he was given it.
Toward the end of our church service today, the pastor said that he felt one or two people in the room really needed to stand and cry out their desperate prayer for God. He gave the congregation the opportunity to do so.
I did not stand; I did not ask God for help and mercy and guidance.
I did not stand, and I know I’m one of the one or two people that my pastor was actually talking about.
Several people stood, asking God to heal and to help with whatever problem they felt was blind beggar level desperate, and I know God heard those prayers with great need and great urgency.
I know that He will hear my prayers no matter what format I ask them in, but I have never felt so disappointed in my disregard for what God asked of me.
I made excuses. I allowed my pride to get in my way.
I constantly beg God to push me, I ask to be pulled deeper and deeper into His embrace, but when He asked something so little of me, I could not follow through.
I told myself that I didn’t know what to say, and while listing the specifics of what I want to ask God for is difficult, and quantifying it into one thing is even more difficult, I know that had I had the faith to stand, the right words would have came. I had that thought as I sat listening to others crying out to God, and I ignored that thought just as easily as it had came.
I’m telling you all this for a few reasons.
First is simply because on some level I feel like since I wouldn’t share my most personal needs with my church, sharing this experience as a whole with you will somehow help to balance things out. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not biblical at all; I just feel like I need to do it for me.
But also I just want you to know that even when you fall short of what God is asking of you, even when you really fail and you know it and feel guilty about it, God can still use that. Simply beating yourself up about it will do nothing; earnestly asking God to forgive you for it will result in just that, His forgiveness. And sometimes you can use your shortcomings to reach others. Since this has weighed heavily on me all day, I found myself telling roommate this very story, which included sharing a sermon that she ended up finding very applicable to her own life. God uses everything. The devil can when in a moment, but you don’t have to allow that to mean that God loses out altogether.
Lastly, I had to tell you this story to explain the list that follows. Since my primary excuse was that I did not know exactly what I would say, I came home and wrote a list of the things that I want most from God.
Below is the list exactly as I wrote it. I left it raw and unedited because I didn’t want to clean up what I want for fear that editing would take away from the needs.
- To stay in the Raleigh area; this means finding a job, a place to live, roommate(s) to live with, etc.
- To become closer to the people at Emmaus; to become like a real part of the group and feel like I can confide in/grow with them
- For God to give me a specific direction to go in career wise, even if that specific direction isn’t the only direction that I could go and be happy, I just really need to be working toward something, so I don’t feel directionless and like I’m wasting my life
- To be able to incorporate Uganda/Africa/International missions into my life plan, preferably without living there long term; I’m not asking to constantly be going to Uganda, I just want desperately to get back one day, and know that I’ll want to keep going back after that
- Side note to 4: I would be significantly less opposed to living there long term if it were with a significant other; that is dumb and petty, but I have a hard enough time finding someone in America, and don’t want to hurt my paltry chances by not even being in America. I haven’t recently struggled as much with singleness because this whole year I’ve been pretty overwhelmed with all the other issues, but when it does hit me, it hits incredibly hard, and it hit me a few days ago
- To always be growing closer to God; to be so wrapped up in Him, and bonded to Him, that I exude His love and His mercy in everything that I do. I want all of the avenues of my life that I am absolutely clueless about right now to fall into place without me really noticing or worrying about them because I am just too focused on God all the time (maybe this is out of order and should be first).
I will be praying very persistently for the things on this list; I will pray exclusively for one when I feel God is asking me to pray very specifically, and I will pray fervently that God will forgive me for my disobedience, and that next time He calls me to stand up, to shout out, whatever, I will answer His call with faith and confidence. I ask that if you have any extra time, you pray for me as well.
Note: I hope this doesn’t feel like I’m just ripping off my pastor’s sermon for the sake of a blog post; I’m a little afraid that it will come off that way. I tried very hard not to overshare the sermon, but instead share my personal experience as a result of it. If a sermon is what you’re looking for, check out the lil gem of a church that I attend right here.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts below, and of course, if you have any prayer requests I’m happy to keep you in my prayers as well.