“How many times will I fail you, Lord?”
Time and again, I’ve tried to muster the nerve to share my faith but felt incapable and incapacitated to form the words. I’m one whose mind goes blank when stressed, purpose eluding me when I desire it most.
As a young adult follower of Jesus, I thought gospel-sharing would come with growth. Slowly, this view morphed into the assumption that it just wasn’t a spiritual gift I possessed.
As frustration and feelings of failure mounted, I succumbed to the belief I must be shallow and selfish, incapable of mobilizing any genuine concern for the spiritual needs of a human soul.
Fear, intimidation and insecurity—hallmarks of my life—left me crippled in key areas of growth. But through counseling, the reconstruction of false narratives bolstered security in my identity as a daughter of the King and citizen of Heaven.
A long process of healing and courage-building ensued, and I now realize this was the first step before seeing past the veil of pain shrouding my own soul to peer into the depths of someone else’s.
This seems to be Jesus’ way: healing then sending, lovingly confronting then commissioning.
“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.”
So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region, proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them.” Mark 5:18-20
Jesus went to the Gerasene region just to meet this man, healing and transforming him from demon-possessed to disciple!
And these transformations continued throughout Jesus’ life:
- Mary Magdelene – from destitute to daughter
- Bartimaeus – from blind to bold
- The Samaritan woman – from impoverished to preacher
As Jesus continues to transform me in His faithful, gentle way, He reveals His good plans and purpose as I grow in wisdom to understand them.
Slowly, He reveals truth about His glorious Kingdom and my identity in it. One of importance being:
Jesus, possessing all power and authority, empowers me for the good works He created me to do. (Ephesians 2:9)
However, when I attempt these good works in my own strength, I end up handicapping myself.
But when I abide in Him:
- Seeking His nearness
- Soaking in His Word
- Communing with Him
- Communicating with Him
something magical happens. My heart aligns with His—two hearts becoming one.
- His thoughts become my thoughts.
- My desires meld with His.
- His plans become more beautiful and fulfilling than anything I could dream up.
My heart becomes strangely warmed, fueling my passions and prayers.
I’m nothing like the devoted disciple from the Gerasenes, but my days are distinctly different when I start them with Him.
I find myself in conversation with strangers or praying for people I never would have otherwise as He opens my eyes beyond the four walls of my soul.
Left to myself, my prayers would rarely venture outside my small world.
But opening my heart to Jesus who loves the whole world widens my eyes to His wonderous plans because He is on the move, everywhere, at every moment.
Will there be disappointment and despair? Brokenness and loss? Until He returns, yes.
But the more I focus on Him, the brighter His Kingdom becomes, both inside and around me.
So I don’t have to guilt myself into sharing the gospel, or whatever I’m trying harder to do. I have one, simple task: be with Him, existing together in healing harmony, no matter what’s raging around me.
And as I rest in His presence, I ask 3 questions, trusting He will answer as I go about my day.
- God, what do you need me to know?
- What do you want me to do?
- How should I think about this circumstance or situation?
Asking these questions, staying attuned and available, I find myself in crazy Kingdom moments. Do I have to get outside my comfort zone? Yes! But when I do, beautiful things happen. And if they don’t, I trust God with what I cannot see.
(But don’t think anxiety-causing struggles elude me; more on that next time).
So what parts of your soul need healing from hurts, unforgiveness or trauma? What one step can you take this week in your journey toward His perpetual presence?
Maybe find a mentor or counselor to process with? Cultivate community so your heart isn’t deceived by counterfeit pursuits? What about meeting a friend a few times a month to stay connected and accountable?
When you seek Jesus, He promises not only His presence but His good works in and through you. Stay soft, close, and warmed in His loving arms, dear one.
Weekly Health Tip—inspired by my counselor!
Sleep is the most important biomarker for health says world-renowned sleep expert Matthew Walker. Its lack has significant, deleterious effects on every organ and system in our body, and in the U.S., we’re falling further behind the sleep curve.
Good sleep hygiene is one of the best gifts to yourself; here are a few science-backed tips:
- 7-9 hours is crucial, not optional for health.
- Have a consistent sleep and wake time.
- Wait until you’re sleepy to go to bed, and get out of bed 5-10 mins after waking (sleep restriction).
- Untether from screens at least 2 hours before bed, and keep all technology out of the bedroom.
- No work or news before bed.
- Avoid all light (not just blue) between 10p-4a.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
- If you wake up worrying or can’t sleep, get up until you’re sleepy.
- Get outside light (10 mins) within an hour of waking and as the sun sets. Natural light exposure regulates circadian/sleep rhythms.
- Avoid caffeine after 2pm.
- Avoid alcohol of any type within 6 hours of bedtime.