Very often, this walk of faith is more about what we do in the times we don’t “feel” like a real Christian. When life is hard and the waves begin to pull us under, when our own doubts and insecurities keep us from walking in the victory Christ has won for us, when the stresses of our lives keep us from spending quality time with God. But, whether we feel it or not, God is still there and He is still worthy of our praise. i want to share how God made this truth clear to me recently.
i struggle with insecurity. i have moments where i feel so insignificant, unwanted, useless, and worthless that i fall apart, sometimes for days at a time. That is what happened to me last week. It came up at the most unexpected time: at the end of a very wonderful day with very wonderful people. We laughed, we shared what God was doing in our lives, we prayed for each other, and just had genuine, wonderful fellowship. As i’m walking to the car to leave at the end of the night, something clicks inside me. The conversations happening around me suddenly sounded like “Go away, Jennifer. You’re not needed here anymore. You fulfilled your purpose today. You were funny and made us laugh, but when it comes to anything else, you’re not needed.” And that’s how i left. i got home and crumbled to pieces. because i believed the lies, because i thought doubts like this had been left behind, because i thought i was “over it.”
But Satan reminded me that i am not over it, that i struggle to believe that i mean something to those around me. This time he didn’t use the lie that people don’t love me (though he has before); instead, he hit me deeper: People don’t need me. i love to be needed, okay? i love to be useful, even if people don’t tell me that. If i can see that i am helping and doing something that helps, i am fulfilled. So Satan was telling me that everything i do and am in life could be done – was being done – better by someone else. i was just there but of no use. Others did it better. i had nothing that made me necessary to people.
In the middle of all of this, however, i heard God’s voice. He was there, y’all! He carried me through that valley. Satan was pounding these lies at me but God was there, whispering that He loved and needed me. Psalm 13 really resonated with me about this.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long will i store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day? How long will my enemy dominate me?Psalm 13 (HCSB)
Consider me and answer, Lord my God. Restore brightness to my eyes; otherwise, i will sleep in death. My enemy will say, ‘I have triumphed over him,’ and my foes will rejoice because i am shaken.
But i have trusted in your faithful love; my heart will rejoice in your deliverance. i will sing to the Lord because He has treated me generously.
David was in despair here, he was really pleading to God, begging for deliverance. And that was me last week. i was begging God to remind me of His truths, to remind me that these things were not true, demanding to know why this was still a struggle for me. But, thank God for spiritual growth in times of plenty and peace. Because what i learned during those times is what carried me through this. After the initial breakdown, i started to remember what i’d learned personally and what i had watched friends learn: even when i don’t feel like it, God is still worthy of praise. Repeat this as often as you need to until it sticks.
“Will you forget me forever?” That was David’s question. He was feeling hopeless and desperate, wondering if God would ever hear his prayer. But look at the end! David praised God for 3 things; he praised Him for His faithful love, His deliverance (even though he hadn’t been delivered from his current situation yet), and His generosity. i pray for a heart like David, to be this worshipful of God.
But, getting back to the spiritual growth. In the past, i would have been stuck at “why do i feel like this? why, why, why?” But i was able to pray and hold on to Christ even though i still felt the lies pounding me. They hadn’t stopped, and it was already Monday. i found myself slipping all day long, feeling the sorrow come back. But even if i had nothing more to say than “Help me, God”, it kept me going. He was faithful! And even if i never told anyone what i was struggling with and they never reassured me these lies weren’t true, God delivered me! i saw only one set of footprints behind me in all of this. But friend, they weren’t mine. Christ carried me.
And He was generous. He gave me one more thing. He gave me something that makes my heart sing: a gray day. i know, what an oxymoron, right? But i’m a West Texan. Overcast skies and foggy days are bliss! And without even asking Him for it directly, God gave me the perfect day. This was the final step to shake off the funk i had been in. God had already been faithful and delivered me, but He was also generous. And while the day itself isn’t what healed me, i saw God’s love in that, and that was a balm to my heart. i saw that He cares about these things, He is generous and longs to bestow these things upon us. He is such a good, good God.
Because He can use all things for good if we just let Him, i don’t look back over last week as awful and painful. i see His faithfulness, deliverance, and generosity. yes, there was pain, but it fades to nothing compared to His goodness. These qualities of His – and more! – can be found everywhere in our lives, even in the dark times. It’s up to us whether we are willing to look for them, whether we are willing to praise Him in the storm, to seek His light in the dark.