I’ve been praying, trying to find where God wants me to go. In what I write. In what I give away to glorify Him. He’s whispering a prompting of, “Go there. The place that is hard for you. The place that you are raw.”
I remember a night when I was 17, a night I spent visiting a new youth group at a church I had begun to attend. Truthfully, I was hoping to get closer to a guy that I liked, but I was also fully on board with getting closer to Jesus with a new group of people my age. We talked about seasons of life that night. I shared a lot more than I had originally hoped to, but I opened up about feeling like I was on my own in my faith. There wasn’t a whole lot of influence from other people except for a few friends. I remember thinking that my life felt like the end of a winter right before a crisp spring, where the ground slowly awakens and growth appears from the frost.
When I was dating my first serious boyfriend (and soon-to-be husband), I struggled with the idea of sharing my faith fully with someone else. I had worked for years to cultivate a rich fulfillment in Jesus, and a huge part of me was scared that I would lose the quality of it. I wasn’t sure the man I loved would love Jesus as much as I did. I was infatuated with God. I wanted to do more for Him all the time.
I had this crooked idea for a long time that my faith was something I had created. That the tabs sticking out all over my Bible marking important verses were signs of a true love for the Lord. That the more I journaled, the more I would love Him. The more I worshipped with arms raised, the closer He would be to me. That the more that I shared my vulnerability, my pain, my frustrations, the more real I would be. But it quickly become a facade. Just something to hide behind.
I don’t know about you, my friend. But I know about me. I know what is hardest for me. And this is it: I didn’t create myself.
It’s hard for me to believe. I like to think that I created my desire for God by being a fiery teenager with a faith that burned bright like the lamp Jesus called us to be. I like to think that I am the one who is great at worshipping Jesus, lifting hands, loving my King with song. I like to think that I was the one that cultivated the talents of writing and journaling. I did that. I made myself.
I spent a lot of time in my late teens and early twenties believing that what I worked towards in my faith was what made me great. But you know what shatters that? The simple fact that God Himself, standing alone, does not need me. He doesn’t need my talents. Or my fiery faith. He is a God who holds planets in His fingertips. His power is unmatched.
And yet. And yet! Although He doesn’t need me, He sure does want me. He loves me. He loves me like fire on gasoline and lightening in the humid summer sky. He loves me like the wind tears through my hair and the skies opening up in storm. He loves me fierce and hard and more fiery than the faith of my 17-year-old self. He loves me more.
And He made me. He made every bit of me, and He made the intricate parts of me. Like my writing and journaling, my love for underlining words in the Bible and place tabs all over. Like my hands lifted as high as they can go and tears stinging my eyes as words like “Hallelujah!” and “You will be praised!” escape my lips. Like the parts of my spirit that long to be open, honest, and transparent with my peers. The parts of me that yearn for closeness to Him. The parts of me that ache for His presence. Every inch of my being is known to Him. Created by Him. And every bit of my faith was His working.
Let that be known to you. Let that resonate with you. That God, who you long for, is the reason you feel close. Not because you crossed a barrier. Or because you did something great. It’s because He loves you, He adores you, and He is creating a faith that lasts because you are letting Him.
Give Him the greatest credit.
Yes, Jesus, you have done a work in me that is never-ending. Some days are harder, some easier. Sometimes faith feels like my work, but let me remember it isn’t. I cannot earn my keep with You. You already covered me in sacrificial blood and said, “Her. She is mine.” And my longing for You was created by You. My love for You, it is because of You. And all of this? I couldn’t have made something this beautiful. I didn’t make this. You made it all. All because You loved me first.