The floor felt like it opened up to swallow me. Thoughts and words and ideas and foundations were challenged as I sipped a frozen coffee and listened.
At 21 years old and a senior in college, I assumed I would be a bit more stable. In the prior year, I had seen my foundations fracture due to my own choices. What started as hairline fractures burst into chasms in which I could not charm my way out of. I hurt others. I chose my own comfort for the moment. I began to see that my self-righteousness was a front for the sin that lay beneath. What stung the most for this people pleaser was that others called me out on my mess. In 2019 terms, I was having a “brand crisis.”
Looking in the mirror, the person I thought I was faded, and I did not know who this young woman had become. One might be thinking I had gotten into a scandal of epic size, but it was not. A poorly handled breakup and a poorly handled rebound where I hurt others started the snowball down the hill. I kept trying to spin my choices in the eyes of others, and I found myself further in a hole. I had lost fellowship with God as I walked my day to day life, and it became about my own wisdom. Spoiler alert: I had an overinflated picture of my own wisdom and resources.
I could recognize and feel the grossness and inconsistencies within me for the first time. Up until then, I really thought I had it together. I know—yuck. I had depended upon God, but I did not have a truthful view of myself and Him.
So, as I sat looking at God’s word in a totally different way, I was greatly sobered. Before, I had cherry picked verses that were encouraging or convicting. Never had I studied through a book of the Bible or listened to teaching in that way. I did not know how. Never had I let God’s word inform me of what God was like. I took what people told me and the wisdom that I had and formulated my faith.
Ephesians 1 was before me…had I ever read it before? It was plain, and it shook me. When I allowed the Bible coupled with the Spirit to speak…I was confronted that I was not the center of my story. Though humbling, it was so freeing. This freedom and joy only came after a war waged within.
This was the beginning of my journey of looking at God, His word and my faith in a different way. See, I totally would be a different person today had this change not occurred. Every year and in every pain, He leads me deeper and deeper into His truth. Sadly, I see where I could have been apart from His grace to show me the treasure of His word and who He is. From my background, I assume I would still be in church. I would still be a people helper. However, knowing myself, I think the authenticity and vulnerability would not be there. The richness of relationships would not be there. I think my view of God would have shifted to be more culturally acceptable. I would not have had the anchor of God’s sure character within pain. In infertility, in death and loss and grief, in ministry…I literally would be unrecognizable if I still thought I was the center of the story. I would have missed the beauty of who He is.
If I can encourage people of anything in this life, it is to examine His word and to ask Him for wisdom and grace in learning from it. For, from it, He shows Himself and in turn, one sees the reality of who they are.
See, if God is the center and the praise of His glory is the point, I have found and am finding that there is meaning and worship and hope and eternal purpose in all things—even the most crushing of blows. I can go to His truth preserved and find my identity and meaning there—even when I don’t understand and don’t like what I read. He does not shift or change as everything around us does. His purposes are true and eternal and good. So, wrestle friends. It is worth it.