I started writing this blog almost 4 years ago... and the thought behind it, the purpose in writing was to create a place for me to think "out loud" and to fine tune my writing skills. Just over a year ago, that purpose changed along with the title of my blog. The purpose become to be transparent with others about what I was feeling and what God was teaching me. It was now no longer about me, but about what my life experiences could do to help others. From around the time this new purpose started to form, the end of August 2012, through the end of the year, my blog transformed. I was writing sometimes daily, at least weekly... I produced almost as many posts in that 3 months than I had in the 3 years prior. When I realized that today, it got me thinking... What was it that spurred so much transparency? What happened to that transparency? Had my faith lessened? Was I not growing?
So. Many. Questions.
I thought of probably 25-30 questions about what was different from last year to this year... and ultimately, I had to take a hard look at myself. I realized that my writing had become forced, because I was trying to censor what I was saying. Part of this was a result of the feedback I received (some good, some bad), part of it was society trying to tell me I had to be strong for everyone around me, because I'm a man... but mainly, it was me acting like a scared little boy. I got into this mindset that I needed to be this deep, theological writer for anyone to find value in what I was saying. I lost sight that I don't do this to glorify myself, but to glorify God, and that in order to do that, I have to be me. I was reminded of this by a devotion I read this morning, and then two blog posts by a fellow blogger. The first post by Los talked about getting back to the basics of knowing God, not just trusting the bloggers/authors/preachers/musicians we follow. It reminded me that I need to really wrestle with the reality of who God is on a daily basis. That was something I needed to read, because too often, I just take the opinion of others around me. The second post was about this filtered image we get of what others' lives look like from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, etc. I don't want to filter my life, I don't want to give a 90 second jaded, yet glorious glimpse of what my life looks like because the truth is... Even after giving my life to Christ, sometimes my life is hard. And sometimes, things in my life don't make sense. I want people to know that a relationship with Jesus doesn't mean the trials and the tribulations go away, it doesn't mean that you stop battling with lust, depression, self-confidence, pain, self-image, death, etc. It means you don't have to do it alone, it means that through everything God is with you, and in spite of all the bad things God is still sovereign. So hear it is, here's the deal on what's been going on... and what I haven't wanted to admit to you:
I'm sad/angry/confused about the deaths of my Pops' two best friends. John Norman and John Baute invested so much time, effort, love, lessons, and energy into my life that imagining going through future milestones without them there to celebrate sucks.
I'm worried about my Pops, my Mom, and the Baute and Norman families. There's nothing I can do or say that will heal the pain that we are all feeling... I feel helpless, and I can't help but hate that feeling.
I'm complacent within where I am in my career. Entering my third year of "post college career" I thought I'd be in a different place than where I am now. As much as I'm thankful I have a good job, I still feel like I missed the mark some days.
I'm still fighting the depression I faced for so long, some days I wake up and I'm sad... for no reason at all.
I'm still doubtful of the future, the present, and the path in between. There are still days I feel distant from God, and I know that's not the case... but it's there.
I'm still struggling with lust, and 100 other sins that I battle with on a regular basis. While I am saved and redeemed I am in no way righteous. I'm fully aware of that.
The funny thing is... not only have I not told you all those things, I also haven't told you some things about the beauty of what God is doing in my life:
I am confident that God will work in the lives of all those affected by the deaths of John Norman and John Baute. In fact, I've already seen it. My relationship with my father is stronger than ever. I was blessed with some quality time with the first friend I ever had even though the circumstances were less than desirable. I've seen a lot of people take a hard look at their lives, and re-prioritize.
I am made strong in my weakness. This helplessness I feel is a good thing, because it humbles me and allows me to realize that only God can heal the pain that my loved ones are feeling.
I am learning patience and trust. As difficult as it is to feel complacent, I know there's a reason. I know God's plan is greater than my own, and I know that He is trying to imprint Proverbs 19:21 into my life.
I am growing in my faith each and every day. I am tested with the battle of depression, and God strengthens me. Each time I get up and dust off the crap that the enemy cloaks me in on those days I feel depressed, I get another day farther away from that time in my life.
I am hopeful. While I am doubtful of the future, I am hopeful that God is going to do things that I won't be able to fathom, because I know that He's strong enough.
I am learning the importance of grace. I still don't understand God's grace, but I am so thankful that he forgives me every time I fall. I am redeemed each and every day.
Ultimately, I am learning that everything going on around me, the good and the bad, is going to glorify God. I'm going to continue to be strengthened and grow in my relationship with Him because I won't back down, and I won't give up. I'm done running and hiding from being transparent. I promised that these would be Words Through the Wreckage and that's exactly what they will be.
In the words of Carlos Whitaker... "It's better that way..."
Grace and Peace,