2015 In Review: Spiritual Growth
If you asked me to pick one word that I believe defined the way I felt through half of 2014 and 2015 about my spiritual walk, that one ugly word would be failure. Yes, I was definitely saved, and I was trying to please God, but I wasn’t feeling like I was getting anywhere. I wrote:
“Failure. Some days, that’s all I am. I’m finding my own strength to be less and less powerful as time goes by, which is ironic because I’m supposed to be getting stronger, right?
But I fail. Time and time and time and time again. I try, over and over, and I fail. Failure. It’s like the word is written on my forehead in black Sharpie for everyone to see. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m messing up, and someone has to point it out to me, and yet again I feel the sting of rejection. Tears fall because this isn’t what I wanted to happen. This isn’t what I desire, and I’m fighting just to look like I’m actually getting somewhere with this.
But I’m not.”
It’s very depressing, not to mention dramatic, you’re surely thinking. I know, and I don’t like it any more than you do! But in order to accurately review 2015 spiritually, this part of the year has to come into play. There was a season in the first six months of the year that I was really struggling with what I like to call “winter blues”. During these months, I would get really upset and moody at practically nothing, and could find no explanation for it but that similar things had happened to me in the past two January/Februarys. That is in no way excusing my behavior, but I definitely had some harder stuff laid on me because of that. This only added to my belief that I was a failure at this Christ-like thing.
Ironically, this was exactly the issue I wrote about in my article for Lies Young Women Believe, and the week it was published, one of my dear friends actually read my own words out loud to me. I closed my eyes and let the truth seep in to all of my cracks. The shell of failures I’d let myself be molded into began to chip, little by little. Perfectionist that I am, I can’t seem to get it through my head that Jesus doesn’t say to me, “you can do better than that. Go ahead, try till you’re out of energy to be enough for Me.” No. He says,
“Come to Me, all you who are burdened and weary, and I will give you rest.”
Rest. Enough rest, peace, provision, and grace to keep my weary heart going strong and steady after Him. It was the summer and fall of 2015 that I got a “breath of fresh air”, so to speak, when I started a Bible study again, met some people who were solely devoted to encouraging me to be more like Christ, and started accepting the fact that following God means letting go and letting Him move. I’ve always known this in my head, but I would definitely say 2015 was the year that this truth became a reality in my heart.
2016 is going to be hard, and I’m willing to accept that. The little bit of experience I’ve had with new years that when my head is down and I’m discouraged about the risks and pain, Jesus is always there. Right beside me, taking hold of my hand, and leading me on. He whispers, My grace is sufficient for you. He keeps me steady no matter what happens, and may the theme of 2016 be that I keep steady after Him.
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33