I love living in Peru. I love being busy and helping out with things and learning Spanish from excellent teachers. I love being on a team. However, there are certain challenges to being on a team that I struggle with immensely: vulnerability.
Honestly, I have been having a tough day today. It took me a long time to figure out how I was even feeling or what was wrong. All I knew for a while was that I was in a funk and I didn’t like it. I finally realized that this is the same spiritual attack I have whenever I am in the midst of ministry, and it is amazing how it works every time. Satan knows that if he can convince me that I am not ok just as I am, he can keep me from being effective in ministry.
This entire last year I spent a lot of time growing and healing with God. I have struggled with pretty intense depression in the past, and God has really helped me to be able to hear truth amidst the lies that seem so real to me. I am ashamed to admit that I even struggle with this, but sometimes it just seems too thick to wade through. Today it just seemed like a haze I couldn’t shake; it wasn’t quite darkness, but it wasn’t light either.
As I was sitting thinking about this, God reminded me of my devotions this morning from Ephesians 5:8-9: “For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” Kari Jobe wrote a song based out of this passage called We Are, and I love the words to the first verse of the song: “Every secret, every shame; every fear, every pain live inside the dark, but that’s not who we are. We are children of the day! So wake up sleeper, lift your head. We were meant for more than this. Fight the shadows, conquer death, make the most of the time we have left. We are the light of the world; we are the city on the hill. We are the light of the world and we gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine.”
There are so many truths that God has given us to take a hold of. One of the most well-known but amazing passages in the Bible is Psalm 139, and I love verses 1-18. Please take the time to read them:
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even from far away.
You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
If I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
If I dwell by the farthest oceans,
Even there your hand will guide me,
And your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—
But even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day;
Darkness and light are the same to you.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of the sand!
And when I wake up, you are still with me.”
I was talking to a friend this afternoon, and I told him that there is a battle going on inside of me right now. It is a battle of wills between God and me. I don’t know what it is about me that wants to fight God so strongly. I want to want what He wants so badly. However, I am intimidated by some of the things He wants me to do. I know that it will be hard, and I want so desperately for it to be easy. I can hear the voice of God cheering me on, “Come on! I believe in you! Keep pressing on!” Sometimes I don’t want to. Sometimes I simply want to sit down wherever it is that I am and let the world pass me by. Sometimes I just want to ride the waves. I am tired of swimming. At times it feels that I am simply treading water, but I think it is the times that I know that I am going somewhere when I want to give up the most. The closer I get to the life I know God wants for me, the more fulfilled I become and the more terrified I become of the added pressure, responsibility, and courage that I know it will take to accomplish the task. It excites me, but at the same time I am becoming increasingly aware at how weak and helpless that I am. I need God now more than ever because I can’t do this on my own. It is in these moments that I see myself crumbling, I know that it is only my Maker who can put humpty dumpty back together again.
I know that a lot of it is just emotions, and emotions are just emotions. However, I am the type that will stuff emotions as deeply as they will go inside of myself so no one will ever see them. This is a struggle of mine, but I have kept it so private so that maybe it won’t bother anyone. However, there is a major problem with that at this point in my life: I am no longer alone in an apartment in Nashville. I am on the mission field and I am serving on a team. If even the little things can be a stumbling block in ministry, then I can’t afford to not take this to my team and be honest with them about where I am. I need their prayers and support. I also need for them to know that when I start to retreat inside, I need their help to come back out. I can’t do it alone. I don’t want anything to keep me from doing everything God desires, and I don’t want to hold our team back from any type of ministry. I asked them the other day to pray for me for boldness, and that is exactly what this is about. I need to overcome all of these petty little emotions and fears and insecurities so that I might be strong for Christ.
This is the hardest thing for me to do: to be vulnerable with people. It is especially hard for me to be vulnerable face to face. I need to work on this, and my absolutely incredible team will help me with this, I know. I am excited to be in Peru and I am excited to serve God in any capacity He brings my way. I am asking for you to pray for me for the same thing that Paul asked the church in Ephesus to pray for: “…that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel (6:19).”