Let’s talk

I’ve been having this thought: what if I tried this alone? Life, I mean. We’ve been together for as long as I can remember, and it’s not like You’ve wronged me, but I think I need some space to explore on my own. Not as a permanent solution, just for a little while. I promise it’s not You, it’s me.

God, I’ve thought about what a day without You would look like countless times. I would wake up and not say my prayers, ride the train and not read my Bible, interact with my coworkers and not go out of my way to show them Your love. I would live as the main character of my own show, making my own choices and living by my own standards. 

What if, for only a second, You were not the exigency of my soul? Truth be told, it’s not always easy to be the type of person You desire. Forget being a Proverbs 31 woman, at times I can barely proclaim Romans 1:16. One mention of God and I become “the Christian” of my circle. I get annoyed at the thought of someone summing up my entire identity in that title, but then I remember that title is my entire identity because when I openly declare that Jesus is Lord, I am surrendering my name for Yours. But maybe I want to wear my own name now and define my own identity. And now that I’m no longer under the watchful eyes of my parents, I’ll admit, the desire to find my own way has been growing in me like a sapling amidst a field of trees. 

What would I stand to gain from a life without You? I guess I’d finally have an answer for my friends back home when they ask about the notorious college scene—life at the party Ivy. At last, I won’t have to stumble over my words as I explain that my relationship with You prevents me from engaging in debauchery. I’d get to live freely without constantly considering Your restrictions and have more time to do the things that intrigue me. I’d grind on my schoolwork during the week and party hard, drinking endlessly on the weekends. I’d live recklessly, one day at a time, and make the most of the best years of my life!

You’re laughing too, aren’t You? I can’t even keep a straight face while thinking about it. As it turns out, the fun I’ve dreamt of time and time again, I have no real desire for. Parties have never been my scene and drinking uncontrollably doesn’t entice me. These events serve their purpose for some, those who need a quick fix in a world of temporaries, but somehow I know they’d be detrimental to me. We’ve been together so long that certain things about You are simply ingrained in my identity. Any resistance to You would mean abandoning myself for some random, manufactured personality.

At the root of my problem lies doubt. I don’t know when it started. I don’t know when nor if it plans to end. I’ve been trying to deny its existence, but it’s become evident. The voices in my head keep asking questions I don’t know the answers to, and the more I try to cover my ears to pray, the louder they get. At first, they were just a minor annoyance, but now I can’t even say Your name without them denying Your authority. I’ve been asking You to silence them for some time now, but I suppose that’s just one of those things I’m supposed to wait on. Perhaps if we were to take some time apart, I would be able to destroy them myself.

Who am I kidding? I would destroy myself.

It’s funny how the human brain works, how easily I forget. Just months ago when I cried out in pain, it was Your name that whimpered out of my mouth. And now that I have found strength, I use that same mouth to question if You really heal. When I sat in my dorm, bored and alone as the seasons changed, You were my closest companion. Now that I have a few friends, I act like my time has become too valuable to spend with You. Likewise, I asked You for favor when applying for opportunities I knew I didn’t qualify for, and now that I have experienced them, I doubt whether You can actually provide. I want to take charge of my life and start crafting my own path, but I quickly forget how abruptly this malfunction* of a life can attack. The mere thought of not being able to run to You at the sight of danger is enough to give me a reality check and opens my eyes to how truly fleeting and selfish my love for You is.

O God, would You forgive me? I don’t need to go any further to figure out that while the potential gains of a godless life may be tempting, they can cost me eternity.

In high school, I thought You were the reason I did well: God gives good grades. Then I came to Penn and realized that my accomplishments were far from rare. I saw many who lived their lives without You and they looked perfect. That’s when I first had this thought: maybe a good life could be possible without You. If they could do it, maybe I could too. Then I saw the true weight of life and realized that without You, it was too heavy to carry. In a world riddled with the consequences of sin, You have supplied me with senseless peace, joy without origin, and grace without bounds. These assurances, I cannot bear to live without.

I’m ashamed to have done this again–to have initiated this conversation. The ironic part is that I’m always the one to raise accusations, but You’re the One who never changes. The source of my problems is never You, it’s always me. My life starts to come together and I gain confidence in my capabilities. I begin to drift away from you, leaning on my own understanding. Suddenly, life steps up to the plate and bowls me out. Then like a little kid, snotty nose and all, I come running back into Your arms. The frustrating part is that I know this isn’t the last time I raise a case against You. I know that the second I step out of the door tomorrow and sense the tiniest bit of pride to reap from life, I’ll step into the court and repeat this argument. I can only hope that—as You always have—You will judge with illogical** and unending favor again.

I’ve been having this thought: what if I stop paying attention to the world’s perceptions of me and focus solely on Your will? What if I live this life completely surrendered to You, regardless of whether or not You answer me in the way I expect? Maybe then Your revival fire can burn freely inside of me. Maybe then Your love and Your Word be a lamp to direct my feet. Not temporarily, but for eternity. 

*malfunction- not operating in the way in which it was initially designed and intended

**illogical- ignoring the possible pitfalls of a decision in pursuit of an objective or a soul

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDsE4BPuFRQ

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