When I first started writing today, I was on a whole other topic, and about half way through I got the words "Shaken Faith" in my head. Extremely confused and a bit irritated, I just wrote the words in the title and stared for a minute...I then proceeded to erase everything. That's kind of how God likes to work in my life. You see, I really like to have control, however one thing I have recently learned and been working on is this idea of "being still" and "letting God take control", for some this may be an easy concept, but for myself it has been one of the hardest points to grasp. Margaret Butler said, “There are seasons when to be still demands immeasurably higher strength than to act” and this has never been more accurate to me than now.
This past weekend, William Jessups summer mission teams gathered together as a community for a missions retreat. Going into this trip I was in a really rough place with God. I didn't want to go, I didn't want to spend the weekend with a bunch of people I barely knew, basically I started out with a really bad view. I had been feeling really distant from God, I didn't feel Him in my life, I was in a long dry season. We got to our camp on friday afternoon and it's still processing in my mind, but how quickly my attitude changed from just being their for maybe an hour. A complete 360 degree turn around. I was stoked to be there, I was ready to get my weekend on and enjoy this feeling of relaxation and easiness that I haven't felt in probably almost 2 years. That night we gathered together and sang worship together and one of the leaders had given a devotional, and I can remember looking around and just seeing people crying, laughing, and just praising Jesus. It was only the first night! The next day was when things really became real to me. We had gone through about 5 intense sessions that day of all topics that became really personal for everyone. I got to a point where God just broke me, He saw the facade I had been putting on and He knew how to get the realness out. I left the room to go get some air and a few minutes later, one of my teammates had found me and immediately new something was up (psychology major problems). I was still feeling really far from God and just not able to figure out why. We talked, we cried, we laughed, we became family. Was everything great the next day? No, and it was okay. I was okay. You see, this idea of shaken faith is complicated. At one point, I can be on fire for God and furthering His Kingdom, but I also have my bad days, when I get a little lost. And when that happens, I have people their to get me back on the right trail.
When we came back from our retreat on sunday, things were great, I was happy, our team bonded like peanut butter goes to jelly...yeah that good. However, that night I got news that a friend from back home had taken his life. And there goes the paved trail, hello woods. This wasn't the first time I had to deal with the death of a friend, but it doesn't make it easier. I was frustrated, confused, hurt, sad, everything. My faith was shaken. God, what? No, no, you must be wrong, things are good, this is just an april fools joke. Yeah, it wasn't. It's crazy how one thing can lead into a huge spiral of chaos. It's now thursday, and I can say my God is a God of Love. I have been blessed with some of the most amazing people in my life that love me. I honestly don't think I could have gotten through this last week without them, I was a mess, mean and distant and they still were their to comfort me and encourage me. And that my friends is God's good work and timing. I tried taking things into my own hands and dealing with them my way, I wanted to keep the control, keep the good feelings. But I learned that if I was to stay like that, I would never grow and it would just be fake, our faith must be tested. This world is broken, I am broken, I need to continually work on myself and my relationship with God, specifically on being still in situations and giving them over to Him.
That is my prayer, to be still. To listen to God, and to start seeing the work that He is constantly doing in my life, even in the times when I don't think He is there. I pray that if this is something someone else is struggling with that, they can realize how normal it is to go through a shaken faith episode. That it's okay to question things, but at the same time to talk to the people God has placed in their life for purposes like these. We are called to be in community with each other constantly and to keep each other accountable. I am excited to continue my journey through this week, it's hard at times but I know I'm not alone.