Is it normal to go through moments where you feel so overwhelmed by the Christian faith? Seriously, someone respond to this question… it’s not meant to be rhetoric. Naturally, my tendency is to be a runner. It would be wishful thinking to say I was talking about the “runner” I used to be on the high-school track team… but not anymore. More like a runner from issues. Even from a young age and before I was a follower of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I trained myself to say, “It’s okay- everything happens for a reason.” Saying that for so many years has actually come back to bite me in the butt.

In all reality those things I said, “It’s okay” to, they in-fact were not okay. And now I fully believe the saying “everything happens for a reason” is something we use to ease our selfish, human-tendencies of wanting to be in control of each and every situation. Yes, God can turn any negative choice or event into a blessing… but it did not necessarily happen according to his purpose or plan for our lives. I need to stop saying, “everything happens for a reason” and start asking the question, was this Gods desire for my life, or my own desires? More and more as I walk out my faith, I become so aware of how disgusting my heart is- how I am constantly tripping over my untied shoe-laces, trying to gain control, gain authority and gain recognition. Somehow I’m always coming up short… Hmm wonder why? ;-)

It makes me chuckle at how ridiculously self-consumed I’ve been during certain time-periods of my life, especially looking back to the first year of my walk with Jesus. While living in Charleston I was surrounded by the “perfect” Christians. I lived in a constant state of financial & emotional turmoil, and they appeared to live with this ease and consistency. I looked at myself and saw the nature of my heart; selfish, impure and irresponsible. I lived (live) with the mindset that I am in fact, the worst of sinners. Giving myself Grace and looking at things through the lens that we are all equally the worst of sinners has always been a struggle for me.

Even the Apostle Paul was equally as sinful as each of us… “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim 1:15) Woah, what an eye opener… the state of my heart is just like the state of Paul’s. I am considered an equal to this amazing, strong Christian who lived a life of selflessness, endured numerous persecutions, preached The Good News all over the world and spoke truth into the lives of Christians who weren’t necessarily acting like Christians. God loves me, God praises me and God is for me, just as much as he loved Paul, praised Paul and was for Paul. This is a crazy concept to grasp considering the world we live in. We live in a society where people are constantly striving to out-do the Church next door, not to mention the Christian sitting in the seat next to us on Sunday. However, Romans 2:1 says it all… For God does not show favoritism.

It took me awhile to view Christians who were more mature in their faith as equals to me. This mindset ultimately made me self-conscious and not as genuine, real and consistent in my faith during this time. In fact, my need for approval and acknowledgment hindered my growth because I wanted the appearance of  being in control.  I wanted to appear that I had my shiz all together and everything was fine and dandy because I knew “everything happens for a reason.”  All I had to do was to say the words, that my Lord and Savior would come rescue me. What I couldn’t accept was that sometimes God sends people to come rescue us. The runner in me did not want these people to see my real, true, selfish heart. The runner in me wanted to leave as soon as that wall I built started crumbling and my real desires, my real motives and the real core of who I was started showing. I was more concerned about looking like a “real” Christian, than actually desiring to learn, grow and model a lifestyle somewhat worthy to the glory of Christ and what he did for me. It’s a very humbling thing to release pride and accept truth and knowledge from others… but so worth it and necessary to becoming more Christ-like.

Thinking back to that time-period revealed some pretty hard-core truth about the state of my heart during that time, and also where I am now. The other day I was asking Ethan if it was normal to feel so overwhelmed in carrying so many other people’s burdens around. He said it was the “Pastor’s heart” in me. For some reason that didn’t sit well and I started praying about those “burdens” I was carrying. I had to ask myself a tough question; was I really carrying burdens or was I trying to gain control of the situation? Was I still more concerned with approval from others and God… trying to appear like I have my shiz all together & carrying those burdens for that reason? Well, I still don’t know. God will have to continue to reveal the real motives of my heart to me… in his time. The only thing I know is that God has given me an extremely compassionate heart towards others, and at the same time a burning desire for truth and genuine transparency with each other as Christians. After all, we are all equally the worst of sinners.

Each day I wake up and realize the cold hard truth about where my heart is now and where it should be. I’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re walking with burdens; whether it be your own, or someone else it’s a matter of control that we have not yet relinquished. It shows impatience on my part, a lack of trust in certain areas of my faith, and it most certainly shows that I’m still striving for some sort of approval that has already been given freely to me, by the bloodshed of Jesus on the cross.

It’s just a cool thing to know that wherever we are in our walk with God, he loves us all equally. Whether you accepted Christ yesterday, or have been walking in faith for 40 years… we are all equally the worst of sinners and equally receive the same amount of Grace for those sins. I’m so thankful and blessed for the people in my life who came along beside me and lovingly spoke truth into my life. I would not be the person I am today without each and everyone of you. I am thankful that God broke down my walls, diminished my pride and allowed me to humble myself before him. Now, more than ever I see that I still need those people in my life to come beside me, disciple me and mold me into a woman of Christ. Oh, what a wonderful journey we are on!