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Spring Anew

April 23, 2013

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It’s been over six months since I last posted on here….and let me tell you, it was not an easy six months. This past winter was a really rough season for me, especially spiritually. I already know that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka seasonal depression) but for some reason this year was far worse than others in the past. I think it had mostly to do with where I found myself in life. A college grad, former Young Life leader and part time employee at a restaurant. I wasn’t sure where to associate myself and couldn’t really pinpoint my identity. I had moved out of my house I lived in for three years and thus found myself without the same immediate community I had known for so long. I was going to a church that I enjoyed and where I was challenged, but had a hard time feeling part of a community since it was primarily composed of young married couples or college students. Basically, I felt like I had no purpose or direction. And that is scary when you’re only 23. I saw people around me seeking new careers, pursuing awesome ministry opportunities, getting married…and there I was.

It’s hard for me to write about this now, because I look back and see how much of a waste it was for me to sit there and throw a pity party for myself. I’m sure I wasn’t an easy person to be around-and for those of you who stuck around for it, you are amazing and I’m very thankful for our friendships. Honestly, the worst part is that the whole time I was experiencing those emotions and challenges, I knew my answer-just like I know it now: Jesus. But the thing is, in the moment it’s really hard. There were multiple times I picked up my Bible and would read a couple chapters and just not be able to feel connected to the word. I prayed…a couple of times, and then would give up when I didn’t see results. I still sought out community, but didn’t really engage with those around me. I shut myself down and resorted to a life where I worked, came home, and holed up in my apartment and watched TV for hours on end. It wasn’t very pretty.

But then, something amazing happened…God showed up anyway. He saw me in my pit of despair and reached down to me. It wasn’t a question of what was happening, I knew He was there and that He was calling to me to rescue me from living a life full of self-pity, doubt and surrender. I can even pinpoint the moment where I first felt it. I had just returned from Florida and I was reading Love Does by Bob Goff (an amazing book) and I read this passage in the book:

“There are lots of things in life you and I don’t get invited to, though. I’ve never been invited to the Oscars or to Paul McCartney’s birthday party or to a space shuttle launch. I’m waiting for my invitation to National Treasure 3. If I got an invitation to any of those things, or for that matter, to the real White House Easter egg hunt, I’d definitely go. There’s nothing like feeling included.

There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn’t come in an envelope. It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live.

Turning down this invitation comes in lots of flavors. It looks like numbing yourself or distracting yourself or seeing something really beautiful as just normal. It can also look like refusing to forgive or not being grateful or getting wrapped around the axle with fear or envy. I think every day God sends us an invitation to live and sometimes we forget to show up or get head faked into thinking we haven’t really been invited. But you see, we have been invited-every day, all over again.

Take a second and let all that sink in. When I read those words, I literally put the book down and sat there. In that moment I realized that I was throwing away this amazing invitation to live a full life with God every time that I chose to be depressed over alive in the Spirit. I could feel the Spirit stirring within me, restless. I slowly began to reawaken my heart for my Father and instantly felt comforted, loved and embraced by Him. That whole time He was just waiting for me to run back to Him.

And now here I am. Spring has come, and I feel a constant desire to be exploring, growing in friendships, and delving deeper into the Word so that I may continually be discovering more facets of my Lord’s character. It’s a good place to be, finally! I have found fellowship with people who challenge me and help me to grow. I’m part of an awesome church doing big things in this city and the world. I have a new internship with Be Ohio Proud that has given me new goals and allows me to do things I really enjoy. I’m eating healthier. I’m more active now that the warm weather has arrived. I am branching out of my norm and trying new things.

These are all good things. But I am also remembering to prepare for the spiritual warfare that could come at any time. The enemy knows the best time to strike, and this time, I won’t allow him to take a stronghold in my heart. He has held a place there for far too long. Convincing me I’m not good enough, telling me I have no purpose, making me believe I don’t deserve love. Father, give me the strength to hold your truth above any of the lies I may choose to believe! I am confident that I can be freed from these battles, but know that it can only come through my Savior. So today, I choose to accept God’s invitation to live fully. And I hope that I will continue to do so each day, because I never want to return to where I was this past winter. Today I choose joy, hope, love and purpose above doubt, self-pity and shame.

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