Early Morning

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” ~Lamentations 3:22, 23

One of my favorite things in life are sunrises. The simplicity intrigues me. The predictability fascinates me, and the beauty mesmerizes me. On the very rare occasion that I am up when the sun makes its debut for the day, I like to sit on the windowsill-coffee in hand-and watch everything around me “wake up”.

I love the predictability of the sun. It rises every morning, and it sets every night… no exception. It’s dependable, reliable, and a much needed constant in this crazy, crazy world. Right now in life, I need predictability. I need stability. I need the sun’s reminder every morning and every night. I need to know that there is something in life that won’t get up and leave.

In those moments of panic when circumstances or relationships don’t work out the way I expect them to, it’s hard to remember that God’s in control. When I feel abandoned and alone in life, I forget about His faithfulness. I forget His never-ending love and compassion. I forget that His mercies are new EVERY morning. When I make mistake after mistake and end up in mess after mess, I forget that there is a thing called forgiveness. When I fail to see past the havoc I’ve wreaked, I forget about that little thing called mercy .

But just because I forget it doesn’t mean He’s not there. My inability to move past my failings does not mean that God holds it against me forever. My own view of myself is nothing like the view God holds of me… if only I would remember that.

So it’s in those moments-right before the sun is about to peak across the skyline- that I am reminded of His presence, His faithfulness, and His mercy.

And that’s something I can count on every morning. No matter what.

A Year in Review

1 year, 25 days.

That’s how long I have been in Colorado.

For a girl born and raised in Texas, that’s a really weird thing to say. As much as I dreamed of leaving Texas for someplace, well, prettier, I never thought I would ever have the guts to do it. And yet… here I am. Living in the land of snow, driving like an obvious Texan on said snow, and loving every part of this gorgeous state. For someone who swore I would never live anywhere even slightly chilly, I think I’m doing pretty good.

But that’s really not my point of this post.

The coolest thing, in my opinion, about being here in Colorado is that it was totally unplanned (at least from where I was standing). In a matter of three months, I decided to pack up and leave the somewhat perfect life I had always known for a somewhat uncertain purpose. At the time I thought my purpose was to go into ministry. Moving out here with a small group to start a church, you could see how I would think that. I pictured myself working in an office and, somehow, helping people see their value and significance while shuffling through paperwork.

I really didn’t expect that I would be the one needing the help.

At first, everything was great. I was confident that God had a purpose for me. I was secure in my living and working situations, and I knew that God would take care of everything. My newly found confidence in who God created me to be still kept the lies at bay, and life- as I knew it- was great.

Something changed, though. I couldn’t tell you how; I couldn’t tell you when. Something, however, changed the way I started to see life and myself. The lies that I had worked so hard to challenge came rushing back in a moment of uncertainty. The freedom that had defined my life slowly faded into the background as I willingly picked up the chains I knew so well. Life became all about hiding the truth. Shame and discouragement set in, and I wondered if God would ever forgive me for deserting Him.

Sure, everything looked great from the outside, but I couldn’t stand myself on the inside. I had always valued my authenticity with people, and the mask I wore disgusted me. What I saw in my own self turned me off from Christians and the church in general, and I cringed every time I played the role, so perfect on the outside yet hating it on the inside.

So I did what I knew I had to do- I stopped. The activities that defined “Alexis the Christian” came to a halt. Every purpose  I thought I had demolished with my commitments, and I realized that I had missed the picture entirely. My purpose was never meant to be wrapped up in names, titles, and to-do lists. I was never meant to subject myself to the comments and opinions of others, and I was certainly not meant to return to the bondage of people-pleasing.

My purpose was to simply rest in who I am: a child of God.

Truthfully, I don’t know what it means to rest in that identity. There are still moments I let people and jobs define me, but-as I constantly have to remind myself- I’m further than I ever have been in the past. I may not have arrived, but I’m still walking forward. My life is nowhere near perfect, but I’m learning. I’m learning to tune out the voices that tell me who to be and resting instead in who I am and who God is.

Because really, in the end, what matters more?

Storm Clouds

Life is iffy sometimes.

One minute the ground underfoot seems stable and secure, and the next minute the concrete shifts to sand and everything is uncertain again. The storms come, and the storms go. The sun shines, and the clouds move in. The good is good, and the bad is bad.

And the only thing you can count on is that there will be a little bit of both in this life.

I’m in a stormy season right now. Mr. Down Below is working overtime to throw me overboard, and I’ve got to admit- he almost succeeded. He had me right where he wanted me: trapped between the planks of insecurity. The waves threatening to throw me over seem almost miniscule in comparison to the constant thundering in my head.

Lightning strikes… so many lies masked in the glory of the light.

Want to know what I’ve learned about lies recently? They are often masked in truth. The lies that really eat away at our cores are not the blatantly obvious ones. No, they are the subtle, could-be lies. The ones that say, “You’re not good enough” when you don’t measure up to the standards. The ones that scream, “It’s all your fault” when you only held one piece of the puzzle. The ones that whisper you are beyond forgiveness when you’ve messed up big time. The ones that come from good, well-meaning people.

Those are the dangerous lies. Those are the lies that destroy every secure surface we stand upon. Those are the lies that seep into our core and-if we believe them long enough- determine the type of person we become.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to become the person these lies tell me I am. I want to be the person God tells me I am. I want to believe in my heart that what God says is true- period. I want to be stable in the storm.

No matter how hard the winds blow.

Flipping Through Viewbooks

I planned out my future when I was an eight year old.

As I sat in my great-grandparents house that summer, I decided that I would do everything in my power to be happy and successful. Passing by the pictures on the wall of valedictorians and salutatorians, I decided that being the best in high school would be the first step to my plans of eternal happiness. My checklist only developed from there.

For years the plan was to graduate valedictorian, attend Harvard or Yale, become an oncologist, marry a McDreamy replica, and live happily ever after saving children from the mean cancer disease and proving my worth to everyone around me.

Even after I realized my strong contempt for anything science, I still clung to the dream. After all, what was more important than being a doctor? What else would give me the sense of value and worth I needed in my life? If I gave up my plans, everyone would see that I was a failure. And I did not want that. At all.

Chemistry class finally broke me. It chipped away the doctor-to-be in me, and my plans shifted. Suddenly my future was not so in tact. I had no idea what was going to become of my life, and that freaked me out.

So I began to plan.

English replaced the pre-med major in my mind, and visions of published books overtook my visions of stark white hospital hallways. Harvard and Yale were still my dream schools, but I let reality sink in a little. I settled on the best schools in Texas, completely ignoring the outrageous price tags for an elite education.

My plans were different, but they were still plans. Plans that would lead me into the arms of the American Dream. Plans that whispered value into my life. Plans that told me I was somebody important.

My value as a person was dependent on the way I measured up to the plans I had for my life, so when things did not turn out as I imagined, I felt like the world’s biggest failure. Shame took up residence where confidence would have sat, and my head hung low around the people I longed to impress. I didn’t know how to deal with the destruction, so I just didn’t deal with it. Bitterness overtook things, and my views of God were drastically altered. I just did not understand how He could stand back and watch as my life fell apart. He knew my plans, yet He did not run interference. I did not understand why He stood back and let it all fall apart, but I did understand one thing: I would never make plans again. It was too dangerous. There was too much possibility of getting hurt.

It took God moving me clear across the country (disrupting my plans AGAIN) for me to realize that God does not hate me and my plans. He just has so much better ones. If my life had turned out like I envisioned, I would have no need for God. It’s the uncertainty that brings me to my knees. It’s the realization of my lack of control that directs me to Him. It’s my desperate need for someone to see me that makes me run to His arms again and again. He’s my sense of worth. He’s the one who sees my value. He’s the one who died for me, and He’s the one who lives for me.

Even if I’m not out there saving the world in my white coat and diploma-covered wall.

Life is Messy.

I am sitting here in my pj’s at 9 AM…and I am a little overwhelmed by life at the moment.

It’s not that I don’t love my life (I do), it’s just that sometimes life can get a little messy. Sometimes the rain falls a little too hard and causes minor flooding. Sometimes the dirt sticks where it’s not supposed to go. Sometimes the wind wrecks what had once been perfectly upright and secure. Sometimes perfection gets traded in for reality, and you just have to live with it.

I am not really good at just living.

Getting by? Yes. Going through the motions? Pro. Ignoring the trouble long enough to make it through the day? Perfect. But actually living? Not so much… because actually living means I have to look at the mess long enough to accept it. Living means being aware of the troubles in life and finding a way to deal with them in a healthy way. Living means not letting the mess pile up until it becomes too overwhelming to even look at anymore.

Not living looks a lot like the state of my car at the moment.

Now, before I go into this story, let me preface you with the fact that I am a clean person. Really, I am. You just can’t tell that by the state of my car.

To put it simply- my car is an absolute mess. I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been washed since August. I’m also pretty sure it hasn’t been vacuumed out since before then. There is trash under the seats, and crumbs have taken up residence in every nook and cranny. There are stacks of papers that have been shuffled from the front seat to the back, Starbucks cups that really need to go in the trash, and questionable objects that I am really not sure how they ended up there.

So really- it is one HUGE mess… therefore, I don’t really let people ride in my car. Not that I would straight-up say no to them; I just never offer. No need to gross them out with my mess that gets ignored 99.9% of the time. Right?

Which brings me to the main problem: I forget that the mess is there. I honestly don’t think about the piles until someone steps near my car… and then the defenses go up. Alexis pretty much goes into freak out mode at this point. Suddenly the invisible mess becomes very real (and very big), and I do everything I can to prevent anyone from seeing the black hole that is my car.

It’s really not unlike my life.

It’s easy to ignore the mess in my own life until somebody else comes along and gets a glimpse of it. Then I spend insane amounts of time trying to hide it instead of trying to clean it up. Only hiding it pushes it under my radar once again, and when the threat is gone, I go back to simply getting by with my life.

It’s a ridiculous cycle.

Last night I was thinking about my tendency of pushing things under the rug and realized something new: hiding the mess doesn’t make it go away; it only makes it more likely to grow into an even bigger pile. It incubates it.

Want to know one of the reasons I absolutely love the man Jesus was (and is)? He was never afraid of the mess, and He was never tricked into believing that the mess was never there. He always called out the mess- always. The difference between Him and some, though, was His tendency to get down in the mess with someone and pull them out.

Jesus isn’t afraid of the mess, and that is something I am continually having to learn. Just because I don’t tell Him about the mess doesn’t mean He doesn’t know about it. It doesn’t mean that He’s not sitting in it beside me. It just means that I am ignoring His presence in pretty much the most rotten place of my life.

That’s why I love Jesus… because even when I try my hardest to ignore Him, He always stays by my side.

Even when life gets just a little bit messy.

Sometimes It Has to Break

If you asked me a year ago where I would be today, I would never in a million years have told you Colorado. And I would definitely not have told you that I would be part of a team helping to start a church.

If I told you that, you would have laughed because the idea was so ridiculous.

In fact, it is still so ridiculous that I bet God is getting a good laugh out of it.

Here’s the truth: When I first heard about The Pursuit Church, I was excited about all God was getting ready to do in Colorado. I imagined atheists coming to know the truth and drug addicts being set free from their addictions. I imagined total transformation of a city and sold-out devotion to God.

Oh yes, I expected God to work in the city. I did not, however, expect Him to work in me.

I joined this adventure blatantly unaware of the massive earthquake God was going to release on the grounds of my life. I came with the idea that ministry was me doing my best for God and serving the people around me; however, God showed me (fairly quickly) that ministry is letting God break you down to the point where you can actually be used. True ministry is letting go of all church formulas and letting God lead and guide your life in order for HIM to impact the people around you.

If I had known what real ministry is, I probably would not have listened to God telling me to go.

My “yes” to His “go” has resulted in the destruction of every crutch in my life. The crutch of my eating disorder was destroyed the moment I realized that my life was tied more to my addiction than to God. My family remained thousands of miles away and could no longer be the all-encompassing support I needed. My paycheck, lifestyle, and perfectly decorated bedroom did not follow me on the move, resulting in the loss of yet another crutch.

It wasn’t until I broke down crying three days in a row that I realized I am not good at being crutch-less.

Not. At. All.

Yet crutch-less is exactly where God wants me to be.

It’s only when I am stripped down to nothing that God can work in- and thru- my life. It’s only when I am completely and utterly dependent upon Him that He can use me (in spite of my many weaknesses). I don’t have to be perfect to be used by God; I just have to be broken. I take comfort though because I know that He will use this stormy season in my life to put the pieces back together again.

And this time, the end result will look much more beautiful than the beginning piece.

Blinders

Five months ago I packed up life as I knew it and moved across the country in pursuit of the work God was doing in my life. Confident of the victory I had sustained, I gave my eating disorder no second thought.

“I’m free,” I told myself. “There’s no need to worry about that anymore.” So I made the journey unprepared, unarmed, and blind to the trials about to come my way. The moment I convinced myself that I was invincible was the moment I positioned myself back into the prison of my own creation.

Finding myself with way too much time and too many emotions, I fell back into the familiar patterns of bulimia. The adventure I had so passionately followed God on suddenly became a nightmare of my own creation. Addiction became real in my life once again, and I could not figure out how to break the cycle that made its daily rounds. Everyday I promised myself that I would not give in, and everyday I found myself breaking that promise. It was a vicious and disappointing cycle for someone who had already “found freedom”.

During this time, I gave up on God. I was angry that He would let me fall back. I was disappointed that He hadn’t warned me of the temptation to come. I had no desire left for Him, and I didn’t believe in His freedom. If He truly freed me, I often asked myself, then why was I struggling again? Either God was not who He said He was, or I was the problem that started the sinking ship.

I couldn’t bear to think I was the one to blame, so I blamed God.

It was quite ironic really- this place I found myself.  I was working for a church and telling people about God, yet my own faith was in shambles.  I was so desperate to keep silent about my struggles that I lived in constant terror that someone would find out. Fear latched onto everything I did, and I hid behind the cloak of aloofness instead of living authentically. I felt like a lie because I was living a lie. I felt like a failure because I was missing the standards I had set in my own life. I felt defeated because I had let the sin in my life walk through my front door and take me captive.

In a word, I felt hopeless.

It’s an odd place to be, this state of hopelessness. It’s a state bordering on the brink of despair and denial. Despair of what I’ve made of my life, and denial that life will ever get better. It’s a state that literally leaves you without hope, hence the name. It’s a state shunned by common day Christianity, for the Bible says that Christ is our hope and if Christ isn’t your hope, then you do not know Christ.

I was in despair over my loss of hope not just because my life felt so out-of-control, but also because I felt as if my identity in Christ had been a lie. “If I can get to this point of hopelessness,” I would ask myself. “Then was I even a Christian in the first place?”

This question pestered my thoughts day-in and day-out. It tormented me. Christ had been my everything before utter chaos moved back into my life. How could THAT have been a lie?

It took a call from one of my friends to open my eyes to the reality of my own life. This particular friend is what one would call “guy crazy”. As in, I can never keep track of her crushes because they change according to mood, location, and day of the week. She started talking about a guy who was perfect for her; he had everything she’s been looking for except one thing: he already had a girlfriend. She sighed in defeat, admitting that nothing would ever happen. That’s the last I heard from her.

Then, a week later, she called me again. “I’ve done something stupid”, she told me as soon as I picked up the phone. I knew what she was about to say, but I continued listening anyway. She proceeded to tell me how this guy (who still has a girlfriend) told her she was unlike any girl he had ever known. He said he could talk to her in a way he couldn’t talk to anyone else. He promised to break up with his girlfriend when the time was right.

So she slept with him… and called me crying when she hadn’t heard from him for a week.

As I hung up the phone, I wondered how someone so smart could be so blind when it came to guys. She didn’t see that by still being with his girlfriend, he wasn’t expressing the truth. She didn’t see how double-sided he was; all she saw was what she wanted to see.

My talk with my friend made me think about my own life. How many times do I put on the blinders in my own life? How many times do I see a situation for what it is, but instead of turning away and dealing with reality, I put on the blinders to block out what I do not wish to see?

What I found was this: I like to live with the blinds pulled down. When I moved to Fort Collins, I put on the blinders. Instead of acknowledging the temptations and dealing with them, I pretended they weren’t there. Instead of facing the mess I had made, I pretended that everything was fine. Instead of trusting that God was still there, I put on the blinders and missed every appearance He made in my life. I was blind to the person I had become and the life I was living.

It took me taking off those blinders to finally find my way back to freedom. I had to roll up the shades in order to see that God was still active in my life. When the blinders came off, the hopelessness subsided. The sun was allowed to shine once again.

What area in your life do you seem to pull the blinders over most often? If you are anything like me, you pull them down over many areas. I challenge you to pull those shades up one by one and look at life as it really is. You will find more often than not that it’s not the situation that is hopeless, but the perception in which you’ve been looking at it.

And when you can look at a situation for what it really is, you can start to move forward in a positive direction.

Hope

*If you are visiting from my devotion at She Seeks, welcome! If you are a regular blog reader, you may want to visit http://www.sheseeks.org/findtruth to get the whole story first!

I never planned on being admitted to a psychiatric ward… and I never imagined that I would sit facing those white halls on more than one occasion.

Funny how life works- isn’t it?

Depression and addiction will do that to you. They lead you down paths you never meant to take, and steer you through doors you never meant to walk through. The lines that you had firmly vowed to never cross become blurry, and the once forbidden path looks like just another road.

And because it is just another road, you begin the journey down it… only to end up at a destination far from the one you intended.

Like I said, I never planned on going from psych ward to psych ward; nevertheless, there is a part of me that is thankful I did. There’s something about being in the midst of people so broken down that refreshes the perfectionist in me.

You see, in the psych ward, in rehab, in support groups- you don’t have to pretend. You don’t have to act like you have it all together because if you did, you wouldn’t be sitting in that chair. You don’t have to wear the mask because (for once in your life) you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that everyone else in that room has problems too. You don’t have to be ashamed of your issues because you know that the woman in the corner talking to the dead shrub has already surpassed yours by galaxies.

As odd as it sounds, it’s one of the most normal places on earth because it’s the one place people don’t pretend.

My friend was not crazy; she was hurting. She was hurting so much on the inside that she purposely created pain on the outside. She desperately wanted to know that someone saw her, and for that one short week, I was the one who looked her way. Even in the midst of my own pain, I knew that all she wanted, all she needed, was to be noticed.

We were so alike. We both were so consumed by the cloak of invisibility that death seemed the only solution.

We were both so deceived.

Sometimes I wonder about my friend. I wonder if she is still alive, or if she finally gave in to the constant hammering of suicide. I wonder if she ever learned that Jesus sees her, just as He saw me. I wonder if she ever discovered the hope that dispels the darkness.

I pray that she did, but the reality of depression and suicide haunt me like shadows in my dreams. Statistics are high. So many young people are choosing to throw away their lives because the pain of dealing with life is just too great. So many young people feel so invisible that death seems like the only option. So many young people take their own lives everyday or live under the grasp of depression because they never experience the reality of a God who loves them.

If they truly knew that God, in all His might and authority, saw them, in all their humanness and muck, things might be different. Hope might be taken hold of, and lives might be changed. If they truly understood that Jesus died to give them life and Christianity is not just another dead religion, they might have a chance. They might put down the pills, throw away the destruction, and finally learn what it means to live.

That’s what keeps me going: Knowing that God loved me enough to die for me and saw me in the midst of my struggle. That’s what keeps me sharing my story, hoping that someone will finally “get it” and embrace the hope God offers.

That’s what this week is all about: hope. Hope in a new purpose. Hope in a new life. Hope in the One who came to die for us who had no hope to live for. Without Jesus, I would be just another statistic. Because of Jesus, I am here today telling you that there is hope in this life.

You were never invisible to the eyes of God. In fact, He considered you precious enough to not only see you through your pain, but He also sent His sinless Son to die for it too.

Now that’s something to live for.

Let’s Be Honest…

This is my “pre-conference” blog. You know, the one where I am supposed to write and tell you that I am totally confident that God is going to use my words for His glory. That I am not the least bit nervous to stand up and speak in front of a room full of girls and moms. That I am not ashamed of where I’ve been and have no problem with the fact that people now know.

Yeah-  if you’re looking for that blog, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Right now, I am just praying that I speak in coherent sentences. That is, when I’m not thinking about the fact that everyone now knows I had an eating disorder. If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind, it’s printed in small black letters in the Breakout Topic section.

Eating Disorders… Alexis Sommer

As I stood in the auditorium tonight, I realized just how uncomfortable I am with people knowing my past. Odd, right? I mean, I write a blog about eating disorders. I intern with an eating disorder organization. I’m pretty open with sharing my testimony. But standing in front of someone knowing that they know your past?

Unsettling… because they can just slap a label on you and walk away.

It’s the label that bothers me; I hate being labeled. I can’t stand the look someone gives you when they assume they have you all figured out. I can’t stand the box that the word “eating disorder” puts me in.

Why?

Because that’s not my life now. I’m not who I was. I have come so far and, although I still have so far to go, my eating disorder no longer defines me. I love the freedom of that, and when I see the label try to creep back into my life, I panic.

As in “I wonder if anyone will notice if I don’t show up” kind of panic.

{Yes- I am known for my rational thinking}

Then it hit me: God loves overcoming labels. I mean, look at Moses. When God called him to go speak to Pharaoh, Moses complained about his inexperience in public speaking. Instead of walking up to Pharaoh’s throne, he slapped the “I’m a Horrible Speaker” label onto his schnazzy new coat. He did not expect to be used by God, and I bet the people around him did not expect it either. I mean, he was clearly labeled inadequate for the job.

God though… He has a thing for labels.

Apparently He takes great delight in stumping the onlookers. He likes to color outside the lines, think outside the box, and leave the name tag blank, free of any restrictions.

So yes, I once had the word “Eating Disorder” scrawled across my forehead for the world to see. Some people still see it when they look at me. Some people still judge me for wearing that label. Some people will never forget.

That doesn’t bother me tonight, though. For tonight I can rest in the truth that I am no longer defined by the two words that once tried to destroy my life.

Tonight I am defined by the One who saved it.

Where’s God When I Doubt?

I have a friend named Thomas, and we have everything in common.

Except for the fact that he’s a guy, centuries old, and- oh yeah- dead.

Other than that, we’re practically twins… doubting twins, that is.

Thomas doubted Jesus’s appearance after the crucifixion. Jesus was, after all, dead. Dead men don’t rise and walk. Dead men don’t talk. And dead men definitely don’t walk through locked doors.

And yet, there stood Jesus in all His heavenly-resurrected glory.

Thomas still didn’t buy it. He asked for proof. As in scarred hands and peephole sides.

Jesus obliged, but not without the admonition to “stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27).

And believe Thomas did… right after he touched the proof for himself. As he touched the days old scarring on Jesus’s hands, he remembered the cross. He remembered the gruesome crucifixion and the horrifying death of his Lord. As his hand slipped into Jesus’s pierced side, his doubt gave way to the tidal wave of belief.

Jesus was who He said He was.

My life has been riddled with Thomas’s influence. I doubt God at every major intersection. In high school I doubted His existence. I doubted His love, His sovereignty, His wisdom, His judgement… I even doubted His character. I didn’t believe what the Bible said, what my family said, or even what my gut said. I rebelled against all promising words with the self-assuring voice of doubt.

Doubt, after all, wouldn’t let me down. Doubt would never leave me disappointed, forsaken, or forgotten. Faith, on the other hand, had the potential to wreak havoc on my life. When crisis came, it was easier to doubt than have faith. Why risk hope only to be disappointed? Why believe in God when everything around you seems to disprove His existence? Why believe in His love when no one around will love you? Why believe in a God who seems to be so distant, so demanding, and so imaginary?

These are the questions doubt raises in defense against faith. It attacks the very person of God. Doubt isn’t just disbelief over a couple hundred miracle fishes; doubt is the fear that God is not who He says He is.

When you don’t believe God is who He says He is, the foundation of your world crumbles. Your thoughts, once so rational, are now described as being of the irrational variety. Your emotions, once so stable, now fluctuate like the stormy seas in the middle of a hurricane. You complain about life. You burrow within yourself… and you lash out against everything God says He is.

After all, you ask, what good is it to believe God when nothing seems to be going according to His word? What if His so-called promises took a detour? What if I’ve been waiting for the proof for years? Why should I hope, why should I trust, why should I believe… and then be disappointed in the end?

All good questions that I’ve asked myself time and time again (remember- I’m a doubter).

I can’t answer for God. Only He can tell you why your “hopes” seem to always come crashing down to a Wiley Coyote boom. Only He can assure you of His presence in that dark night. Only He can arm-wrestle your doubts and show you why faith always wins. Only He can convince you of who He is.

When I moved out here to Colorado, I expected big things. I expected God to feel nearer than ever because I was walking in His will. I expected Him to move the mountain of employment for me and to blow my socks off with a super fantabulous job. I expected a lot of things and ended up with the few things not included on my list of expectations.

To put it mildly, I started doubting. Big time.

If God won’t even do the small things like find me a job I actually like, then why should I trust Him for the big things? Why should I trust that He loves me? Why should I trust that He will protect me? Why should I trust in His plan when my plan seems so much better?

And so the doubts began.

They drilled deep, and each vibration of the drill refocused my attention on my God-sized disappointment. The drill chipped away at His character until all I saw was another fallen man trying to make promises He couldn’t keep.

I couldn’t handle it.

I couldn’t handle the doubts raised in my mind, so instead of voicing them, I stuffed them. I pretended that they weren’t there. I dressed them up in the dress clothes of faith and walked through each day, consciously aware of the swish-swish of the fabric hiding my pain.

It wasn’t until recently that I figured out my problem. God was not the issue; I was. Somewhere along the way I confused “who God says He is” with “who I say God is”. Somewhere along the journey from faith to doubt, I lost sight of the truth: God doesn’t play by my rules.

He sees things I don’t even see. When I complain that He’s “breaking His promises once again”, He sees the promise-fulfilled- over the horizon. When I worry that He’s abandoned me forever, He positions His love in the silence of the dark. When I lash out because of my circumstances, He stands strong because He knows the plans. He’s not a genie-in-a-bottle god; He’s God.

He can handle my anger. He can handle my disappointment. He can handle my frustrations. He can handle my doubt.

In fact, sometimes I think He cherishes my moments of complete insanity because it’s in those moments that He can lift up my hands and let me touch His side for myself.

In those moments, I know God is who He says He is. It doesn’t matter what doubt whispers in my ear; I know beyond it’s shadow that He’s got me in His hands, waiting to catch me once again.