Eighteen days ago, I had doubt about what I was doing. It came on the heels of writing about struggle, and an old friend’s comment gave me a moment’s pause. He said that he didn’t feel that he was at the end of his rope at all, and in fact, was very blessed and excited through the journey. And so, I had doubts about writing about all the struggle. Because the last thing I want to do is discourage someone, and so I questioned myself, “Am I doing the right thing?” But then I remembered… that was the whole point of the blog. I want to tell the truth about God & me, so that someone will know who needs to know, that it’s not all glory and light and beauty and roses and sunshine. There is struggle and hardship and darkness at times… but yes, there is light. After the darkness, comes the light.
See, I never wanted to write, and I certainly never wanted to be a blogger… much less a blogger about God! And yet this past February I felt compelled to. And what I see is that within 42 posts I have painted the picture of a Christian woman fighting the fight of faith. Only, the woman is me and the struggle has been very real. Through this blog, I have been honest about the struggles and questions I’ve encountered in my trek towards Him. Through this blog, I have examined my heart, and found some things inside that don’t belong there. And it’s through this blog that I believe God has brought me full circle. Or at least brought it to my attention that I’ve come full circle. I’m right back to where I started… just a few years later and in a new locale. And today, what I see most clearly is that perhaps I am the very one I’m writing for. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph… I think I’m that someone who needs to know. Because through the comment from a fellow blogger, I think my eyes have finally been opened in a way they never have been before. See, the light does come after the darkness.
You know, if you want to hear from God, He’ll speak to you. However, you must be alert as His voice may come through the mouths of those closest to you. And if you’re not really listening, you may miss what He has to say. This is what happened to me this past week. Basically, I heard the same thing from three different people… “stop focusing on what you’ve not done well, and think about what you’re doing right,” and “you’re too hard on yourself,” and “you beat yourself up.” After the third occasion, I faltered and asked my friend if that’s what was coming across through the blogs. I feared they sounded like complaint rather than exhortation. And so, I once again doubted that I was doing the right thing with my very public struggle. I brushed it off mid-week, but after reading a comment from a fellow blogger on Friday, the light came on. He said, “Pretty rough on yourself.” Wow, my eyes snapped open then. Fortunately, God used another soul to get my attention, because I didn’t hear Him loud enough through my loved ones. It was after reading that comment that I felt it in my heart, “It’s enough!” And God meant enough on so many levels.
You know, I have been beating myself up, struggling through this journey with God. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be as much of a struggle as it has been. Despite the fact that there will always be obstacles and trials, the struggle I’ve had does not have to be a part of the fight. Because I’ve been fighting myself. See, I want to please God. I really do. I want to find Him… I want to be near Him… I want to hear from Him… I want to talk to Him… and I want to love Him. But I just don’t think some of what I do is good enough. I compare myself to the modern day greats (Francis Chan, Beth Moore, Billy Graham, Chuck Swindoll – and the list goes on and on and on), and I feel that I fall pitifully short. And so through works and trying to keep up with others, it seems as though I’ve been trying to save myself. But that battle was won long ago. And you know what else… God knows my heart. He knows that my striving has been in an effort to reach Him. He knows I’ve been seeking Him and drawing near to Him the best way I know how to. But what I’ve just realized this past week is, if the last thing I ever do again… for God… is to seek Him wholeheartedly through His Son Jesus Christ, then it will be enough. It’s enough.
There’s a lot we can do for God’s kingdom… especially if we belong to a church. There are numerous activities, a myriad of studies and fellowships and outings… and there are times we beat ourselves up thinking that we need to do them all. We feel like we have to be there every single time the door opens for every single thing… we feel we have to volunteer for every activity and donate to every cause. But if we feel we have to, then that may be guilt talking. That may be a works-based mentality creeping in on us. Because if we do something because we think we have to, then we’ve missed the big picture. Without that one essential piece, then every single thing we do for God will never be enough.
Do you know what that essential piece is? Do you know what God really wants from us? He wants a real relationship with us through His Son, Jesus Christ. He simply wants our hearts…
“So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.” Joel 2:13
The one thing we can do to please God is give Him our heart… a heart full of belief that God is who He says He is, and that Jesus is who God says He is. Believe in our hearts that God in fact sacrificed His own Son for our sins, and that He raised Him from the dead. Believe that what Jesus did for us is enough. He accomplished what we could never do. All our works will never, ever be enough for God. But Jesus… He’s enough.
Yes, God gave me a word this past week. Oh so patiently, He said, “That’s enough, Pam.” Yes, it’s been a struggle, but it does not have to be. And it’s time to depart from the valley in which I’ve been dwelling, because I’ve spent enough time there. God says enough. See, He knows all about my striving and my works. But He also knows my heart. And that’s just it… He knows me because my heart belongs to Him, because through His grace He saved me. At the very least, I have been washed by the blood. And God says, “It’s enough.”
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9