Bright eyed, bushy tailed, second cup of coffee in hand, I thought it was about time to put my thoughts to paper (figuratively of course). The first couple weeks of senior year classes have come and gone and I’ll tell ya, I’ve been invested in anything but. Binge watching The Office, making coffee date after coffee date, and spending time with my sweet roommates have caught my attention. BUT I’m guessing I’ll remember those memories more than I’ll remember Darwin’s famous publishing, “On the Origin of Species” from December 1859 (Sorry Prof. O’Brien).
As every year always does, the hype of newness seems to ware and responsibility and anxiety set in. With that being said, this week has sucked.
I got back a grade on an exam that I wasn’t happy with and I feel like I have no desire to dedicate myself this semester. I’ve been debating if I’m actually going to pursue a seminary or not, which has led to a lot of headaches and a lot of ugly-crying breakdowns. I question friendships and relationships and I’ve been dealing with a lot of sin and shame that keeps finding it’s way back into my soul. I just felt really in the dark, and filled with Satan’s lies.
I think the worst part about this feeling in the pit of my vulnerability is that I know the answer to what makes it go away.. Or at least I think I do.
I know to be patient, that God is working in HIS time. I know that I can leave all of my sin and shame at the cross to truly feel set free. I know that healing comes from finding the root of the sin that is weighing me to this world and asking God to cleanse me from that darkness. I know that grace is found through vulnerability and honesty. And it seemed like the more I asked to be set free, the more I got into scripture, the more I suffered in my pain, the further I felt from salvation.
I thought the way to feel free was by living through the advice I have given someone who felt pretty broken in the past. By assuming that if I said the words in a prayer, or if I really thought hard enough about the words, that God would answer. If I got into the Bible enough, there would be a hidden message placed in the right spot at the right time. That I would finally let go of what was keeping me hostage.
Truthfully, I thought that this feeling would come and go and I could use it as a learning curve for someone else another time. But the truth is, while I’m writing this, I still feel super broken.
And the more I talk to people, the more realize that this is a super common thing. There have been so many times in the last couple weeks that I have cried out to God asking, “What are you doing? That is not the way I had planned. Why are you changing everything now? Why are you doing this to me?”. And the more I talk to my brothers and sisters in Christ the more I feel reassured in the truth that there is a lot that we don’t know about our father. That there is a lot about His plans that sometimes we just can’t see in advance. And y’all, that’s hard.
In Mark chapter 10, a blind man named Bartimaeus sat beside the road — as he normally did — when he heard a commotion. He soon discovered the large crowd of people following Jesus. And they were all headed his way.
Bartimaeus had no idea what was going to happen. Having no sight, he could have felt threatened and anxious, fearful the crowd might trample him. He could have been concerned he’d be unnoticed and overlooked, yet again. Instead, he focused on what he could see with his heart rather than what he was unable to see with his eyes.
Pause: A blind man, with realistic worries left entered into vulnerability so that he might have the honor of meeting a man named Jesus. A man who Bartimaeus had no proof of being the true king that may bring salvation, but relied solely on his faith.
He excitedly began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10:47b, NIV)
When the people yelled at him to be quiet, he refused and continued to shout, saying, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10: 48b)
His shouting pricked Jesus’ ears.
Jesus stood still, and asked someone to bring the blind man to him. The Bible says Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up and headed straight toward Jesus. (Mark 10:50)
It’s okay to struggle with being patient, or to catch yourself falling back into the same sin you’ve struggled with for a while. The thing is, we’re human. We fall into sin and shame over and over and over again. It’s not about having it all together, or knowing what’s coming next. It’s okay if you feel disconnected, lost, and broken. Faith is about choosing to follow Jesus rather than let our blindness keep us paralyzed in anxiousness and pessimism. Just like the blind man, when we choose to follow Jesus’ voice, to trust that He has a greater plan in store for our lives, our faith can be life-changing, helping us discover peace and a path we never would have known to be so good.
If you’re feeling like me, I pray that you and I can find faith like Bartimaeus. I pray that you feel reassured that you’re not alone in your brokenness, and I pray that we find peace and hope throughout our week to come. I pray for the strength to live by faith even when we cannot see what is ahead.
Matthew 6: “For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 “Pray then in this way: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not to temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.