Daunting Confessions that Almost Made Me Puke in Church

Today feels so surreal. I mean, who would have thought that today would be the day I stood up in front of my whole church and told them my biggest secrets?

This morning was normal, I got up, got dressed and had breakfast, tuned my guitar, and went to church early to practice for worship. Nothing out of the ordinary, practice was good. I talked to a couple people before the service, worship was good, everything was normal, I felt fine.

While I was sitting listening to the sermon I couldn’t stop thinking about the things I have conquered recently, and how fully surrendering myself to Christ radically changed who I am. Especially compared to who I was 4 months ago, or a few years ago. I’ve known for a while that I needed to declare these things publicly, God has been putting it on my heart for a few weeks, but he didn’t tell me that I had to do it today. Not until I was at church halfway through listening to the sermon.

He made it clear while I was listening, my brain was running full speed ahead. When? Where? How? Can I do this? How do I do this? Then it hit me that God wanted me to do it right then, at the service this morning. Right away my anxiety went through the roof, my heart was pounding, I felt like I was going to puke, and Pastor Dave wasn’t even half done his message. I just kept repeating to myself that I would, and if today was the day, so be it, but I couldn’t shake the anxiety. I finally realized that I was being attacked in the same way God was pressing the urgency of what He wanted me to do, I told the anxiety to leave and said to God that if he wanted me to go up, I would, He just had to make an opening for me. Well, He did, and I took it. I told Pastor Donna what I wanted to share and why and she was all for it, next thing I knew I was standing on stage telling all of my friends, and the people I love, my darkest secrets.

The fact that I have built up towering walls that I never let down, my fear of rejection and abandonment, and how I have lived in this box for so long. I told them I was depressed and had anxiety towards people, which had resulted in self-harm, starting years ago. I told them how in recent history I had been drinking a lot and smoking as well, I don’t remember exactly what I said but I know that whatever it was, it was exactly what God wanted me to say, and how he wanted me to say it. I prayed that specific prayer in the 30 seconds I had to prepare myself for this.

I told them all that I had let God go, I prioritized Him last so many times that I didn’t feel He was present anymore. How my mental state took a turn for the worse not long ago, and it made me realize that I can’t continue to live like this. I can’t continue to use these things to cover up the problem and to hide the pain. Living in the shadow of my choices, my addictions, and my past, is not an option anymore. How I realized that keeping these things in the dark would inevitably lead to even more destruction. I involuntarily voluntarily told my story, I left out most of my circumstances, I don’t know why. I guess God just wanted the real stuff; that is the most important part. Everyone struggles with different circumstances, but the repercussions of those circumstances, however different the circumstances may be, are so much more common than you’d think. I most definitely cannot take credit for my bravery, or my strength, because if it had have been all me I would have melted into a puddle on the stage. God gave me the strength because it’s what I needed to do, it was a big step and it was absolutely terrifying. Although, I don’t think it was just for me.

And now I’m telling you, unless you were there this morning and heard it live. I said it out loud, into a microphone, I can post it on my blog for others who would care to know. Even though I can’t look up from the view I have and see your face. I can’t see your response because you’re there and I’m here, not even writing this anymore. I know it will be alright. I owe it to myself to do what is best for me for once. If that means I put my heart on my sleeve and take a chance, I will do it, because God never intended for me to lock myself shut and throw away the key.

Who knows where I’ll go from here, it could be anywhere, but it won’t be back to where I was. I am excited for what comes next, and I am so relieved that this weight is finally off of me. I still have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do, but I feel like a completely new person. I have never felt a change this intense before. I know that God is back in my heart where He’s supposed to be. When I invited Him back in a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of coming so far, so fast. God has healed me mentally, emotionally, physically, and in ways I didn’t even know possible. He has placed me in an amazing church, with amazing friends and people I know I can count on. He has given me a sense of belonging and sanity that I have longed for as long as I can remember. I am not the same girl I was last year, and I mean that literally. It’s funny how God works those things out. 2014 is the first step in a long line of decisions and changes, it is the first step in feelings of worth and belonging, it is the first step in the right direction. I can’t wait!

Worth

There is so much emphasis put on our worth. More so that the way we look, and how our intelligence adds or takes away from that worth.

If someone is found to be attractive and intelligent, then they are seen to be worth more than someone who is considered unattractive and is a little bit slower intellectually. But that isn’t the truth.

Things like intelligence and beauty do play a role in our lives and in society. It’s inevitable that they help dictate where we go and how we get there, but it doesn’t change our worth. Our worth is from God, because He made us in His image. We are all equal and we all have equal worth for the simple fact that we are alive.

It doesn’t matter who we are, what we do, or what we look like, we are all worth the same. The world tries to tell us that we need to be pretty (or handsome), we need to be smart, we need to have many accomplishments in order to be worth something. That isn’t true. A person who spends their whole life doing nothing, who drops out of school, lives off of their parents, and spends all of their time mindlessly entertaining themselves, is worth the same as the most successful person in the world. I think we all know that somewhere inside, but I also think we really need to remember it, really remember it. We throw around the term “worthless”, using it on people who haven’t accomplished the same things that we have, or the same things that the people around them have. Using that term is just shooting down someones confidence or self-worth, the truth is they are worth the same as every other person on the planet, successful or not.

Solely because God loved them, He loves us, and He created us all to be who we are. Our worth was there right from the second we were thought of, and it doesn’t matter what we do, our worth doesn’t change for any reason. It doesn’t matter if we are accomplishing more or less, if we look better, if we’re healthier. We are worth the same as we were in the beginning, and the same as we will be in the end. We are worth dying for, because God made us, and He loves us that much.

Boo!

I’ve still been struggling with attacks, now that I’ve identified them it’s a lot easier to shut them down. I’ll be doing whatever and out of nowhere it comes up and screams, “BOO!” in my ear, and it’s still catching me by surprise every time. I sit there in shock for a second, and then in my mind I cross my arms and say no, but it still lingers and progressively get stronger. So in my mind I’m sitting there with a scowl on my face, arms crossed, thrashing around yelling, “No! No no no no no!” like a three year old having a temper tantrum. Finally it backs off a little, and when that three year old temper tantrum me still sits there and doesn’t budge, it goes away completely, a little strange? Yeah. But it works.

The Power of Prayer

At the end of the Youth and Young adults conference the speaker warned us that we would be attacked. I took that warning as not applying to me because as far as I was concerned at that point nothing spectacular had happened. I was wrong.

I got home and I felt like I was going to break, I laid in my bed remembering exactly how I felt when I was 14. The hatred for myself and the feeling of how pointless it was to try to do, or be, anything. I fought though, just little things like making myself get out of bed and going outside. I was determined not to go back, where I was then was a horrible place and I wanted the light to shine through me like I’d seen it shine through other people. I want to lead, not follow. I took out my bible and sat down and really read it, which I haven’t done in way too long. It helped slightly but it didn’t fix me, I didn’t expect it to though.

I thought that my depression was worsening but I couldn’t figure out why, I knew I had been slowly slipping but I had no idea why I went into a full fledged nose dive. I was just trying to be okay, I wasn’t trying to fix anything and I wasn’t desperately reaching out for God. I was just trying to be okay, and somehow trusting that God wouldn’t let me slip again.

Tuesday night  I was sitting in bed with my computer on my lap, I knew I had reached my breaking point. It was either going to be light or dark and I could not see how it could end up being light, it would take nothing short of God. I had tried to reach out for God but I couldn’t hear or feel Him so I was doing the only thing I knew how to do. I was trying to distract myself, my hands were shaking, my heart was pounding, and I was almost in tears because I knew I was done. Then, in the middle of watching a mediocre Youtube video I was overcome with this peacefulness. I felt it drape over me and sink through my skin down into my chest, and I got this minty feeling in my chest, similar to the feeling you get right after brushing your teeth. This was much stronger though. Every fear I had, and everything I was worried about was gone. I felt new and clean, I could barely believe what I had been thinking 30 seconds before.

You could say it was God showing me His mercy, which it was without a doubt, but I also have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that someone was praying for me at that instant at 6:30 or 7pm on Tuesday evening. And man, did He ever answer  that prayer.

Because I persevered in Christ even when I thought I was toast, I can now stand up and laugh in Satan’s face. He lost me again, and he will never, ever, be able to get me back.

Expectations

I went to a Youth and Young adults conference at my church last weekend, a group of students from Masters Commission, which is a college in Chilliwack, BC that I plan on going to, came and did the conference for us and it was really great! I met some really amazing people and it was really what I needed, although not what I expected. I expected some big firework display of God’s love for me and how the things I was thinking and feeling weren’t true, I also kind of expected having all this support come out of nowhere and hold me and pray for me, but that didn’t happen.

Instead, I walked in on Friday night feeling like taking off down the street, even after I had met up with some friends from church. I was standing there “worshiping”, which was more standing there singing the words, and all I could think was, “Really God? Is this it? You made me come to this?” So I stood there for worship, and sat through the sermon. Honestly I was feeling a little better, but I was disappointed.  I came in early on Saturday morning because I got a ride with  a lady who was hosting a few girls from the college at her house. Once I got there I stood there by the doors by myself, because being the social butterfly I am, that’s all I was comfortable doing. Fast forward 15 minutes and I ended up talking to one girl who was really friendly and somehow managed to shoot the lid of her coffee cup off which had us both laughing for longer than it should have, and I also somehow ended up at the reception table talking to 3 or 4 other girls from MC. Talking to people I don’t know is usually not my strong point, but I obviously did okay.

I’m going to skip a lot in here, because if I don’t this will end up being 3000 words long.

One of the girls I talked to a bit really stood out to me, I didn’t know what it was about her, but I wanted to meet her and get to know her better. I overheard a tiny little piece of her testimony while she was talking to someone before worship on Saturday,  but that was it. To my surprise her and another girl asked if they could sit with me during the service to which I happily replied yes! I felt like I was sitting with two friends that I’d had for a lot longer than 5 minutes, which was a weird concept for me. I don’t want to use names because I feel like that’s weird, so I’ll call them Kaitlyn and Melanie. I was talking to Melanie a little bit before the service and I cannot remember how we got on the subject, but something was mentioned that made me say that I would tell her some of my story if she wanted to hear it, which she did. We sat through the sermon together, and I’ll just say here, they were all amazing sermons!

After that ended we split up for lunch, I sat with a group of girls I had gotten to know a little bit and it was really nice. I went back inside a little bit earlier than everyone else and just sat and waited because I wasn’t sure what else to do. I talked a bit with a friend of mine, until Melanie came in without me noticing, pointed her water bottle at me and said, “Michealla! Just the girl I was looking for!” She didn’t know then, but I love stuff like that! She sat down with me and we started to talk, I told her some of my story, she told me some of hers. It was one of the easiest conversations I’ve ever had with anyone, and it was about stuff that I don’t like talking about to people I don’t know well. I knew that God was putting this together, so I went with it. Our conversations were broken up by other activities that were going on, and I was worried that once we stopped talking the first time, we wouldn’t start talking again, but she kept coming back, and we kept talking. The best part was that it wasn’t all about me. We went back and forth, and it felt completely natural. For those who don’t know me I am usually shy and keep mostly to myself with people I don’t know.

Getting to the point here. God worked in me quietly and gently, I didn’t even realize what was happening until it was over. Apart from a vision He gave me, nothing stood out as being special, the whole weekend was special on it’s own. I didn’t cry, I didn’t have any amazing adrenaline rush, but Saturday night I was up at the front dancing with Melanie and worshiping God, not “worshiping” like on Friday night. It may sound weird, but I have always wanted to be up at the front dancing and worshiping with a friend, without a care in the world, and I got that. Along with so many other things that I can’t list because I don’t know how to explain them.

God put her in my path, the other girls were wonderful too, but I felt like I had known Melanie for years. I still feel like that! I wish we had’ve had more time to spend together. Hopefully God has that in His plan somewhere.

I can only remember a few little parts of the sermons. At first it made me wonder if I had actually been paying attention while I was there, but I know I was. God just had a different message for me, and a different way of conveying that message. Melanie is an inspiration, having battled different things that are similar in some aspects, whenever I think of giving up I remember that Jesus healed her completely, and He wants that for me too. I want the joy she has, and I know where to find it. So thank you Melanie for restoring the knowledge that God reigns over absolutely everything in my life, and thank you God for letting me meet this wonderful girl.

And this is for you.

Don’t worry about your plans or how your day is going, give that worry and control up to God. He will work it in the way that is perfectly tailored to you. Nothing will be lacking. If you find yourself stressing over one detail, relax and remember that God knows exactly what He’s doing. He’s not only sort of, kind of sure, He knows everything about you. Even things you don’t know about yourself, and by giving up your control and the power you have, it gives Him the power to do what He needs to do when He needs to do it. I remind myself constantly that God is in control and everything will work out the way He wants it to, and it keeps me from getting agitated over little things, and over big things too.

 

What We Can Take

God only gives us what we can handle.

I mean, really think about it. This God who created the whole universe, who has everything, every single person, animal, plant, city, country, cloud, airplane, and  anemone  in His hands, also controls what happens in your life. He controls the amount of pain and suffering you go through, and the amount of happiness you feel in a day. At any moment, if He wanted to, He could stop intervening. He could let all of the terrible things that are in this world, that we know are there, come upon us, but He chooses not to. He loves us too much to let that happen.

It might feel like you’ have too much, like you’re suffocating under the weight of all the things in your life. Family, health, money, relationships, whatever it may be that you’re dealing with, but He’s not giving you too much. It may very well be as much as you can take, but it will never be more than that. God will let circumstances in to push your limits and to help you grow, but He will always be shining there too, and the more you seek Him the more He will shine.

The darkness is not forever.

Psalm 36:9

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

You Have to Move

Saying something is a lot different than doing something. You can say that you know what you need to do, and you can say you understand what needs to be done, but if you don’t make the change in your life you could be stuck feeling like nothing is working. In order to have a change happen in your heart you need to open your heart and make a conscious effort to change your heart. You can’t sit around and expect that things will get better, or that God will come to you to heal the broken parts. He doesn’t always come to fix you, sometimes you need to go ask Him to fix you.

We have been set free, but what does that mean when you feel like your wrapped up in chains and you can’t get them off no matter how hard you try? It means that you can approach God and he will take the chains off of you. We have to accept that we are not perfect, and the things we face inside of ourselves are not always a result of being attacked. You might need to let go, or just step up to the plate and take some responsibility for yourself, we need to be changed, we need fixing. That’s why Jesus came and died on the cross for us, He came so that we would be set free. He came so that we could live a life with Him, so that we could have a relationship with Him. So He could love us on a personal level.

God will fix you, God wants to fix you. He’s standing there arms stretched wide saying, “Come, my child, and let me make you new again. Let me put together all of the things that have fallen apart, let me love you.” If we don’t move how are we supposed to grow? We can’t spend our whole life living in a bubble and expect to see great things, or learn great lessons. You have to push, step out of your comfort zone, be scared, be embarrassed, be rejected. If you sit around and do nothing, nothing will happen. It’s pretty simple. But I think we all forget that sometimes.