We had this saying in Cross Country, “when running, don’t look at the rocks… you will step on them. If you step on them, they could trip you up or injure you. Instead, focus on the solid even ground, and that is the place where your foot will step.”
I spent a year fighting all of the “problems” that were circling around me. I had family members who were still unsaved. I had bills coming up that needed to be paid. My car broke down 5 times in 6 months. I dealt with bouts of sadness and deep loneliness. I knew that there were several areas I still had to grow in: I gave in way too easily to my emotions; I let my circumstances dictate my faith; I let fear creep up and take dominion in too many places of my mind. All of these things I was still working to overcome. I was tired of riding the highs and lows of my emotions. I most definitely did not feel okay.
But I started seeking God like never before. I started spending time in His presence, in His Word, in His love more than ever before. And each day, I got stronger. I started speaking His word into my life, not just reading it. I start believing in His best for me, not just hoping for it. After all, faith is what builds hope (Hebrews 11). To have hope without belief is to have false hope.
I grew stronger. Just like the words I spoke to myself every day. I became wiser, I became bolder, I became braver. Every day I worked on these things more and more. I wasn’t perfect at them; I still am not perfect at them. As I began working on my emotions, I realized they were a good thing. But I decided that I was no longer going to submit to my emotions, but they were going to submit to me. I learned that highs don’t mean that everything is going to magically change, and that lows don’t mean that darkness will reign. I was learning to discipline myself to a steadiness and a consistency that wasn’t based on my emotions but based on the unwavering truth of the character of God.
There was a series of three days. Three days that weren’t overly great, but they weren’t terribly bad. Three days where there were definite highlights, but there were also moments where I fought to keep a good attitude. I came out winning on those battles. These three days were also three of the busiest days of the entire month: squeezing in homework, tests, papers, my internship, The Gathering meetings (church young adults group), working as a waitress, and helping my church get ready for John Bevere who was coming to speak. By the end of that Tuesday night, it was safe to say I was completely zonked. I was so tired, but tired didn’t mean unhappy, it just meant tired. It meant that I had put everything I had into three good days and I was ready for a long nap. In fact, my soul was in a pretty good place.
Then a friend came to me, she hadn’t really seen me for a while, just in moments like this – when I was exhausted.
She said, “Hey Jessica, so some of us are worried about you…”
I asked, “Worried about me how?”
“Well everytime I see you… it just seems … well like the light has gone out of your eyes…”
“Hmmm,” I said, “That’s funny. A lot of people lately have been telling me how much light they see in my eyes.”
“Ohhh!” She said, “I didn’t know, I’m sorry.”
I went on to explain to her that God has me in a very intimate season with Him. This is a time and season where I am growing closer and closer in my walk with the Lord. Everyone may not see me a lot, but that is my choice. Because at the end of the day, when I have completed all the wonderful and privileged priorities that God has given me to do, I don’t want to be so busy doing ministry that I forget the One who ministered to me first. At the end of the day, my relationship and intimacy with God is the most important thing. So if that means in this season saying “no” to my friends so that I can say “yes” to Him, then I will.
Here’s my point: The people in your life will see that you are different as a result of the change that God is doing in you, but they don’t understand it because they don’t see you every day. Not everybody sees you, not everybody knows you. Not everybody, no matter how close they claim to be to you, understand the walk and journey you are on with Jesus. They may see you at eleven o’clock at night exhausted from the past three days, but they didn’t see you get up at 6am that morning to get in the Word. They may see you cry from a good word in a Sunday service, but they don’t see you on your knees in your prayer closet.
The great thing is, I had another friend standing nearby that God has given me in this season who knows the journey I have been walking through. This friend has been with me day in and day out every day. When I walked away from that situation, she could tell I was a little thrown and kind of upset. I was tired, and I was trying to work through the conversation that just took place. I told her I was sorry for being weird, she said, “You’re okay.”
We got in the car and started to drive away. All of sudden, my car would not accelerate. In my head the first thing I thought was, My car breaking down is really not what I need right now, but this has happened so many times… makes sense. However, out of my mouth came “Praise the Lord.” It was a reaction I had turned into a habit from the 5 previous times.
I reached down to put my car in park. However, when I looked down I realized the car was in neutral. I started laughing so hard and threw the car in drive. Then I pulled over. I started laughing and laughing. Then I started crying and crying. Then I went back to laughing. I realized that the enemy always wants me to think that there is a problem… even where there isn’t one. Whether it was my car actually in neutral and not breaking down, or a friend in life who hasn’t seen how much I have been growing in Christ, the message from God was clear that day:
That was the best news that I could receive in that moment. It meant that I am growing, that I am getting stronger, I am learning. And even on days when I fail, I can let those failures become fertilizer to my roots so that I can grow even more (see Steven Furtick’s message “How To Deal With Disappointment”).
Back to the rocks and running: Every day I get up, and I choose to see the even ground. I choose to see the good and the growth. Even when I see areas in which I can grow, I choose to see how I have already grown. I have taken my eyes off the rocks that can trip me up. I have taken my eyes off the problems that seem to be in my way. When I do this, I find a very important truth that the enemy never wanted me to find out,
P.S. Later that night I went home and looked at my eyes in the mirror, I saw that light brighter than ever before. To those eyes I said, “There You are Jesus, I know that You are always there.” The Lord said back to me, “If others can’t see the light in your eyes, it’s only because of the film that covers theirs’.” A few days later He went on to say, “But forgive those who can not see the light and pray that they find the same light within themselves.”
I am from Fort Collins, Colorado. I currently live in Rochester, Michigan.
I am an intern and student with Missions.Me.
I am studying Psychology with an emphasis in Counseling online at Southeastern University.
My future goals include obtaining my masters in most likely Counseling, encouraging and edifying women and believers all around the world, doing missions for the rest of my life, raising a world changing family that impacts their generation, and becoming more like Christ every day I live. I have other goals, too, but some things are best kept precious and protected between you and God.
I love writing, dancing, acting, and reading. I have found all four to be powerful ways to worship Jesus. I enjoy running and outdoor activities, I usually enjoy any type of sport. I picked up soccer the last time I was in Honduras and decided I wanted to go pro (just kidding, but I did fall in love with it). My favorite thing in nature is the sunshine. I count my blessings any time the sun shines it’s beautiful light, especially in Michigan. I have a dream to one day live near water, whether ocean or lake.
My family is the most precious and beautiful gift God has ever given me; I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be me, without them.
– 1 Corinthians 4:18