It is almost that time of the year when many of us list down the achievements we accomplished during the year as well as the goals for the coming year.
Now, if you are here out of curiosity regarding mine…maybe expecting to read how I climbed the Himalayas in thirty five days, or visited almost all the new exotic restaurants in town, or perhaps even conquered my fear of snakes… I would have you know ahead of time, that you will be disappointed. Here, we only serve hot and cold truths.
Anyways, I do confess though… I have been wondering how to end the year on my blog, or rather what to write as the year ends, then I remembered something I read from the book Moses (which I am still yet to complete). Charles R. Swindoll brings it out somewhat in this way… the church sometimes fails in this regard: to have honest discourses of the failures she experiences while serving God.
And I agree. Because when we keep back from having honest conversations about our faults and failures, those who stumble and fall are more likely to end up feeling as though it is highly unlikely God would choose to work through, with, in, and on them.
Quoting from the book Moses, “Ever been to a testimony meeting where everybody else seemed to be on cloud 39 and you were in tunnel number 7? One after another is talking about soaring in the heavenlies, while you are counting gum wrappers in the gutter?”
Reading that chapter on failures made me realize too, that some of my spiritual breakthroughs had come at a point when I had taken a serious nosedive.
16/01/2021- Three months after my resignation from full-time employment, I still had no clue on what to do, and so, on account of my anxieties, I began applying for odd jobs and scholarships all the while in a panic state. I can tell you for sure, I was having a really hard time allowing God to lead me.
01/02/2021- I wrote God a concerned letter, with regards to where my life was headed. I would have loved to share it… but it is too long. However, it was filled with outcries of salvation and loads of worries and anxious interrogations. My applications were backfiring in my face, half my savings were gone, people’s questions were pressing on me, and I was experiencing such a difficult time even praying: Failing and faltering in prayer.
05/02/2021- Discouragement had now settled into my heart properly. I did a good venting to the LORD. I was extremely discouraged that I accused Him of setting us up (His children) to fail by some of the trials He allows in our lives. I further went on to express how rejected I felt by Him and just wanted Him to leave me alone.
08/02/2021- Revisiting Old Roads
God graciously made a way for me to revisit old roads… roads where I first made a conscious decision to seek Him with all my heart. I had an amazing time while there, walking down the streets of that small town yet again after three years.
Meekly, I recalled, the many things that God had done for me while I had been there. A surge of remorse overwhelmed me as I realized how good He had been to me. I felt utterly guilty for my rantings. When I got back home, I looked for the journals I had written around that period and found a prayer that I had written to Him (which He answered), and was reminded of His faithfulness. That small getaway, reading the book Abraham, seemed to get my perspective back to God and not to my circumstances.
14/04/2021- I began picking up my strength and worries again…applying for scholarships and getting frustrated again.
16/04/2021- I wrote God another letter, this time round- laying my heart open before him, expressing to Him my failures and weaknesses and releasing my will to Him.
19/04/2021- I picked up my strength again…I saw this scholarship advertisement, of which I tried to apply for the scholarship (only it wasn’t even something that I wanted to do or would have loved doing). It is interesting, that three days prior, I had released my will to Him, yet here I was picking up my strength again at the sight of that lucrative scholarship.
26/04/2021- I burnt my finger, if you can remember from the post: deep-rooted. The swelling was moving from bad to worse. Despite praying and telling God I trusted Him to heal my finger, I worried constantly with each waking day as it seemed to swell even the more.
06/05/2021- Prayer had now begun feeling like a chore, I was holding back on God, holding back on speaking the truth especially to my loved ones because I despised carrying the cross of rejection.
12/05/2021- Once and for all, surrendered my will to God. I undertook not to apply for odd jobs or scholarships again.
18/05/2021- Quoting from my journal, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Lord, I honestly do not know what to say. After all the things that I have done, said, thought and even been- Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for the amazing work You have done within me. I read a page from my previous journal dated 19/08/2019 and I am truly humbled by the work You have accomplished; truly You did say, “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert—Isaiah 43:18-19”
Cast your burdens unto the Lord for He cares for you. Today has been a huge blessing: understanding grace and also, God reaffirming to me about rest: Psalms 121. I will not trust in chariots or horses but in the LORD. I haven’t been writing as much and I would like to get back to that. I was reading my 2019 journal and the things that I had been struggling with are now nowhere to be seen or felt today. Meaning that the only things that remain are God and His work. The worries I had about moving out and stressful work, I no longer have them today. Thank You Jesus for this moment, time and season. I pray that I may learn what You desire me to learn….”
26/05/2021- God rebuked me so severely due to the complacency I had acquired on my seven-month rest. His rebuke led me to a full commitment and complete surrender to His will and His work. I disliked that rebuke. I felt as though God was angry with me and was fed up with me for sure…considering how I had been acting almost half the year. Faithfully, the Holy Spirit brought to mind and heart the verse about God chastening those He loves. That gave me great comfort. He kept bringing verses of encouragement to mind so that I would not fall into the trap of condemnation. I began my service to Him in July.
19/09/2021- Again, I ran ahead of God. On the spur of the moment, I had this desire to learn playing the piano because I was spending a considerable amount of time close to one. Neglecting to seek God’s counsel, I created a whole mess by visiting an antic store which had this lovely keyboard and ended up promising the store manager to bring him a down payment for it (of which I did not even have the slightest clue where to get that kind of money I had guaranteed in the first place). Seeing that God had been providing for my needs in miraculous ways, I figured to squeeze in that keyboard while He was at it.
To my consternation, I was left hanging and embarrassed at the whole ordeal. I had to apologize to the store manager because he had put it aside for me as he waited for me to bring the down payment. That taught me not to rush ahead of God and presume on His grace and provision.
Since my service to God, I have been tested, tried, stretched, tossed around in all sorts of trials (especially those that incline toward dealing with difficult people and situations), and I have experienced some victories, but, I have also failed miserably, catastrophically and royally in many (that I am even ashamed to write down the things I have done)…me who exhorts people to godliness.
I have criticized others, told untruths or half-truths, lacked compassion, judged others, coveted another person’s life, and even acted self-righteously.
Surely, these are not marks of a regenerate Christian.
I am not at all proud of those things that I did, said, and even thought. They did come with a share of consequences (and I thank God, He allows us to experience some of the consequences of our actions, so that we gain wisdom for the future). Consequences for which I had to apologize to the aggrieved parties and ask God’s forgiveness too, as well as for wisdom to make good judgements thereafter.
Interesting how God used a change in environment to reveal to me a side of myself that I thought I had crucified and buried with Christ –a murky and unloving side — a side that got me to the point of saying, “if anybody ever dares to praise me for any work done for the LORD, I will downright slap them.” (Maybe over the top?)
9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
Still, I truly rejoice because God has dealt graciously with me. He chose to reveal to me these flaws, these ugly sides of myself…so that He could redeem each one of them.
Like Paul I cannot boldly say as yet..
9 The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you. [AMP]
And I do get bothered that I do not look anything like Jesus Christ yet—who I represent so fiercely.
But I tell you for certain, whatever it takes, I will allow God to make and shape me until at last, I am His prized masterpiece, His most precious handiwork.
To be honest going through this timeline has just made me realize something that I had not even noticed before.
At the beginning of the year, I was extremely cranky, irritable, self-absorbed and self-deceived. But God allowed me to go through several phases of failure after failure, dejection after dejection…until I got to the point where I said, “rest and trust in the Lord” and actually meant it.
Only then, did He lead me to where He wanted me to be, and reveal to me what He desired me to see.
Through all of this, as you may have noticed, my feelings have fluctuated, my emotions have bounced around everywhere, and there has been a sure and great deal of inconsistencies in my life. But God, has remained faithful to me and to His word.
He has rebuked me in His love, He has been patient with me, He has understood me even in my worst states of relating to Him—He has remained faithful.
I have no idea why He loves me still, yet He does. And He insists that He has loved me before He laid the foundations of the world, and will still love me come hell or high water.
I have come to use this knowledge to appreciate an important fact about Him… and that is, “that it is not in our strengths that God chooses to show Himself strong, but in our weaknesses.”
Additionally, going through this one-year timeline has also brought out one clear fact with regards to the life each and every one of us has: that time is fleeting.
How fast we moved from January to December. How fast we shall move from January to December again— in the blink of an eye. And before we know it, we shall be looking back wondering where did all those years go to? What did we (I) do with my time?
To avoid that regret, there is only one way- which is to commit your life to Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior. And He shall direct all your other paths. He has promised an assurance of eternal life and an abundant life, even in the face of trials and tribulations.
I guess that is it from me…for now, until 4th of February 2022. But if the Holy Spirit compels me to write about something before then, then I guess you will be hearing from me sooner than that.
May God bless, lead, and guide you. May we all truly understand that all our lives are really a series of God’s grace and not of our own efforts and achievements. This way, whether we fail or accomplish in life: God is to be glorified.