Today’s post is an honest reflection on my life. Lord, I pray that even if You don’t save me from all my temptations now, I’ll still have faith in the fact that You could if that was what’s best.
Recently, I started reading a book called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, which is quite self-explanatory — the author, having been a shepherd, provides some insight into each line of Psalm 23. Focusing on the line, ‘He leads me beside quiet waters,’ he notes, ‘When sheep are thirsty they become restless and set out in search of water. If not led to the good water supplies of clean, pure water, they will often end up drinking from the polluted pot holes.’ I am that foolish, restless sheep focused only on instant gratification. I wish I wasn’t.
I’ve been struggling a lot with what I want out of life. Career beckons me. A comfortable life awaits me. The thought of family stresses me. The thrills of romance haunt yet tempt me. As I was trying to register for classes for the upcoming year, it hit me that this was when I had to commit to my majors, and it dawned on me that I was on the track to graduating from college with two B.A.’s (Bachelor of Arts). Everything in me wanted to fight it and get that B.S. (Bachelor of Science) I so desired, and switching to Cognitive Science would’ve offered me that, plus it was something I had convinced myself I could really enjoy. I honestly thought that getting a B.S. would mean I actually got something tangible out of college.
The core of all of this is trying to secure and find my identity from being smart, which I could only (and very pretentiously) define as pursuing hard sciences. I’m still working on it. I have more time to serve God this way, if I would just lay down my pride and continue on my current track. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ [Philippians 3:8].
A lot of things have been happening this summer. I started going to a discipleship class led by one of my old mentors, and my parents found out I was going yesterday and told me to stop going, since they have a lot of issues with him and his teachings. I was so frustrated when I was talking to my mom about this, unsure of what to do — should I just obey my parents, or should I keep going to this class? While reading through today’s devotional that I’ve been doing with my mission team, I was encouraged by Luke 14:26-27: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. We obey only one, and that is God. By comparison, our devotion to God overshadows and outranks all other relationships in our lives. I think all I can do is pray for wisdom in this situation.
Last but not least. Ah romance, what a troublemaker you are. A topic I somehow find myself writing about quite often, but really have no legitimate reason to (since I am not currently even in a relationship). Except that my desire for it seems to drive a lot of things I do. Perhaps that’s why it’s so hard for me to give up going to my discipleship class to obey my parents, simply because I want to see someone there. Perhaps I need to reconsider why I go to one of the churches I go to now while home for the summer, because I want to see someone else there (I can’t even commit to one person!), and because I’ve been enjoying my friendship with one of the other guys there (though I can’t seem to figure out how to set boundaries with him). After hanging out with some people from my discipleship class last night, mostly guys, I found myself really wanting to hang out with a couple of them more, and trying to make plans with one of them. I’m still trying to validate myself with having as many guys as possible in my life, thinking that any attention they give me will be the trick to making me not feel so down about myself.
Career and relationships have become the polluted pot holes I’ve been drinking out of. Both of these things are not inherently bad; in fact, they can be quite beautiful and God-glorifying, but only if God is first in each of these areas. He is not currently; I am still putting myself first in both of these areas, needlessly trying to build my life around these things. While all these other issues are going on, I’m trying to prep for my mission trip this upcoming Friday. Lord, please save me from these afflictions. Please save me from myself. I cannot fix this on my own.
They say sometimes you win some,
Sometimes you lose some.
And right now, right now I’m losing bad….
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down.
But what will I say when I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now?
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand.
But even if You don’t, my hope is You alone.
[‘Even If’ – MercyMe]