This is really long, and it's part 1 of 2. I am journaling this more for me because I can type faster than I can write, and wanted to get it out of my head and on to "paper." So, feel free to read, but if you don't, I don't blame you. The length would probably scare me away, too.
Anyway, so lately, as in the past few months, I've felt like my walk with God was stuck. I wasn't getting closer, and I was really feeling far from him. I was still reading my Bible daily, but it felt dutiful. I was rarely feeling any emotion. I lacked thankfulness for what God was doing. I lacked amazement for his love. Really, I was taking my relationship with him for granted. In my head I was convincing myself that if I just keep doing the actions, then the passion will come. My heart, though, was somewhere else. It was as if my heart was saying "There is nothing here. There is nothing to set on fire. No spark will fly." I think for awhile I was in denial. Satan was convincing me that it was okay to keep going the way I was going. And sadly, I think I started to believe it was okay, too. Then, God took my heart back and revealed to me where I was going wrong.
The series we're in at church is called "From Gethsemane to Glory" and through this series, God is drawing me back. God has taken my heart, put it in front of my face, and told me to look closely. He showed me that I didn't appreciate his sacrifice enough. Pastor Jim did an amazing job getting me to see how much that cup of wrath meant. Never had I seen it that way. Never before have I been so afraid of God's wrath and at the same time, so thankful for what he endured. For me. I had tears pouring down my face by the end of the service. That was the beginning.
Then, a few or so Sundays later, another message was preached on bitter failures. Okay, I'll just admit, I didn't really want to hear that. But I needed to, and it once again brought change. Pretty much my whole life I've been a people pleaser and so with every failure, I feel like I let others down too, and it just doesn't sit well with me. That day, though, I really learned that bitter failures are okay because through them, God can be glorified. He allows them to happen. I've always known this in my mind, but my heart was still crushed every time I failed. While I still am not over the people pleaser thing, I do believe that God is changing me. I hope one day soon I will be able to see all my failures as a means to draw me closer to God. His love is unconditional. I can fail, and he'll love me the same.
Then came youth camp '08. I am out of the youth stage, but my brother wanted to go and I agreed to take him. It was too far to just drop him off, and it was too cold and dark to sit in the car and do homework. So, I went in. I knew people, so it was a chance to catch up. But little did I know that that night would be a freeing moment. It's been a long time since I ever felt so free to worship God. I think a lot of it had to do with my perspective being changed. God showed me that he took that bitter cup from me and my failures can be left behind. For so long I was dragging my failures to the cross with me and it was preventing me from worshiping him the way I wanted to, and the way he deserved. It was like he was saying, "Sarah, those sins have been removed. I've already released them, why do you insist on keeping them strapped to your wrists? You can lift your hands so much higher without those!" It was an amazing freedom that's hard to describe. But since then, worship has been so much sweeter for me.
But, even through all that, there was still some things just not right. While I was feeling free, I still didn't feel like I could run forward. It was almost like my feet were stuck in the ground. Yes, I could move all around. In place. I couldn't step forward though. What was going on? All of this happened, so why was I still stuck?
To be continued...
(Sorry, it's late and I have church in the morning, and I'm only about half way through, believe it or not. The rest is everything that happened this past week and it could easily double this post. I probably already scared most people away with the length already, and don't want to scare anymore away.)