Spiritual Victory: Know My Name and All of My Hideous Mistakes

The title of this blog comes from a song by one of my favorite artists, Julien Baker. My close friend Daniel turned me onto her music, and it came just at the right time of my life. You see, this past year has been a season of unknowns. Lots of questions and self-doubt keep creeping in, causing me to grow more and more anxious. I ask myself, where do I fit in this world? What’s my place? What’s my purpose? I have these questions swirl because one moment, I feel like God is calling me to a certain area, and the next it feels like I can’t win. It’s hard being a graduate, everyone wants young fresh ideas, but want someone with years of experience under their belt. Not to mention the stereotypes that are perpetrated about millennials, things like we don’t work hard (except for the fact that many of us have two or three part time jobs to survive…*sips tea*). It’s easy to then translate these unwinnable odds as marks against myself, that I’m not good enough, but the truth is; we are called and we are gifted.

We’ve been talking about spiritual victory, how to win in the face of an enemy that wants nothing more than for our defeat. We often look at our past failures and screwups, seeing those as choices that disqualify us from a greater calling. The more I grow closer to God, the more I begin to understand that God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. Does that make life easier? Not really, it just gives me an overwhelming sense of hope. It’s so hard not to look at yourself the way the world looks at you, to not put the perceptions from others on yourself. We have to fight it, we have to fight it with one of the weapons in our arsenal: worship. That song I referenced above is titled, “Rejoice.” Julien Baker wrote it as a way to express the mistakes and struggles she has faced, yet in all of it, she chooses to rejoice. It’s one of my favorite worship songs that is not a worship song. I needed this song when I was struggling, in the midst of our struggles, worship is a tool that can tear walls down. I want to talk about that today. I want to talk about it because I am struggling. I am struggling in a ministry that I cannot mold in my own way. I am struggling with finding my place in all of this. I am struggling to live with this giftedness and being overlooked because of my title (or lack thereof). In the midst of it all, I choose to worship.

Worship renews our perspective.

I love music. It has the ability to transport me to places and allow me to think about life and my situations. I have albums that got me through certain storms in life, from Paramore’s, Brand New Eyes in middle school to Childish Gambino’s, Camp during high school these are two albums I hold dearly. I don’t play music, but music still speaks to me. I love music because it allows me to focus and breathe clearly. Worship is that feeling. I use worship music to help me enter a place of focus and peace. My current albums being Vous Live’s, Into the Night, Hillsong United’s, Wonder, and Loud Harp’s self-titled album. A friend of mine in the worship world told me he see’s worship as the door to the spiritual realm. I’ve never heard a better description than that. Worship isn’t simply music, it’s any praise given to our great God. I think we can worship by the way we treat others, by the words we speak towards those we like and don’t like, by the way we handle our hobbies and past times; all of these things can be done in worshipful ways. The most important aspect of worship, is the fact that it redirects our minds on what is most important. It renews our perspective on life and the struggles we face. It has the power to set us free and move us into the spiritual realm.

Worship breaks down strongholds.

This is my favorite part about worship. We don’t simply just reside in the spiritual realm, we go to war with the power of the victor. The old testament has moments over and over where worship made strongholds fall down. Joshua was told to march around Jericho seven times, then blow the horns. The walls came down. Gideon was called to lead a small army against incredible odds and sound the trumpets. The walls came down. Worship was used to tear down strongholds before they even lifted a weapon. Worship lets us humble ourselves and understand that we can’t do this ourselves. We have made hideous mistakes, but God knows our name and wants us to walk in victory because of his great love for us. The walls were brought down with worship, and then God’s people were able to move in and conquer. The same is true in our own lives. In the midst of these strongholds we face, the ones where it seems we will never break down and can’t possibly stand against the odds, we need to have a humbled worship-filled heart to begin the walk towards victory. We need to stop living in the shame of our mistakes but in the freedom of God’s promise.

Know my name and all of my hideous mistakes

I struggle with my calling. I struggle with the politics of the church world. I struggle with the fact that people can be so prideful and look past those who are truly in need. I struggle with never feeling like I am enough. I struggle with my emotions and the frustrations I have to go through each day. In all of it, I rejoice. I will rejoice with the suffering of my calling. I will rejoice in the face of a broken church and the systems it has come to. I will rejoice with knowing that God says I am enough. I will rejoice in the fact that God gave me these emotions so that I can have empathy for people who are overlooked. In all things, I will rejoice. I rejoice because I have a loving God. I am a follower of Christ, not a follower of what a church, system, or group does for me; I follow Christ alone. I will fight the attack of the enemy because I have been called to reach God’s children. I choose to rejoice because it renews my perspective and breaks down strongholds in front of me.

I will rejoice in my savior because he knows my name and all of my hideous mistakes.

-Joshua Thomas

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