I was inspired by an Instagram post by So Worth Loving today. There was a picture that said, “no rain, no flowers.” Isn’t that just a beautiful thought? There are times where we just spin our wheels, and feel as if we are getting nowhere. We get tired, we grow weary, and we just simply feel worthless. It’s those rainy days where you just don’t want to keep going. The truth is, and this is the truly beautiful sentiment, without rain, we never get to see the flowers bloom. When it comes to our lives, there are hard days. Maybe you’re physically exhausted or mentally drained, but some days are just difficult. In these moments, don’t lose sight of the finish line. Don’t let the worries or feelings of inadequacy prevent you from stepping into your potential. Without the rain, or the storms, there are no flowers.
The Wolf Man. One of the classic Universal Pictures monsters, a man with a curse, every full moon, he transforms into a werewolf. Howling at the moon and out for blood, a battle he fights to regain control of his poor mind. This is a trope in horror fiction, the Jekyll and Hyde concept, normal person fighting a raging monster inside. This month I’ve been looking at old tropes from horror and looking at how God has used them to teach me, and in turn, teach you. This week, I wanted to talk about something very personal to me, something that I’ve alluded to in the past and on this blog, but never fully talked about. Today I want to talk about it. I want to talk about the creature that tries to control me. One that has tried to hold me back. It’s not a wolf bite; I want to talk about my battle with anxiety.
I’ve recently been in a fog. I’ve never really had writer’s block, which is something pretty amazing after the past four years of writing here. I was contemplating not doing a post this week, I missed my early Patreon post schedule and was about ready to just take a week off. Then I realized that there was a mix of circumstance and spiritual attack. Last week I ended one of my favorite series I’ve written, all about having spiritual victory. It seems only fitting to then the next week fight some spiritual attack. This season in life has also been super busy, each day seems to be filled with projects, planning, and small moments of rest in the evenings. Spending time with Danielle and my family has really been the biggest driver keeping me from not getting lost. In this season of busyness, my quiet times are often rushed and not as filling as I usually have. In times like this, I feel inadequate. That I’m not doing enough or feeling like I’m not good enough. I can start to internalize this, and then everything that happens around me just hits again and again, with the whispers of “I’m not good enough,” plague me. I want to be open because I think often we have days like this. We feel like we are overlooked, that we aren’t living up to our potential, or because one bad day will cause us to fail. The truth is, we aren’t made to work enough to be used by God, we are simply people made new through the love of God.
“When you go to war against your enemies, you might see that they have horses and chariots. They might even have an army stronger than yours. But don’t be afraid of them. The Lord your God will be with you. After all, he brought you up out of Egypt.”
Life can seem overwhelming most of the time. Stress increases the pressure in our schedule, the battles we face each day with addictions and past sin can haunt us, our struggles with our mental health can overwhelm our thoughts, and the doubts that come from our thoughts and words spoken over us create an unrelenting fight. This is the strategy of Satan, to get into our heads, into our minds and make us see a losing battle. Each day we are fighting in a war, one that in our own power, we are hopeless in winning. Our human nature is fallen and our enemy is very real, he wants to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). This lack of hope causes us to become overrun in the trenches, we lie in wait, hoping we can get the upper hand. The truth is, when we step into the truth that our savior is stronger than all things and he saved each of us, only then can we live in victory.
Can you believe it? In exactly one week, Christmas will be here. Wow, that’s kinda frightening, especially if you have to finish gift shopping and gearing up for the family travels, there are many working parts that happen during this time of year. Not to mention the high levels of depressing that this season can bring, losing lost ones, thinking about fears you have of the future, wondering if what you do actually means anything; the struggle hurts in a very real way. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. The stress and the sadness that surrounds Christmas can seem overwhelming, but the truth is, we can have hope during this Christmas season.
I have an old disposable camera. I found it, and started playing around with it. I took pictures on a road trip and when the pictures were developed, they had a great yellow tint due to the expired film. The camera was easily opened, so I got the idea to re-load the disposable camera. While this isn’t the point of a disposable, I had to give it a shot. I watched how-to videos and with my girlfriend, we tried it. I got about half way and stopped as the YouTube tutorial guy mentioned that you need a dark room or else the film would be exposed. Whoops! I had exposed a good bit of the film in the process, so when the pictures were finished developed, they had red where light had polluted the film. It got me thinking though, film works by exposing in a flash to capture the image wanted. In order to get the shot, you have to expose the darkness to the light. This has gotten me thinking, and it fits in well with our topic on fear.
“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.”
This new season in my life has become very strange. For the first time in a very long while, I have a direction about where my life is headed. I know it sounds odd, but I have a better idea of what the destination is starting to look like. If you’ve been reading for a while now (thanks!) you know that I have often struggled about the future because it seems like there was no end in sight. It’s not just something I struggle with, but one that many have to face. We are told at young ages to have our lives planned out, but when things don’t go as planned, we freak. We ask ourselves questions as to why this happens, and then we start to look at ourselves. We don’t look at the good about us or the opportunity God can bring, we often turn inward and start to believe that there is something wrong with us. We start to look at the success of others, the nice job, the young couple who just got married, that cool guy who travels the world on social media; it’s easy to look at others and feel like we aren’t worthy. The truth is, we are made worthy.
This past month of this New Year has been so incredible. My church just went through a season of praying and fasting, it was filled with so much encouragement of what this year will bring, and it will bring forth great things. God is moving through his people, his children made in his image, us. You and I are going to be used immensely this year, but it won’t be easy. This past month has been very impactful for me spiritually, but our world has been through much hurt and pain. In the United States (Where I live), we have seen women stand up and say that enough is enough, we are more than a body to be looked at and we are people with much to contribute. We have seen anger and hatred split people down the middle because of the past election. We have seen the way that fear of another people can cause others to hold deep hatred. We have a battle in front of us. My world is being torn apart by sin and evil; but there is always hope. If there is one thing God has taught me over and over again it’s that hope in him will not fail. When our hope is in Christ, we march together to say that enough is enough, we can have rational discourse with opposing views to come to an agreement, and we can show love to those who are not like us by living out the gospel. We have a purpose and God has placed it on each of our hearts.
I love flying in planes. Something about it is so therapeutic, giving me a chance to simply sit back and reflect. Right now it is Christmas day and I am flying with my family up to Wisconsin to visit my grandparents. Wisconsin is fun because it’s cold and filled with cheese (I mean, what’s better than that?!). The past month I wrote about self-image and knowing the worth we all have in Christ. Last week my post was called, So Worth Loving, which was the climax of the series (check it out if you haven’t yet). This week I want to conclude this idea, giving the reasons why I wrote about this topic and share some of my heart with you. Reflecting is a word which here means looking back on where I’ve come from to see how God has moved in all things. That’s the truth in it, in all things that happen in our lives, God has orchestrated that to cultivate us into stronger people. We are all strong people. We have all been through some of the toughest times in life, and we have made it through these chaotic storms. Each of our lives is a story. Our story is a picture of what we have been through and where we are headed. The thing we need to remember is that the creator of the universe is in every piece of our story. We have been made in his image and he has given us the ability to write our stories because of that.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
This past month I’ve been doing this little series about self-worth. I’ve been writing because for so long I hated who I was, that I never fit in right. I wasn’t an A student, I wasn’t very good at sports, and I had a love for stories. I didn’t feel like I fit in, I felt worthless, I felt like I had no purpose in life. I was being attacked by the enemy and I was living like he had won. The truth is, our enemy has been defeated by a creator that says you are so worth loving. In the moments where I felt worthless, I had the creator of the universe telling me that I was created in his image. This same God created each of us in his image, and because of that, we have victory over the lies of the enemy. We are unique creations. We were not created to fit into the mold of the world. I say this to give hope to the kids that felt like me, to the ones who love being nerdy, write poetry over playing on the field, and love learning about the world around them. Maybe you feel like an outsider. Maybe you have a passion for people, that you love to write stories with worlds filled with infinite possibilities, or that you have a desire to make music that rings in the ears of so many. I believe in this world because I believe we have a God that made us all unique individuals with purpose. Maybe you love running on the field and feel at peace when you play, maybe you have the heart to heal others and invent new ways to help those that are sick, and maybe you love to dance and express your heart for the world. No matter what you desire and love doing, you have been created by a God that says you are so worth loving.