Last night, God changed my life.
No, I am not exaggerating. Perhaps no specific visible or chronological element of my life changed, but I had a major paradigm shift.
First, let me give you a little bit of background since I haven’t posted now since January of 2015. My last post, titled “May I Starve,” described my life back then (the beginning of second semester of freshman year). I hated how I had less fire for Jesus than I had my senior year of high school. I felt like my every movement was futile because they did not have Jesus’ heartbeat behind them. I wish I could say that my life turned around right when I posted about this in “May I Starve,” but it didn’t.
Ironically, I did starve– and I became used to it. I have developed spiritual anorexia.
My senior year of high school, I became a theistic existentialist (kudos to Soren Kierkegaard for thinking up that philosophy and being so kind as to share it with the world, and thanks to Mr. Anleitner for forcing lazy seniors in Christian Thought to regurgitate it). Essentially, this means that I believe that there is no point to anything in life without God, that the subjective rather than the objective points you to Him. Due to this worldview, I used to ensure that everything in my life had Him behind it. I am deathly afraid of a living futile life, so this focus was as intrinsic as my very breath.
Then, I developed spiritual anorexia.
For whatever reason, I began starving myself of God my freshman year of college. At first, I noticed it daily because it made every step feel useless and vain. Normally, my fear of this would drive me straight back to God, but, for some reason, I let it continue until it started to feel normal.
Without God, my life felt chronically pointless– & this started feeling like it was eternally true, like my life would always be futile.
This led to a snowball effect of caring less and less about my faith. And now, here I am today.
Last night, I was struggling to pick up my Bible. I forced myself to flip to the end of Philippians. I have tried to reread Philippians, my favorite book of the Bible, in order to catalyze a fire for God again– these efforts have, until now, been in vain.
Then, I read Philippians 4:11-13, verses that I have read so many times in my life:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
These verses have never spoken much to me ever since I realized how everyone and their grandma takes Philippians 4:13 out of context (one of my major pet peeves now). So why did these verses scream at my cerebral cortex tonight? Likely because, in the last 2 years since graduating from an ultra-Christian high school, I have “lost my innocence,” per se. I have stepped out into the real world and seen the darkness there firsthand– not just heard about it, but touched it with my own hands. This reality check has been a major weight pulling my soul down, with its relationship with God plummeting first.
Just this last semester, I went through more than I have ever been through. My life is not the certain path I once thought it was.
But “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” I have hit rock bottom and experienced every emotion associated with that since coming to college, yet I have also had the best moments of my life occur– “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.”
This last week, I have felt this crazy peace that I have not felt in ages. This makes almost no sense because my life is more uncertain right now than it has been since right before I chose to commit to Northern for volleyball. Yet, I feel so at peace. I feel “CONTENT.”
How?! I thought I was so far from God?! How could I have the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) that only HE provides?!
It’s so simple. It’s because He was leading me through the darkness. He never left my side. I only stopped chewing on Him daily (spiritual anorexia!!) and became numb to His presence.
He never left.
And, ultimately, I never left Him because I don’t have the POWER to leave Him.
That paradigm shift just changed my life. I serve a God who won’t let me leave His side, even as I wander through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 91:4).
How could I not want to gnaw on Him every day now that I realize that He never left?!