Rather than watching the two-hour-long lecture that I've been putting off since last Wednesday, tonight had me listening to "Here with You" by Hillsong Worship on repeat. I would certainly say that it is one of my favourite worship songs of all time; it's gentle, it's genuine, and it's the kind of song that I receive something different from each time I listen.
This time it felt so personal - kind of like God was speaking directly to my heart. Directly to my season. Directly to my past. Directly to my present.
"Here now with you / I have heaven in me / everything has changed / and I will never be without you."
I realised - everything has changed.
And it threw me off a little bit. I looked at each little aspect of my life right now: work, study, relationships, family & health. When I compared this very moment to twelve months ago, I realised that nothing was the same.
But... is that such a bad thing?
Twelve months ago, if you were to ask me how I was doing, how I felt about my life and all within, I would have given you a quick flash of the pearly-whites and told you that I'm doing great - "never better", even.
The reality of my September 2019 was far from "never better". Battling confusion, insecurity and majorly unchecked rage, I was an honest-to-the-good-Lord-above mess. My parents had just told my sister and I that they would be moving out of state to pastor a church. I was debating my next move, juggling the reality of my future with Sydney & Co. in one hand, and balancing the constantly toppling plates of emotional, spiritual and physical health in the other. All while working a full time job, commuting up to 3 hours each day, volunteering for church every other day of the week, making time for family, friends, and (occasionally) myself.
I eventually decided to "go my own way" (HSM 2 reference, anyone?) and stay by myself.
While I was in the midst of it, I thought it was me just living my "best life": Working for a charity that I love, but maybe not in a role that I felt was a forever thing. Volunteering with young people that I cared for more than anything, but not intentionally fuelling myself enough to do so to my best ability. In a relationship that I was heavily invested in, but probably couldn't say much of that investment was reciprocated.
Now this is no pity post - this is actually the story of the heaven-sent-180-degree-switch-up that I'm certain saved my life:
January of this year was the worst month of my entire life. I had an embarrassing amount of emotional breakdowns at work. My body was pale, frail, sickly, and looked like I hadn't ever eaten a vegetable or left my room in months. Pastoral catch-ups were becoming a near weekly event for me. I felt like I couldn't walk into a church building without bawling my eyes out. My judgement was clouded and I said / did some ridiculously stupid things.
Without wanting to sound too dramatic, I felt like I was dying from the inside out.
And I feel as though we have all felt a little bit like that in 2020.
Proverbs 3 has become one of my favourite places to go when I feel lost or out of my depths. In January, I remember reading over these passages with the full weight of every decision I would have to make upon my shoulders:
Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
and he will lead you wherever you go.
Don’t think for a moment that you know it all,
for wisdom comes when you adore him with undivided devotion
and avoid everything that’s wrong.
Then you will find the healing refreshment
your body and spirit long for.
- Proverbs 3:5-8 TPT
The decision I made to move on was a difficult one, but I made it. Everything I had ever known was in Sydney, but when I hopped into the unknown I began to see the change. Not immediate, of course, but having traveled down this new road for a few months now and having seen the difference within myself (faith, attitude, health, and motivation), it's so clear that this was the next right thing - and I could not have done this alone.
Can I encourage you to seek out something that needs to be changed in your life this week? It may be something small, like your routine or your habits, or it could be something really major that you've been contemplating for some time now. Be open to God making changes in your life by taking those small steps of faith towards Him. He will lead you in the best direction.
So, I'm looking forward to more of my "everythings" changing in my future, and I never want to stay stagnant again.
You never really know what God is doing until you look behind you at the mess that He has pulled you from. And I'm so thankful that He did.