It has been one week since, well, I’m not sure how to describe it. I guess at the core, it was repentance. God showed me how I had not been worshipping Him alone. From my last post, you saw the depths of my depression over the summer.
When I surrendered my heart to forsaking the idol of seeking others’ approval for my delight, I didn’t expect much really. I just knew it was what had to be done.
So what transpired over the days following surprised me. First, I noticed I wasn’t sad anymore, not that deep, to-the-core sadness. Second, I was feeling something else. It had been so long since I had felt it that I had to search to put a finger on it. Joy. I had a spring in my step, a zest for life. And things that normally had me fighting for every ounce of self-control I could muster (aka my children misbehaving or not obeying, or fill-in-the-blank), didn’t seem to bother me as much. I found myself responding more calmly.
More than a High
I could have chalked all of this up to some sort of spiritual “high” except something completely out of the ordinary occurred. I invited a friend’s children to join Alyssa and me at the movies.
I know, it doesn’t seem that earth-shattering for a normal person, but remember, I’m not gifted with children. The fact that no one has ever asked me to baby-sit since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, and even my offers to help friends when needed have been declined, probably tells you something.
I called my friend, offering to take her kids that evening, and I found myself truly hoping, hoping, hoping, that she’d let them. I really wanted them to come. Although I’ve always enjoyed observing and interacting with my friends’ children over the years, I’ve never found myself desiring to be with them like this. Totally strange.
Thankfully, my friend threw caution into the wind and let them go with me. Even my husband and mother were surprised at the whole ordeal. And I had a great time! As the three children excitedly entered the theater, like this was the grandest place ever, a smile spread across my face. The movie didn’t compare to the delight of watching all three children and having my friend’s daughter want to sit on my lap – and carry her out after it was over.
I still am quite perplexed when I think back on it.
Not Quite Myself…Or More Myself than I Realize?
And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18 HCSB).
Most of my life in a conservative upbringing I thought this verse was just about not getting drunk, but clearly I missed the greater point. It is saying that when we’re filled with the Spirit, we will act unlike ourselves – in a good way. Or perhaps we act more like ourselves – the way we were created to be in the Spirit before sin had its way with us.
I felt like the best version of me in the days after my repentance. My outlook wasn’t on myself anymore. It was on how I could love others. And deep down, I wanted to share the incomprehensible freedom I was living in! Someone else needs this, too, I know!
And maybe that’s the point. Maybe I’m not so good mustering up the courage for sharing the good news because it had been so long since I had truly experienced the repentance that led to freedom. I had forgotten that the good news really is good news.
The New Testament is filled with people finding freedom in Jesus who couldn’t help but share it with everyone! Why don’t we see that as much today?
For me, it was because I had let my heart bow to someone other than Christ.
But thankfully, I kept my time with God each day and when the time was right, and my heart was open, conviction came, and then repentance. And then freedom!
I have to be honest. Today has been one of mental struggle because although my heart changed, my circumstances haven’t. One week later, I find myself feeling the way Peter did:
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean (John 13:8b-10a NIV).
My heart is still worshipping God. But some of my old insecurities, worries, self-protection, and self-centeredness creep up inside. When I look back at those first few days, though, I want that joy again! And I realize repentance isn’t a one time thing. Every day I walk in my flesh and every day I walk in this world. My heart is secure in Christ. It always has been. But my feet get dirty.
Thankfully, I serve a Savior who is always ready to help me wash.