New International Version (NIV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
As a young Christian, when I read of Jesus saying "do not worry", my initial reaction was, "Then what do I think about...?" Now I know. But there's a difference in the 'knowing' I carry in my heart now, after setting out upon the Identity journey, than there was prior to it, several weeks ago.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just, whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--
meditate on these things.
Now, however, the opposite seems to be happening. Something has changed in me. My heart, my faith, something has altered...and I know it was by God's hand and it was during this journey.
During this journey, I have learned of a thing called 'The dark night of the soul' - which is not what one may think it is. I have made peace with internal struggles since learning of it. I have, in the past, spent much time and energy - and that all wrapped up in feeble faith - willing what felt like darkness to be away from me, but this journey has shown me that it's not always 'darkness' (as in evil) that comes to haunt us, as it were, or our past, or even our feelings, but it's a deep intimate touch of God, basically, but we just don't care to see it as that. A touch of God's hand operating in us, for us, deep within, where our understanding is yet to go.
Several years ago, God was really quiet in my life, and I hated it. Upon nagging Him for a response to why He was so silent, He said to me, "I am going deeper in you; when you are ready, you will hear Me again..." (He went ahead, to prepare me.) And that's what this 'dark night of the soul' feels like. God goes deeper in us, into a place we ourselves have never dared to venture, and He works on us - for our good. We can't see what's happening, so we call it darkness. However, He's in there with His Light straightening up things, decorating private rooms of our heart, getting ready for 'spring cleaning', so we will find peace in it when we enter, and we enter into greater depths with Him when, and only when, we are ready to do so. But so lacking is our faith and trust in Him, usually, and so strong is our faith and trust in fear and the enemy's so-called power, we struggle against it. We don't realise it's God; we don't have understanding, so we fear it, and what we fear we fight against, one way or another. And so great can our struggle become we can become weary of doing good, weary of loving, weary of trusting God, of being a Christian, of following Christ, of all such things, and we lose our peace and joy, and take on doubt and worry and, as we're tossing out the baby with the bathtub, we're wondering where the hell God went and, at the same time, striking out at those nearest and dearest to us, and even strangers in the street that get in our way, and off we go again, taking on our old nature, our world-weary identity and the rest of the world whispers, "And they call themselves a Christian!", which, in reality, has us denying Christ before others, by our actions; and we cry out, "What is wrong with me" or "I can't help it" and other such things as we go!
Then, rather than dare to trust ourselves, our heart or our lives to God, we run off to man and have them pray 'the enemy' out of us and away from us, and we go through counselling courses and take man's advice daily in order to silence the battle within... but the battle is, during such a time, against God, not Satan. It's often our ego fighting God, rather than Satan coming against us. It is in such times that we must stand strong in what we're called to do: Stand on faith, open our arms out wide to God, close our eyes to all that surrounds us, and trust God will see you right.
Above all, that is what I have learned most while on this 'Finding Our Identity' journey: Trust God. In the good times, in the bad times, in the light times, in the dark times, trust God. And, my goodness, doesn't trusting God bring great peace!!!
As I contemplated writing this blog, something else struck me that I will share here: When you invest in something, you do so because you believe in it, and if you believe in it and are willing to invest in it, you will invest your passion into it, your heart into it, your life into it, and all you possess, ay...?Now, understanding that, think of this: Jesus invested/invests His life, His heart, His passion, and all that He is and possesses IN YOU, because He believes in you. He never changes; His passion never dries up; His love never ends; and His is the Kingdom of Heaven, life, and all that is good. All that He is and has, He has invested in you, and He will not change His mind about that, especially when something comes against you to cause you to fail or fall in some way. He will see His investment succeed. He will never leave you, never betray you, never give up on you. Jesus is invested in YOU...
And it is in knowing this - that Jesus and God and the Holy Spirit have invested themselves in us - and it is in knowing God can be trusted in whatever season we're in, and it is in trusting that God turns all things to good, that worrying seems such a foolish thing to do. In fact, at the moment, I find it laughable. Now, it seems so much easier to go with peace, to go with joy and faith and hope and grace, than it is to worry...
This is what God has done for me during this journey - even, and especially, through the hard times, and the removal of some of my ego, lol. Was the journey (thus far) all fun? No, it wasn't, but it was easier when I realised God could be trusted, and it is worth it... And I know there is more to come: More love. More joy. More peace. More of God...and I want it all, even if it means having to go through more 'dark nights' to get it.
Here, on the other side of "man's" understanding, in the secret places of God (of which I have really only dipped my toe into so far) there is life, joy, love and freedom...and I wouldn't trade it for anything or anyone...and I would encourage you, come...