“And He walks with me, and He talks with me…and He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there…none other has ever known.”
-In the Garden-
I don’t know how to start this post. This is my fourth attempt at writing the beginning words because am I really going to talk about God? Am I really at that point in blogging AND in my relationship with Jesus that I’m going to write about it? I’ve shared my experiences with a few people, but am I really ready to share it so publicly that anyone can read it at any time, whether I know them or not?
My walk with God started about a year ago. I was dating this great guy who liked me, liked my family, wanted that elusive future that I’d dreamed about…and it wasn’t right. He wasn’t right, I realized later, but there also was something missing. Something was holding me back, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. After breaking down one night (the guy & I had long since ended things), by myself, I found myself praying for the first time in years. I had no idea what I was doing. I just didn’t know what else to do and how else to make sense of my experiences in life. My prayer ended up in a lot of questioning God, being mad with God, saying, “Why why why…”
A couple of weeks later, I was talking with a friend about this. I was telling her how I didn’t really think God was on my side, I don’t think prayer works, etc. Because why would God have given me those struggles, why would I be given unreachable desires if God wasn’t going to help? She told it to me straight, and said, “Torey, we’ve been friends for years. Would you be comfortable with having this conversation if you hadn’t taken the time to develop our friendship?” I said, “No, of course not.” Then she spoke some of the truest words I’ve ever heard: “How is God supposed to know you or listen or help you if you haven’t developed a relationship with him?” That was a game changing conversation for me.
Fast forward to today. It’s taken me a long time to realize that ultimately, all of those experiences I was struggling with, and was upset about?? They were put into my life to give me that “A-ha” moment that I can’t be expected to walk with others if I haven’t first walked with Him. Those were designed to lead me to my walk with Christ, a walk that I feel like I’m just starting. But here’s what I’ve learned so far….or at least what I’ve been trying to learn. I’m a work in progress.
I’ve learned to practice forgiveness…and mean it.
Start with the biggest revelation, right? This one was one that snuck up on me. Recently I’ve been in situations where it would have been so easy to stick to the mean words I said, or to just walk away from the situation because it’d be easier, and “they deserved it.” Then it was literally like a neon sign flashing at me saying “wait a minute.” I realized that God forgives me. Every time. Without question. Because for some reason, I’m worthy of that forgiveness. What I realized in these situations was that those people were worthy of it too. So I practiced it…and the rewards from simply forgiving someone has paid me back in spades. I’m a much better person with the relationships in my life that have been forged through forgiveness than I would be if I let them go.
I’ve learned to be vocal and unapologetic.
This I pretty much had down already. I’m very vocal (too vocal, most days), and I will never apologize for who I am. But that didn’t really correlate with my religious views. I wasn’t the one who said, “I can’t wait to go to church,” or, “Church was amazing today! Check out all we learned,” or, “Pray for me,” or “It’s up to God.” For some reason, it just wasn’t something I shared. I don’t know if I was ashamed by it, worried about what others would thing, if I felt hypocritical because for so long I had struggled with “God’s plan.” I think it was a combination of all of those feelings. But now? Obviously I have no problems sharing that I’m in a relationship with God. When people ask me what I’m thinking and if the answer has something to do with God or Jesus…I say it. I actively pray for others, I talk about Christ with friends and family. It’s so liberating. It’s so freeing to know that a relationship is so unshakeable that you can talk about it without reservation.
I’ve learned to share my heart with God, and know that he knows and understands my heart.
Seeking out my faith and trying to live that faith has been one of the hardest processes I’ve done in my life. It’s not perfect, and it will never be, and I will always be actively seeking to strengthen and grow in my faith. But knowing that God is there and I can share that struggle with him? Wow…that’s changed my life. I didn’t know how to talk to God before…and now I see different ways every day that he’s changing my path. I know God knows my heart. Knowing this has given me the unparalleled joy of putting my life in His hands. Does this mean I’m passive in my actions, I don’t fight for what I want in life, or that I don’t try? Absolutely not. Rather it’s knowing that God sees my fight, sees my fears & desires, and knows my heart and what it needs.
I don’t worry as much any more…I don’t try to control things as much any more (as much being the key words because I’m still a control freak)…I don’t over analyze my words and actions. I just say it. I just do it. Because I know that right or wrong, good or bad, God will guide me and show me and open doors for my path to be followed. I just have to keep walking.