(Originally written 30 January 2019.)
Today I had a conversation with someone very dear to me and I told and I told her about having a constant battle between my faith and my feelings. This is something I have been struggling with for a while now, but the words just hit me because I had been struggling with what to share on my share on my blog, or at least how to phrase it. At first, I thought about writing about the illusion of coping, but I immediately realized that the title does not actually show what I wanted it to show. What I really wanted to talk about was the illusion of escape that we get from our coping mechanisms. This is something I am still interested in writing about but I still haven’t been able to put my thoughts together.
Next, I considered writing about my failures when it comes to living the vine life and why I was failing at it. One of the things I have been struggling with is lack of productivity, and to take that further, lack of productivity in things that are important to me, that I am actually more passionate about than anything else. If I am working for someone else I can produce results, whether maybe because the fight or flight mode is activated by the fear of failure, and I chose to fight because of the fear of rejection and fear of disappointing people. Or maybe it’s because when I am working for someone it’s actually not important enough to cause me that much fear, the kind of fear where I give up before I even start. Where I run instead of fighting. That could be the first reason for my lack of productivity, … or maybe I just lazy and trying to make excuses?
But what does it matter whether its laziness, or the fear of failure, or just an abundance of confusion and anxiety that is causing this lack of productivity when the solution is the same, living the vine life in Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ isn’t lazy, or fearful, or confused and anxious; and as He is, so am I in this world. His word says, ‘he who abides in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.’ So the requirement for living a productive life in Christ is not to try and figure out what the problem is, but to abide in Him and flow in the Vine life. Obviously, a lot of people might not agree with this as they feel you cannot cure what you don’t know, but here is the thing, it’s not my job to cure myself. No matter what I think I can do, He can always do a better job than me.
I understand in the natural the importance of working on yourself and getting help when you need it. I understand the importance of taking medication when you need it, going for counseling and therapy when you need it. I am not against any of that. I am not trying to advocate for people to hide from whatever they may be going through. And you have no idea how much I understand the need for answers. Honestly, if you don’t know what going on and you want answers I encourage you to seek them. I have definitely gone through phases where I really want to get tested, and others where I was convinced that there was no need and I just needed to make some lifestyle changes. Both phases have been equally stressing for different reasons.
And honestly, right now I would make the choice to get tested, just to remove the constant back and forth that I go through. Also, it would come in handy in sharing my testimony, in explaining exactly what God has accomplished for me to help anyone out there who went through or is going through the same thing. For me, though I decided that in Christ I could find my healing, I don’t like medication, and as someone who once considered going into counseling, I am going to have to hypocritical and say that I don’t really what to have to speak to a counselor or get a coach. For the simple reason that II scared to fail even this stranger who does not exist … Plus anyway, I can’t afford any kind of visit to the doctor’s right now, including the testing phase before we get to the treatment phase.
Everything in Zimbabwe is expensive these days and right now I can barely feed myself, let alone visit a physician and a mental health specialist. I can’t think of any area of my life that is prospering right now, and I just had to add the pressure deciding to pursue a career as a writer … But then even if I had the money I am pretty sure I would not want to go into counseling or use medication. Sure I would get tested but I wouldn’t willingly choose to do either of those. If I could get coaching that more linked to spending time in His word and being reminded to stay focused on Christ and what He did for me I might choose that though. If I had the money for it…
The sad reality is 3 John 2 is yet to manifest in my life, and maybe its all linked together? It says, ‘Beloved, I wish you might prosper and be in health, just as your soul prospers’ – if my health and general prosperity are linked to my soul prosperity then I am at a disadvantage right now. I haven’t exactly been guarding my heart very well, it’s been battle central for a long time now. And over the years as I listened to the word, I came to the revelation that on my own I could not, and in Christ, I could do all things. I discovered that He was my righteousness and that as He is so am I in this world, and that He was the vine and I was just a branch. I discovered that I had the mind of Christ and in Him, the battle is already won.
So what’s the problem then? Why was I still living the defeated life when I know who I am in Christ? I came to my next conclusion, that it had to be ‘reaction.’ Obviously, I was reacting to the situations or what I perceived of the situations instead of living in the vine. So I thought to myself, let’s write about that, and I did. However, as I was typing the words I had written in my notebook, I found myself wanting to change way too many things, I became painfully aware that I did not want to talk about it. I was back to square one with nothing to write and more stress over my failure. This led to the conversation that led to this entry, I described my battle as a battle of my faith versus my feelings and the words just kind of stuck.
So that is the explanation (or excuse?) for the lack of posts on my blog, my feelings seem to enjoy battling with my faith. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Vine and I am the branch, I believe I live a life of flowing in the vine life as a Jesus girl. I mean a branch cannot survive away from the vine can it? And then I thought… do I really believe it though? I mean I know it, my head knows this to be the truth but does my heart? My feelings are obviously telling me something else.
My mind acknowledges what the word says, that He is the vine, and as a branch, in Him, I bear much fruit, that as He is so am I in this world. My feelings, however, say we don’t know what we are doing and if we write anything, it is not going to be good enough, it’s not only going to suck, but we are going to look stupid and people are going to make fun of us. We are going to be such a disappointment to our readers….the strangers we don’t know, who don’t know us, and who don’t actually exist yet.
At other times my feelings convince me to read just one more chapter of that book we are reading and before we know it, its three hours later and we haven’t done anything productive. Then I feel totally stressed out and panicked because I don’t have the time I need, whether its time to sleep or time to listen to that sermon or time to write that book. My feelings also often convince me that I am too tired to get up and need to sleep a little more, I mean, after all, God gives His beloved sleep, right? Yeah I know that’s not how I am supposed to use that verse, its not some excuse to use for laziness but I have to admit to having thought that once or twice when I was too sleepy to get up.
The worst for me though is when there is just nothing. I just don’t know what to write or maybe I do but I’m just so laid back about it. There is just this lethargy or apathy that I hate and always regret later when I get over those feelings. This is one of the worst because all the others often seem to lead to this. I get angry/frustrated at things happening in my life and suddenly apathy rears its ugly head. I get anxious about something if I fail to resolve those feelings, here comes apathy. I have a fear of failure or fear of disappointing people and so why bother? Apathy rushes back in.
And hey, I am a Jesus girl, I am the branch to His vine, and as He is so am I in this world. I have the mind of Christ and He is my wisdom and my righteousness. He died on the cross for so that I don’t have to go through any of this. I am blessed, highly favoured and deeply loved. The Lord loves me and I abide in Him, as He is in me, I bear much fruit…except I don’t see much evidence of that fruit, so something is obviously amiss.
You know that all these verses in the bible talking about patience and endurance? Yeah, I need some of that because I don’t like the feeling of discomfort in my emotions. Well, I don’t like discomfort in general, and yeah yeah, I know, growth doesn’t come where there is no discomfort or whatever. I know the bible says that we bear fruit with patience, and I know it says tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance character and character hope but honestly, I have trouble glorying in my tribulations. Especially the emotional kind. I need someone to pray for me for patience and endurance and also for joy too because I don’t have that in abundant supply either.
Even as I am writing this I am going through a challenge that requires patience and endurance and I feel like throwing in the towel. But then I ask myself what if this is the challenge God is taking me through to help me develop patience and endurance, and that just makes me sigh. The Lord knows best and He knows the plans He has for me so I just have to trust Him to take me through this. I need to remember to walk by faith and be led forth by my feelings. I cannot do this on my own though and I don’t have to because the battle is the Lord’s. Instead of letting my feeling get the best of me I need to leave them all to the Lord and trust Him to be able to get me through it all.
I have to fight the good fight of faith against the feelings but for a while now I have been losing the battle. This year Pastor Prince said that it was the year of the latter rain, the year of God’s showers of blessings and of His favor; Pastor Tod said it’s the year of release, release from all that has been holding us back; and Pastor Furtick said that it was tie to flip the flow and whatever has been keeping us from our destiny is what God will use to bring the victory. Pastor Madambi says its the year of uncommon favor. These four Pastors have each had an impact on my spiritual walk this past year with different messages. In Psalm 36 verse 9 the word says, ‘in your light we see light,’ and I have definitely been seeing His light what all these Pastors have shared as the message of 2019.
So I believe that 2019 will be the year that my faith will win the battle over my emotions. I am coming through this year and I declare that nothing will hold me back.
Instead of faith versus feeling, it will be faith over feelings. After all, all I need is faith as small as a mustard seed and I already have least that much.
The battle is the Lord’s, I refuse to let my feeling keep reigning over my faith. I have to keep reminding myself every morning that He is my righteousness and my salvation. I am I AM’s, He’s got me covered.
And as long as you have accepted Him as Lord and Savior, you are His too, He’s got you covered.