I was going to post this on my Facebook feed, but I feel like it’s relevant to so many more people than just my immediate circle. My hope is that this reaches someone who needs it.
I watched a video this morning by Levi Lusko while feeding the dogs and doing my morning so-me scroll and this post really spoke to me. I think the message has been on my heart for a while but this prayer really brought it to the forefront of my mind.
2020 has been such a challenging year for so many people for so many reasons. Up until the last couple of months, however, I was really enjoying the year. It pushed me to get my mental health in check. It pushed me to accept my role as a stay-at-home parent and it helped me to strengthen my relationship with my wife and kids. I am forever grateful for those changes and I have 2020 to thank for it. Time has slowed down and the hustle and bustle is gone. It’s honestly peaceful.
In the last few months, however, I’ve noticed a major change in my overall mood. A change in how I see people, a change in my positivity, and I believe that change has been because of my relationship with Christians because I allowed water into the boat. I allowed politics to get the best of me and I have felt the enemy creep back into my everyday life.
Church hasn’t always been a part of my life but over the past 6 or 7 years it has been a huge part of my routine and it has molded me into the person I am. I’m just worried that church was less about my relationship with God and more about the social aspect of seeing friends and singing during praise and worship. September, October, and November really drove home that point to me because without church on a regular basis and politics on social media, I really started to dislike people I considered to be friends.
I have tried so many times to be a consistent bible reader. I want to know the bible more and I want to hide God’s word in my heart, but I fail consistently. Going to church and hearing the messages and taking notes and singing the songs every week was a great way to feel connected to God and I didn’t feel like studying the Bible was as important, but being away from church has shown me that I don’t know God’s word well. I am not able to stand on his promises because I don’t know them very well. I haven’t had my weekly connection with his word and because of that, and politics, I have felt myself becoming my old self again.
I mention politics because most people I know who are Christian are also Republicans. And most Republicans support Trump. I am not and I couldn’t support that man, so it put my wife and me at odds with a lot of people we go to church with. People we love and care about. So quickly I forgot that people are imperfect. We live here on earth and no matter how much we strive to be like God, we will always fall short. I stopped living in love and I stopped showing compassion and understanding for people around me, and I feel like people did the same to us, albeit unintentionally (he said hopefully).
I reread Galatians 5:13-26 recently. I won’t post the whole scripture here, but it’s not long. Click the link, I encourage you to read it before you continue. I let my heart get dark again. I did not love my neighbor, I walked in my flesh and not in the spirit by allowing hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, and selfish ambitions to take over my thoughts. I read old Facebook memories where I was on fire for God and I am no longer living in the spirit that I once was. I want to be that person again. I want to live in love and light and being away from church has shown me that I have to do the work to be in the word because without it, I’ll forget His teachings and allow the enemy a foothold in my life again.
Because I haven’t been going to church, and I’ve felt alienated by people who are supposed to be brothers and sisters on this walk with me, I’ve rekindled friendships that I’ve lived without for a long time. I fell back into a groove where I felt like I belonged, but that transition has also opened my eyes to how fake I am and how that’s not the way I want to be around people I love and people I want to know God through me. I started drinking more, and cursing more, and opening my mind to things that I honestly just haven’t allowed in my life for so long. Don’t get me wrong, I love these people and care deeply about them, but I put distance between myself and them because I felt like I couldn’t be myself around them. In reality, I don’t even know who the real “myself” is anymore.
I have been in a perpetual soul-searching quest for what seems like forever. I want to be authentic but authentic is messy and I feel like no matter how I choose to live my life, I’ll be somehow disappointing God or my friends and family, but I know better than that. He loves me no matter what and as long as I am trying to walk on a path to be more like him, he will always pull me back when I stray too far away. I hope people will do the same regardless of which side of the line you fall on, and anyone who judges me probably isn’t worthy of my worry in the long run.
I want to lay it all on the table. I cuss occasionally. I drink occasionally. I’m not the perfect example of God’s love all the time, but I love my Christian friends regardless of their political views or passing judgments and I hope they can say the same for me. I also care deeply about having a strong relationship with God and teaching my children to keep faith in Him, and strengthening my marriage with His help, but I hope that my non-Christian friends understand that I don’t think I’m better than anyone, or that I’m somehow holier-than-thou. I will now and forever get it wrong, but I’m trying. That concept is the impetus that this blog was born out of. I’m not a model parent, it’s just a play on words. So If you know me and love me, enjoy the process. Enjoy the scriptures and the memes. Enjoy the real and the facade. Give me grace and know that my intentions are pure and I will always do my best to serve you with love in my heart.
I’m officially rambling now, but I hope someone understood where I was coming from in this post. My takeaway is this: forgive yourself. Keep trying to live the best life you can possibly live, have grace when you mess up, don’t worry too much about other people’s judgements, and we will all get through this together. Life is hard and messy and we’re all growing. ✌️?