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It has been a busy season of life, to say the least. Between kiddos, husband, family, work, worship, church groups, songwriting, and trying to do all of that while keeping the house from looking like a disaster area, I am little tired. Okay, really tired.

I used to never take naps because I knew that if I napped, I wouldn’t sleep that night. The other day, I took two long naps and STILL slept like a baby that night. Now THAT is what I call a sabbath. It was bliss. But it showed me just how tired I really am.

In the midst of the busyness of life, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. I find myself a little shorter on patience, a little quicker to get upset, a little less “graceful” than I fancy myself to be. I was getting frustrated and upset at who I saw myself becoming. And of course, that little crack in the door meant the enemy came sneaking in with thoughts like this:

You’re not a very good mother.

You’re not cut out for all of this.

God is not honored by all of this.

God is disappointed in your choices.

He’s good at his job, that one. He knows exactly what to say to push my buttons and make me feel like a failure at something I’m already in the midst of accomplishing. He is really good at finding cracks and sticking his toes in them.

I’ve heard it said that “What the enemy cannot prevent, he perverts.”

Truth. He’s not preventing me from doing what the Lord has called me to, so he’s trying his best to pervert it.

Last night I was thinking and praying about all of this. I am only doing things I know the Lord has called me to do. But I’m still tired. I’ve prioritized. I’ve eliminated. I’ve trusted. I’ve obeyed. I’ve prayed. But I’m still tired. What can I do?

And, just like He always does, He led me right to exactly what I needed. I opened the most recent issue of Studio G (the women’s magazine by Gateway Church) and came across an article about mental health and how we need to not only do good things for our bodies, but most importantly our minds. It recommended choosing a few scriptures that speak specifically to things we’re struggling with or wanting to conquer, memorizing them, and focusing on them everyday.

So I did.

The two scriptures the Lord led me to are Psalm 91:9-10 and Psalm 103:1-2. I guess He led me to them because I love David so much. I relate to that guy – a genuine lover of the Lord who just keeps messing up; a guy who cries out to the Lord in genuine angst and always returns to trusting Him despite a lack of understanding. I get that.

So I’m memorizing these scriptures. I’m speaking them over myself. I’m reminding myself that the work of the Lord might be tiring or overwhelming at times, but it’s always worth it. And it’s not ever going to be too much if I’m doing it at His pace, in His Will, and with His guidance.

Onward, I march.

Let all that I am praise the lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. (Psalms 103:1, 2 NLT)

If you make the lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. (Psalms 91:9, 10 NLT)

likeagoodchristian
I used to be a good little Christian. I knew all the Christian-ese. I had a few key scriptures memorized. I did all the things good Christians do – I read my Bible pretty regularly, I went to church every Sunday, I listened to worship music in my spare time, I memorized popular Bible verses. I was really good at acting like a good Christian. And I counted it all as merits in my honor. I was doing a God a favor, I guess.

I used to think that there were levels of Christianity. Growing up in church, I was exposed to all kinds of Christians. The eager new Christians. The complacent Christians who were born into a Christian family. The wise old Christians who mixed scripture and clichés interchangeably. The obligatory Christians who were only there because someone was making them. The on fire Christians that seemed to know a scripture for every occasion. I wanted to be one of those on fire Christians. I wanted to have an answer for everything. I wanted to impress people, and God, with how much I knew.

But the key word was “knew.” I memorized scriptures, I acted the part, to get myself into that “club.” I became someone I thought I was expected to become. And while I know that His Word never goes void, while I know that despite my Pharisee-like behavior, despite my dogmatic religiosity, God was changing me, I wasn’t doing it because I thought I needed to be changed. I was doing it because I wanted to impress.

Pride. I reeked of it.

But then life happened.

There came a point where my rose-colored glasses were smashed by the well-intended and not-so-well-intended. There came a moment of crisis where I stood on the edge of a cliff called religion, looking desperately for the bridge to the other side – to real faith. By the grace of God alone, I found that bridge. He led me there. And I crossed it. Ran across, honestly.

There came a moment where memorizing scripture stopped being cute and started being a necessity. There came a moment where I didn’t want to have a bag of scriptures to throw out to impress, but where I needed droves of scripture to call on for the sake of my bleeding heart. There came a time where I no longer cared to impress and instead began to earnestly seek shelter in the secret place of the Most High. There came a moment where I laid down my crown of religious piety and picked up my cross to bear daily with Christ.

That was the moment I knew real faith. That was the moment I knew that the Bible isn’t something for good Christians to utilize for power or merit, it’s something for desperate, broken, lost, hurting, abandoned, rejected people to cling to as if their lives depend on it, because they do. The Bible isn’t meant for those who already have it together, as I thought I did. It’s for those who know they can’t get it together without Divine intervention.

It was in those moments that worship music stopped being something I critiqued for its musicality on Sunday mornings and started becoming something that brought me into the presence of the Almighty, giving me a taste of His glory, His goodness, His power, His overwhelming love. I will never forget the first time I experienced worship that literally brought me to my knees. I trembled with emotion, with an overwhelming sense of my need for Him. I cried that ugly, snotty, mascara-streaking cry that is neither attractive nor desirable in public places. And I didn’t care for a second. I knew I was smack dab in the middle of the presence of the Creator of the Universe and He wasn’t offended by my snot nose. So I worshipped. Oh how I worshipped.

If you grew up in church like I did, then you probably know how easy it is to make a religious routine. You probably know how simple it is to think you’re impressing God and others with your knowledge of the Bible and church things. But if you’re like me, that knowledge is nothing more than a pride-building lie that spreads its tentacles into every corner of your being, devouring you from the inside out. That knowledge won’t get you very far when you’re hurt, when you’re rejected, when you’re sick, when you’re broken. It might provide fleeting comfort, but if it’s not in your heart, in your gut, deeply rooted, watered daily, and growing, it will be nothing more than that – a fleeting comfort.

But when we take the Word to heart, when we let it be the Bread of life, the Water that quenches, the Breath of God we breathe in daily, we cannot help but rise to new heights of faith, of peace, of comfort, of joy, of Divine grace. That’s what I want. No more head knowledge. Deep, soulish, life-altering, mind-changing, soul-transforming faith. I don’t care about being a good Christian anymore. I care about knowing my Father in a way that drowns out all the rest of the noise the world throws my way. I care about resting in the arms of the One who loves me unconditionally. I desire deeply to press into the mind, the heart, the character of the Creator of the Universe. It is there and there alone I will find my hope.