Blog: Renewal

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Renewal - Sunday, October 15, 2006
Today was interesting.

I've been in a mental, physical, and spiritual rut since school started. I've been excruciatingly busy, sleep-deprived, and since last week just out of it. I've also been going home every weekend, and customarily not studying well there, a great ingredient to add to the mix.

Today started pretty lousily. My brother and I were to drive to church separately from my parents, who had to leave early. Before she left, my mom woke us up, but we fell right back asleep. We would've missed church (or been very late) if it weren't for her calling 15 minutes before the starting time to ask us to bring something that she had forgotten. Needless to say, I was pretty tired, and I ended up nodding off during half of the sermon.

Adult sunday school went better. We are doing a seminar on spiritual warfare, and the topic was the breastplate of righteousness from the Armor of God section of Ephesians 8. The breastplate back in the day was also called the heart protector because of its obvious function.

In the same way metaphorically, God's breastplate is the strength we gain from his Word to protect our hearts from the snare of guilt that the devil brings. This is a big issue for me, as I always struggle with guilt from wrongdoings, as well as for not living the Christ-centered life I think I should be. I sometimes feel that God can't forgive and accept me because I am so wretched in his eyes. But my group leader said this kind of thinking is a slap to God's face. It is denying that his grace is sufficient to cover even our biggest sins.

In the afternoon I met with my discussion group to go over the first three chapters of the book we are studying - The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Unfortunately, due to unforseen constraints, the group has dwindled down to just me and Priscilla. But we had a good conversation, and from Chapter 3 I realized that my life is driven mostly by guilt.

I arrived home exhausted and couldn't help taking a nap. I awoke right before dinner, still fatigued, and feeling (overdue) illness creeping over me. I realized that, despite being behind in school, I had not done any work over the weekend, and now it'd be even harder because I was getting sick. I felt miserable.

But afterwards, as my mom was driving me back to school, I had a moment of clarity when everything I had heard that day sunk in and clicked. God really did know every detail of our lives, before we were ever created. I can stop worrying about how things will turn out because whatever it is I am going through, he has allowed it. My life is in the hands of someone who is vastly more powerful and wise than I will ever be. And he has accepted and chosen me. There is nothing that can separate me from his love.

After I realized this, I confessed my biggest struggle to my roommate and asked him to help keep me accountable. I will no longer allow guilt for things done in the past to interfere with how I live in the present. I thanked God for what he has done for me, and I asked him to give me a renewed sense of purpose. I still don't know his will for me, but going through life, going through school and doing my daily grind, have a new meaning.

Whatever we do, we should do it for his glory. It's not about me. It's all about God.