Friday, 25 May 2012

All change.... or all stay the same?

I'm about to head into what may be eight of the craziest weeks of my life to date.  And with nearly 36 years of madness already behind me, that's saying a lot.

My first challenge is completing some studies which have been ongoing for the past five or more years.  Once finished, I get to put some extra letters after my name... whoop-dee-doo.  Oh, and my CV looks better.  Wow.  Yeah, you guessed it, I'm definitely not motivated to get this done - in fact, the only thing really motivating me right now is what it will cost me financially if I run over the current deadline.  Which is in three weeks.  4,000 words to go.  Three weeks.  Research still to be finished.  Oh hec, it's going to be busy.  Not much I can do than suck it up, because there's little point in the coulda-woulda-shoulda done it long ago talk...

Saying that, it will represent an end of an era.  It's been hanging around like a bad smell for so long now, and is an inheritance from a job I technically no longer do.  It begs the question, 'what next?'  And that's where the following few weeks after that come into play.  I'm off to music school - worship school, to be exact.  Three weeks in sunny California, staying with an awesome host family, and getting to worship and learn with people who are all in for God.  Most of the time I am utterly giddy with excitement about the whole thing.  And then there are times like now.  You see, I've put so much stock in this being a key time for me.  And I've had people speak over me that this is going to be a significant time for me, that it is going to propel me forwards in God and into my destiny.  Right now, that feels like a tall order.  And I'm scared.  Scared that I'll be disappointed.  Scared that when I get back, I'll have to pretend that I've been through this amazing mountain-top experience that we all dreamed I would have, and that life will never be the same again. But what if that's not the case?  One of my dearest friends said last night that it would be impossible for me to spend that much time with God and not come back changed.  I hope so.  But I think that hope is as much earthly hope as it is heavenly hope - probably more so right now.  Those who know me well will know I have had a history of depression and anxiety - and so I'm fearful that the intense emotions and pressure of finishing my studies and going to Bethel are going to trigger a bad time, not good.  And for once, I don't want to feel like I have a battle on my hands.  To have a continuous period of being well, and not feeling like it has to be a struggle.  

That's why, over the next few blogs, those who want to can join me on a journey of truth.  Today I read a quote from Jonathan Edwards (the theologian, not the athlete... I think...) that 'truth is the agreement of our ideas with the ideas of God'.  This is going to be my preparation for the time ahead.  Learning and declaring truth.  And for me, talking about it, typing it, sharing it - whether anyone else reads it or not - helps me to process and then to learn.  I do believe that one of the things that God is 'making good' out of my circumstances is my ability to care for others in a similar predicament - it's an answer to prayer from years ago, during one of my worst periods of illness, when I begged God to 'not let this be in vain, let it be used for good one day'.  

Today is day one on the walk of truth.  It's going to be my own version of Pilgrim's (very slow) Progress.  This declaration, funnily enough, comes from Bethel church, where I'm headed in just a few weeks time:

"I am powerful, and what I believe changes the world! So today I declare:
God is in a good mood.
He loves me all the time.
Nothing can separate me from His love.
Jesus' blood paid for everything.
I will tell nations of what He has done.
I am important.
How He made me is amazing.
I was designed for worship.
My mouth establishes praise to silence the enemy.
Everywhere I go becomes a perfect health zone.
And...with God
Nothing is impossible!"

Read it out loud.  Go on.  I dare you.  And do it again tomorrow morning.  And tomorrow night, along with the next nugget of truth we share together.  Which means you'll then have more to say out loud.  Tell me how you get on.  Tell me what challenges you.  Let us encourage one another to keep going.  Because THAT is what the church is for.  Don't let anyone fool you into believing the statement that you don't have to go to church to be a Christian - it's true, church attendance has nothing to do with salvation, but the statement hides from a significant truth, that we NEED one another.  We need encouragement, challenging, those who rub the corners off our edges, those who hug us and tell us to hold on a little longer, because a new day is coming.  

Rant over.  Truth is here.  Truth is here to stay.

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