External Processing: Justin vs. Justin

I’m very much an external processor and while writing in a journal can be effective at times…others I just need to get my thoughts out on the airwaves. Sometimes that happens via person-to-person conversation, others during phone-calls, etc. However, I find myself in need of expressing some of my inner thoughts/desires online. So, if at this point, you have no interest in my most recent frustrations, trials, etc, then feel free to discontinue reading…With that disclaimer spoken, here goes nothing…

I find my mind consumed with questions, doubts, fears, and all of the like. It’s as if I’m currently in a constant state of questioning…questioning myself, God, the actions of friends & family, etc. Suddenly nothing has any definitive trait to it, other than I’m aware of God’s Word being powerful and useful for teaching, rebuking, etc and I’m very aware that God is real and that prayers can be answered. The past would solidify this belief and it is the past and the transformation that I’ve witnessed within friends who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior that keeps me from faltering from this belief. Even though this is true…I still find myself doubting. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

If you know me, you’ll know that I once possessed (perhaps I still do somewhere) a zeal for the teaching of God’s Word and for the transformation that it can bring to my friend’s lives. But how could a man possible presume the role of teacher or speak in the authority of the Holy Spirit if he, himself, is struggling with doubt and frustration? (I told you I had many questions…haha) So, what is my purpose in my current state of struggle?

Now…my response to this question (and likely your immediate response) should someone else have asked it, would be “Trust God and watch Him transform your heart and beliefs.” But I find myself incapacitated and unable to trust God with EVERYTHING. I trust him with some things but not EVERYTHING. I’ve surrendered some of my heart. But not all of it. I try…but trying isn’t good enough. A friend recently said, “Don’t be captivated by your failures, be captivated by Christ’s victories!” and I gladly support and agree with this statement. However, this is much harder to place into practice than one would think.

I spent a good deal of time praying this evening; asking God to heal me. I know that I’m currently very weak spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically (as I recover from a virus that recently took me out for a while). I hate being down on myself. My thoughts can be so painfully dark sometimes; looking into the mirror and literally hating what I see, examining my heart and realizing how unrelentingly evil it can be. I know that even Paul, Peter, and others in the Bible struggled against the flesh, but why does it have to be so hard? Yes, I’m whining…chastise me for it if you wish, but I figure maybe somebody cares. I asked God to show me that He loves me, to speak to me, to show me His presence, to make Himself ever-present and evident in my life…I have faith that He WILL answer that prayer…and will perhaps have me praying it for a long time until I’ve learned to be patient and wait on His perfect timing.

Let me make something clear before signing off. I love Jesus; truthfully I do with every fiber of my being (not as much as I should, but as much as HUMANLY possible). I believe that He died on the cross for my sins, that he rose from the grave conquering death and henceforth conquering sin. I believe that God has the power to heal, redeem, and graciously provide mercy, love, and much more. After all, I titled this blog “Embracing God’s Grace”, but I find myself in a season where I’m wrestling with this grace. Which makes NO SENSE because I could never earn such a thing as God’s grace. I know that.

Here’s what I don’t believe in: Myself

That’s okay though, I’m not God. But I mean I REALLY don’t believe in myself. My ability to succeed, my ability to find joy, to be loved and to love, to live…O how I desire to be ALIVE.

Well, hopefully you all aren’t scared off and stop reading anything I have to say, but I’ve always been a strong advocate of transparency and strengthening the body of Christ by sharing in one another’s struggles and shortcomings. So here I am; humbled and broken before you. I ask you to pray for me and not to be consumed with worry about me. I’ll be fine because my source of strength is the Lord and my salvation rests in Him. So, Mom if you’re reading this, don’t call in the troops, haha, because I’ve got God and all of His angels working on my heart and protecting me. Just please pray. Feel free to let me know your thoughts…

Blessings Brethren.

3 thoughts on “External Processing: Justin vs. Justin

  1. Seems you took the words straight from my mind. I’m in the same exact place, but I fear that my faith is even less. God feels so distant, I doubt He’s there, that He’s ever been there.
    So…at least we’re in this together as believers, right?

    1. Yes, our good friends from “High School Musical” would say, “We’re all in this together!” haha. Cheesy response aside, facing the struggles of doubt and uncertainty is never an easy place to be but I believe much of the pain is alleviated from the body of Christ stands unified and lifts one another up. So, Carolyn, I promise to be praying over your heart and soul; that God would convince you of His grace and undying love for you and that He would alleviate some of your pain.

      Sometimes we have to be refined by fire…and the timetables that we spend in the fire and throughout trials can seem to be never-ending, but there is a time when God will pull us from the fire and it will all be worth it when we are wiped clean and presented as worthy and useful for the Kingdom.

      I don’t want to end up writing a book as a response to your comment, but because I’m there with you, my heart breaks that much more for you…whatever you do, don’t lose faith. God’s there. He’s real. I’ve had to remind myself often. I’ve had to look back to prayers that have been answered, lives I’ve seen changed, etc. Most recently, I’ve even had to ask a close friend of mine to remind me what I was like prior to me fully pursuing God.

  2. So today in class, my friend shared this section of one of John Piper’s books with me and I was very challenged…So in light of some of the above blog having me cry-out with a decent amount of self pity, I want to apologize to my readers and let you know that I will do my best to keep that to a minimal in the future. However, I’m not going to edit or remove any of it, because this is a learning experience and a chance for me to grow as a man of God and for you to learn from my mistakes and possibly grow in your own walk; removing whatever source of pride you have. Whether that is boasting or self-pity, etc.

    “Boasting is the response of pride to success. Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering. Boasting says ‘I deserve admiration because I have accomplished so much.’ Self-pity says, ‘I deserve admiration because I have suffered so much.’ Boasting is the voice of pride in the heart of the strong. Self-pity is the voice of pride in the heart of the weak. Boasting sounds self-sufficient. Self-pity sounds self-sacrificing. The reason self-pity does not look like pride is that it appears to be needy. But the need arises from a wounded ego, and the desire is not really for others to see them as helpless, but as heroes. The need that self-pity feels does not come from a sense of unworthiness but from a sense of unrecognized worthiness. It is the response of unapplauded pride.” (John Piper)

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