Monday morning I sat in my office and listened to a friend cry about feeling lost and overwhelmed in the wake of losing her dad. My heart was broken, but I was also thankful. I was grateful that I had survived my identity crisis stage; that it was behind me.
I should have known right then what my week had in store.
By Monday night I was having an unusual amount of anxiety about teaching on Tuesday morning. When I say anxiety I should clarify: I wanted to die.
I sent a text to some friends asking for prayer, and when I woke up at 5 AM on Tuesday, I felt a little better.
My lesson was on perseverance. Oh, the irony. I shared about how we mustn’t be deceived: our hard and unbelieving hearts are prone to wander and we must exhort one another today because God has ordained our exhortations, our prayer, His Word as the means of our perseverance.
With tears rolling down my cheeks, (unexpectedly I might add), I explained to the women that perseverance is my favorite doctrine. Election explains how I came to love Jesus all those years ago, but the doctrine of perseverance explains how I love Him today and guarantees that I’ll love Him tomorrow. And that’s a promise I need. I know my heart is prone to leave the God I love and His great hold on me is the only hope I have of finishing this race.
After that lesson, my week got a little worse. By the evening I was sending out invites for a pity party. It was a festive gathering: I sat in a cafe and wept as my friends tried to encourage me that I am known and loved. A mere 24 hours after I thanked God for sparing me from an identity crisis I found myself having an identity crisis.
Wednesday morning I was incapacitated by allergies, making thought or prayer seemingly impossible. When I woke up from my haze late Wednesday afternoon, all that stretched before me was an impossible to do list and an overwhelming sense that I wouldn’t make it through the night without some form of comfort. I ignored God’s whispers to come to find rest in His arms and fled instead to anything that would lesson the dull aching sense that life was too much: TV, sleep, friends, food.
This morning my self-medication had its full effect. I woke up with a hardened heart: dull and unfeeling; unresponsive even to His Word. I had wanted to stop the pain, and I succeeded in numbing my heart. A hollow victory indeed.
As I drove to work my lesson from Tuesday was playing in my mind. And I kept thinking: Is this all it takes? Is 48 hours all it takes to fall away from the living God?
In His great grace, I arrived at work and was forced to sit in my teaching lab class, where His Word was spoken over and over again to my hardened heart, cracking the shell. In His great grace, I left that class to go to another appointment, where I sat with two friends who exhorted me with Scripture and transparency. In His great grace I left that appointment to meet with a friend who pointed me to all that God is doing in our lives. In His great grace, I left that appointment to meet with a counselor who reminded me of deep and abiding truths.
That’s my Thursday so far. If my day had held one less word of encouragement I would not be persevering. But in His great grace, because I am His, He kept His promise to finish what He started and He wrote into my day all that I need to make it through with faith intact.
Thanks to His great grace, I live to fight another day. Thanks to His great grace, Jesus is still the passion of my heart. Thanks to His great grace, I can tell you this truth: the hardening of the heart does not take years. It only takes days, hours, or minutes even. Unless we are swimming upstream, we are drifting away.
May God pull you back from the edge while it is still called today.