Saturday, April 8, 2017

It's Not Over Yet


(March 29th-April 4th)
Throughout this year, I have been constantly filled with things that God has shown me and spoken to me, and I have felt so compelled to share. That’s what I love to do, why I chose my major (Communications-journalism and new media). I’ve done my best to verbally share it every chance I get, but I haven’t taken much time to blog at all in the past year or so, but it is a great way for me to share more than the few words of a Tweet or the caption of an Instagram post. I know that God has given me all this to share and the desire to do so to bring Him glory, and I don’t want to waste these opportunities.

One of the strongest ways God speaks to me is through songs. I can find encouragement through the lyrics that I hear on stations like KLove and Air1, but when I go back and really look at them, I can relate it back to Biblical truth. It is amazing how these artists can take their talents and apply it to God and real life like they do. There are some songs that I literally think were written about me.

Last week I was having one of my worst weeks. I was lonely, unmotivated, and feeling physically and mentally exhausted. I didn’t want to do anything and was miserable. I wanted this school year to be over so bad. I didn’t know how I was going to make it through another month and a week. I ended up going home for the weekend on Friday afternoon after being so indecisive all day and having a few mental breakdowns. Literally on the way home I almost turned around twice. (Once I got there, I had a wonderful weekend, though!) So many great songs came on the radio that were very relative to my life, so I kept them in my mind to go back and look at more later. This is one of those songs! However, instead of keeping it to myself, I want to share it. If it uplifts me, I hope it uplifts you. What good are God’s love and blessings to us if we keep it to ourselves?

It’s Not Over Yet
They are inside your head, you’ve got a voice that says
You won’t get past this one; you won’t win your freedom
It’s like a constant war, and you wanna settle that score
But you’re bruised and beaten, and you feel defeated
This goes out to the heaviest heart
Oh, to everyone who’s hit their limit
Even when you think you’re finished
Keep on fighting, hope is rising
Out of the dark, into the light
Never give in, never give up, it’s not over yet
Time to put it in your past
Feel the winter leaving, it’s redemption season
Long live the young at heart
Cheers to a brand new start
We’re revived and breathing to live a life of freedom
Until the kingdom comes
We’ll run til the race is won
Don’t you ever give up, no never give up

My mind is my own worst enemy. I think about things way too much. I always compare myself to myself at different times in my life and set standards that I have to meet, always trying to outdo myself. Anything less isn’t good enough. I feel like I can’t get away sometimes, and it can drive me crazy. I look back at other times in my life and where I am now, and I feel like I am stuck and can never be “normal” again or escape whatever challenge is on my mind at the time. (But Philippians 3:13-14 tells us not to look at the past, but to focus on the future that God has for us.) That little voice that tells me “I’m not normal,” “I can’t do this” and whatever else, is the devil trying to use my own mind against me. I’m always going back and forth (if you don’t know me well, I am one of the most indecisive people you will ever meet) with choices, emotions, progress and changes, good days and bad ones, positivity and dread. I want to stay in the light and make lasting changes for good, but sometimes I get so far down physically and emotionally, I feel like I can’t go on. I feel like there’s no hope. A heavy heart is definitely something I can say I have had at times this past year. (Psalm 43:5, 34:18)

I’ve felt like I’ve hit my limit sometimes. By the time last week ended, I was there. I was so emotionally and physically drained, I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the rest of the school year. I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t know what to do with my life, couldn’t think straight, couldn’t even cry! My emotions had gotten to the point of affecting my physical performance in running and my energy levels, too, which then made me more upset, and the cycle went around. I was afraid I was done, and I wouldn’t be happy or feel good again, like I had gotten too far under.

BUT I know I have to keep fighting (1 Timothy 6:12). There is hope. This darkness we go through will not last (Psalm 30:5). There is always light the day after night (Ephesians 5:8). God tells us “Be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded (2 Chronicles 15:7).” Any hard time we come to is not the end. In the midst of struggle, it’s not over yet (1 Peter 1:3-9 is one of my favorites, as well as Romans 8:18-21 and 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

We all have things we have been through that we wish we could change. I know I sure do. I’ve spent so much time in despair and tears over opportunities I’ve wasted and bad choices I’ve made. We all do. It’s okay to mess up. What’s not okay is dwelling on those mistakes. They are good to learn from but bad to carry around as a burden (Isaiah 43:18-19). God wants to use our mistakes to build us, while Satan wants to use them to tear us down and hold us back from growing and sharing the light of love (Hebrews 12:11, Proverbs 3:11-12, 1 Peter 5:8). We can’t change the past, so we need to let it go. Winter leaving? Literally and figuratively! I am loving this warm weather we’ve been having lately…and that I have come back this week feeling so mentally and physically refreshed. It’s time to be redeemed (Psalm 103:4). With Easter in just a couple weeks, that’s even more applicable, for we will celebrate Jesus dying to redeem us from our sins! However, we have this redemption any and all the time. Embrace the fact that Jesus has wiped away our shortcomings and given us the opportunity to take on new and full life (Romans 8:1-2).

He gives us a new, young, joyful heart that can live for eternity (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Celebrate these opportunities as a new start! I know my parents and I are. Not every “new start” has to be a physical milestone, but some can be. For me, I am rejoicing that I get to start at a new school with new coaches and a new team and new classes. It’s like starting college all over again, but I am so grateful to be able to start fresh. New starts can be made any day at any time (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10). We just have choose to make the change, delight in the Lord’s work, and go with the flow (Deuteronomy 30:19). (I don’t flow very well, but that is something I have been working on.)

Now this week I have come back to school with a better attitude, a positive and renewed spirit (Job 22:23, 33:25, Isaiah 38:16). Along with a better mindset, my body has felt so much better, too. I am sleeping better, I have energy, and I am enjoying each day more. I know I can live a life of freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:1, Ephesians 3:12). It will be tough at times, but I can do it. Just having a positive attitude makes a huge difference on how you feel physically as well as mentally (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). It may sound unrealistic, “mind over matter,” but it is a real thing! When you truly believe something in your heart, it will spread to the rest of your life (Proverbs 4:23).

As Christians, we have the ultimate goal of Jesus coming again or us going to Him first. Either way, we are looking forward to a place where we will never have to deal with those negative voices, things holding us back, pain, defeat, darkness, or any other negative thing (Revelation 21:4). We can persevere no matter where we are in life knowing that the race we are running (game we are playing, walk we’re taking, river we’re rowing…whatever life comparison you want to make!) will be won when we see Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14, 1 Corinthians 15:57, James 1:12) . Every day and every moment is getting closer to that time (1 Peter 4:7). Following God’s gameplan and the Savior’s strategy, we can’t lose—unless we give up (Galatians 6:9). Never give up (Luke 21:19). God never gives up on us (Deuteronomy 31:6, Romans 8:28).