Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Relax, Relapse

Do you remember that band Panic at the Disco? Yeah me neither…ok I went through a phase where I listened to them every day. Sure, I didn’t know what most of the songs were even talking about at the time, but now I do and it’s crazy how random things trigger memories of songs that lead to titles of posts.

We’re friends, so I trust you. I have to tell you why it’s been so hard to blog lately (or blog and then not even post it on Facebook because I don’t really want anyone to read it), if you haven’t figured it out by now that is. I had a pretty rough last year. Not as bad as what other people go through, but certainly not great. I had to rely on God ALL the time. I had to pray EVERY DAY. I would cry on a regular basis for the state I was in. And through all that, God gave me all these wonderful opportunities to get away. To move to Australia, to work, to be in Texas, I knew it was a Godsend. I prayed that I would do what God wanted me to do in these places. I prayed that I would be a light to the people that I met and lived and worked with. That I embody the fruits of the spirit and that people would know on whose side I stood.

As you know, it went downhill as soon as I left school basically. It wasn’t that I was necessarily doing anything wrong, but I wasn’t doing anything right. I wasn’t even trying. When I left Arkansas, I left everything that I had learned and felt and I was free. Kind of. My life was perfect, so I had nothing to lean on God for. I was walking on my own and I chose to not walk away, but to just stand up on my own.

So over the course of the past 10 months I just lived. I met new people. I made lots of new friends. I got crazy over a boy and then got over it. I traveled. I loved. I ate. I adventured. I was free.

At a lot of times on this journey I’ve stopped and thought about God and the fact that I was no longer letting Him carry me. And then I changed the subject in mind because of the amount of guilt I had feeling like I had let Him down. I couldn’t tell to you about what I was doing or up to, because it wasn’t anything that pertained to my purpose. I felt like I had been given all this under the pretense that I would do great things with my opportunity, and I didn’t. I couldn’t tell you and let you down. So I didn’t tell you anything. I knew I couldn’t keep it from God, but instead of facing it and asking Him what to do next, I just avoided Him. I didn’t look for signs because I didn’t want to see His disappointment in them. I didn’t want a lecture about how I messed up this opportunity. I felt like I had been given $10 for charity and instead I spent it on whatever I could get myself.

I started blogging recently about nothings. They were rambles and a mere attempt to get back into it. I focused on the soapbox that I could stand on, because it’s easy for me to talk about what I believe in. It’s not nearly as easy to look in the mirror and tell myself to give up doing this on my own.

This weekend I was in Dallas and I went to church on Sunday with Danae. This was the first time in almost a year that we had been able to do so, and almost six months since I had last seen her. It was great! Of course. I walked into the church (late, sorry), and I knew she was singing in the choir so I just started looking for her onstage. It took me a while to decide which one she was. Not only does she look entirely different than when I saw her last, she was super passionate while singing up there. It was strange because I’ve never seen someone I know so well like that. Someone I care about so much, and want the absolute best for to exemplify something I want. Or I know I wanted at some point. I’m not sure what I want right now.

As the afternoon went on I got to know her cousin and her story and talking to Danae about how far she’s come and I was just overwhelmed. I told them that what I had been struggling with was knowing I was a disappointment but wanting to come back. I’ve just been so afraid that it was too late. Or maybe that I didn’t even really want to change. Or that I would mess up again. That this would make me a hypocrite. That eventually I’d use up all my get out of jail free cards and maybe it would be best to continue to not be perfect until I knew, without any hesitation I could do it. I couldn’t decide in the moment, so I thought I’d just wait it out. Despite the urge I had to tell you about my afternoon.

Last night I went for a swim. Try not to laugh. Yes, I’ve missed being in the water, and I know it’s a great workout so I gave it a shot and I’m terrible, but I’ll stick with it. All the lanes were full last night, so I asked a girl if I could share hers and she graciously complied. She obviously knew what she was doing and while I wanted to ask for help, I just kept to myself and continued to struggle. Then she started talking to me. I don’t remember how the conversation started, but I can tell you how it ended. She said something and eventually I asked for advice on breathing and she helped me and gave me some tips and was really helpful. She told me about when she started and the difficulties she had and it’s a lot like what I’ve been going through. She finished her swim and left and I stayed a while longer. When I went to pick up my things, I saw that she had left me a note. It said “You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.” Philippians 4:13 with her name and number. Now I know what you’re thinking, why would she do that? We didn’t talk about hanging out or go into depth about our lives. I certainly didn’t spill my guts about my struggles. And somehow you can’t look at this and not see it as a sign. Divine intervention. Sure, she was talking about swimming but when I read the verse, a verse we’ve all heard so many times, it struck a different chord.

I think that God was not only telling me that if I wanted to do this, I would need Him, but that it was ok. At church I had asked Him to just meet me where I am. I didn’t ask anything else, because like I said, I don’t even know what I want. That’s what He did. I didn’t ask for a sign and I didn’t specifically ask for forgiveness, but God met me where I was and just told me it was going to be ok. I realized that while I thought I was standing on my own, I wasn’t. As hard as I was pushing and kicking and trying to be on my own, I was never far from His grip because He knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. He knew I would fail. He knew I wouldn’t be perfect. And He knew I would be here eventually. But looking back on the past 10 months, I know for a fact it could have been worse.

So this is what I want you to take from this…

I make mistakes and I am a big screw up. And just because I don’t say it out loud or tell you, doesn’t mean God already didn’t know. He also knew that when I was ready for Him to meet me where I was, He would be there. I know that God’s strength comes with limitations or conditions, so I’m not sure why it was hard for me to accept the forgiveness He had already promised me. I don’t think that just because I’ve messed up, He’ll deny what I need. I can do it. With His help. I can mess up and come back and He’ll still be there with all the same promises as before. The same goes for you. Where ever you are. Whatever you’ve done. Where ever you stand, He’ll meet you where you are when you ask. You can do it. With His help. And He’ll do big things without being asked.

Relax; don’t be so hard on yourself. Throughout our lives I think that we will constantly be relapsing back and forth. Some mistakes will be really big and alter everything, others will be easy to recover from, but relapsing to sin is to be expected. Luckily, we always have the choice to relapse back into God, we just have to make some notion to let Him know.

I love you, and I’m human and am limited to human love. God loves you too, and He’s not limited at all.


  1. Thank you for this. I feel like I've been going through the exact same thing with my relationship with God lately. It's really hard to forgive yourself sometimes, especially when you make the same mistakes over and over. Guess you just have to remember that God still loves you even when you don't feel worthy of loving yourself.

  2. Amanda, this was an amazing post! I'm just now getting back into my relationship with God and I can literally feel my life just being better overall. The problems are still there, but I'm not trying to carry it all on my shoulders anymore. Glad to see God working through people in our lives. LOVE YOU and SO HAPPY FOR YOU!