Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Trials and Temptation

"Life isn't meant to be lived in one place."

That was the first half of a quote that encourages us to travel and experience the world. But for what I'm going to talk about, I just used that first sentence.

Life is a mountain. Wherever you are on that mountain reflects where you are in life. Let me explain. There are plenty of different places you can be on that mountain. I'm going to talk about three. Firstly, the very bottom looking up. Everyone starts here and ascends. That brings us to the second checkpoint which is the first few challenges. A majority of people quit here because it's too hard. Thirdly, those last moments before we reach the peak. That glorious moment. We have reached our goal. What we don't realize is that life isn't meant to be lived in one place. That is one of the many mountains that we will escalade. We will never stop climbing mountains until the day we die.

For the last couple of months, I've personally experienced life at its fullest. I felt as if Jesus was by my side as soon as the morning dawned as I rose and when the evening dusked. It has been the most amazing feeling I've ever had. I would wake up and reflect back to the fire I had in my heart from the previous night. Red and hot, the fire was still burning inside. Even throughout the day, that fire was my joy and smile. At night, it would grow bigger and brighter than before. Life was perfect looking down from the mountain top. But then something happened. That mountain was shaken. Life no longer was perfect.

Today is Tuesday, December 2nd in the year 2014. Unlike the last two months, this day was different.  I had just climbed a mountain the last few months and today, I started a new one. It began with my mom waking me up and asking me a whole bunch of financial and career questions. Just so you know, I'm still in bed half awake. I dislike waking up to questions, my brain is still warming up like computers do when you turn them on. She asked me if I wanted to ask for work at a cabinet shop I use to work for. The manager there is very flexible and generous. Because I had the next few days off, my mom suggested that and I declined because I hadn't planned that in my day. To be honest, I hadn't planned out my day at all. Minutes later, Justin left for work with my mom. It's just past 9 when I heard the home phone ring and that's what got me up. As I rise, I start to feel guilt and shame for not working. The way my mom bugged me about it seemed like I do it or suffer. And that was the truth. I've been struggling with paying the bills and recently applied for a credit card. The day before, I had returned my car because of the engine problems it was experiencing. I was in a rut.

Starting my day, I turned on some music as I prepared breakfast and washed the laundry. Feeling hopeless, that burden still laid on my shoulders. Dangerous, negative thoughts were running through my head. "Life is too hard, you should quit fighting and let things happen." "The struggles you are fighting against are pointless." I believe those lies in my head but deep down in my heart, I knew they were wrong. I couldn't help but set aside my hearts opinion. This one song came on by For Today called O Come, O Come Emmanuel. They had customized it and at the end of the song the words were "take your victory, bring redemption." That fire inside of me lit up again and I started dancing.

At this point, I thought everything was going to be okay. That was a lie. Faith is a constant battle. We will be fighting it until the day we die. Within the same hour, I had fell back into that hopeless cycle as I headed in town to apply for another part time or full time job. I came home after a few hours so that my mom was able to use the car. Again, I was home alone after she left.

I'm writing this a week later so I can't exactly remember the sequence of events fully, but I remember sitting down to blog when my mom has left for the second time that day. Feeling inspired, the Holy Spirit was encouraging me through thoughts and music. I went back and forth from writing to laundry. At one point, I was listening to Tenth Avenue North. Not sure what song was playing, but as I listened and believe that profound lyrics that touched my heart, I fell on my knees as I dropped the shirt I was hanging up (who cares about getting a shirt dirty). I felt the presence of God so deeply in that moment that tears immediately filled my eyes like I was punch in the nose. In that moment, I surrendered back to Him and prayed for freedom in those areas where struggle had lived. No longer was I a slave to poverty and "the way things are." I'm fighting back and taking what the enemy has stolen. Not only that; God gave me the mindset of taking back what the enemy has taken from my generation. Not just money, not just cars, not just broken hearts. Everything the enemy has taken from His children; my brothers and sisters whom I love very much. Satan has no power in the name of Jesus. And that's where I stand. That mountain I had just started on Monday, I finished climbing Tuesday night! The next step is thanking and praising Him but also asking the question: what is next Father? We have more mountains. Like I mentioned earlier... "Life isn't meant to be lived in one place."

What is your mountain?