When I started this series of posts, I said recovery would not be quick or painless. It would certainly not be mistake-free, either.
Before my crisis of faith began, my heart enjoyed freedom and happiness as never before. Faith was joyous and obedience was a delight. Now, it’s just not like that. Faith and obedience are difficult for me now, and I’ve tried to re-create that free and happy heart that made them easy.
That was a mistake. After trying and failing to hit the reset button on my heart, I’ve realized that no such button exists. All my effort and willpower won’t bring me back to that lovely state of heart.
It would be lovely if I had a reset button. It would be helpful, too. If I could work my will, I would hit that button and I would be in love with God. All my fears, doubts and battles would be a thing of the past.
But that’s not the way it’s gone. This crisis of faith was a game-changer. My faith is no longer this solid thing I thought it was, and God is not this lovely person I thought He was. So many promises in the Bible are still not coming true, and many of my prayers have been answered with pain and grief.
Even though the crisis is over, I still have some big misgivings toward God—not despite my faith, but because of it.
Two months ago, I said my faith could backslide despite all my efforts to recover. Up until this weekend, I had treated that as a moot point, a slim chance to be written off as a freak occurrence. But when my faith faced a test, God didn’t seem to be living up to His promises, and my solutions for winning spiritual battles seemed to be failing me.
This weekend, my faith and some life skills were put to the test, and the results were discouraging. That’s when a moot point morphed into a nagging pair of questions:
Last time, I was writing from the eye wall of a hurricane. Something bad happened two days ago, and I didn’t have any time to prepare for it. It was one of those things that are great at pushing my buttons, and I was trying desperately to keep myself from sinning.
I was being tested, and no mistake. Now that the storm has cleared, you could say I have my test results back.
Whenever we face sin or temptation, we need to have a strategy—how to fight, how to persevere, and how to deal with the unexpected. Without a strategy, we may be attacked when we least expect it, and we may find ourselves unprepared to deal with the pressure.
But sometimes we have a strategy, and we’re unprepared for the attack, anyway.
Victory is one thing. Getting there is another. I know what my daily battles and daily victories look like—but how do I win? What are my strategies? How do I follow God without burning myself out?
Until recently, I didn’t know how to answer these questions. My faith has been in recovery for the last three months, and I feel as if I’ve spent the last dozen blog posts rambling and ranting about it. But now, things are coming out in the wash, and these difficult battles are looking a little less daunting. Now that I have some simple, effective weapons at my disposal, I think I have a fighting chance.