Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
And my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior.
Just a little tidbit & some food for thought: how many times have you heard this song? Too many? (That’s not even a thing, but yes, it has been overplayed in the past year). I think so often we attribute this song with moving into new seasons where we will be in new territory & seeing new faces & encountering a new environment, but have you ever listened to this song & just thought about everyday life? I hadn’t, until today. We must recenter our focus to Him every single day. Every single morning. He gives us new mercies, we give Him our heart. Day in and day out.
I closed my eyes & listened to it for what felt like the first time this morning. I thought about my college campus & how, for the next three & a half years, it’s sort of inescapable. Not in a bad way, but I know how to navigate it & move throughout my day & it is familiar to me. And I find comfort in knowing my surroundings, so I think I don’t have a trust issue with Jesus because I am comfortable. I’ll go ahead & be the one to laugh at myself. HAHAHA. You, Jenna Johnson, do have trust issues with Jesus. And I think we all do to an extent. Trusting Him is getting up & moving even when you want nothing more than to lay in bed & let yourself soak in the depths of your sadness. Trusting Him is learning how to let other people love you every single day. Trusting Him is learning how to love yourself. Trusting Him is understanding that He will keep His promises to you. Trusting Him is knowing that He will provide for you, in the ways He sees fit. I do think that trusting Him can come in baby steps. No, this isn’t full submission & surrender, which is ultimately the goal, but I’ve been trying to hand Him little things, one by one. Is this good & do I suggest it? No, but while that isn’t matching the ultimate goal of pure surrender to His love & plans for your life, it is something. It can come one day at a time. Progress.
That brings me to something else I have been learning to take in & let seep into the darkest crevices in my heart: there is no room for fear in love. Fear doesn’t get to rent or buy or store space in your heart. There is no vacancy in your heart when love arrives.
I got a text from a dear friend this morning & it read:
“I don’t know if you’ve ever sung the word “magnify” in a worship song or heard someone say it in a worship setting, but that word means 2 different things 1) to glorify or extol 2) to make something larger visibly. Both of those apply to our spiritual lives. We magnify God (glorify Him) but also we should look at Him almost as if through a magnifying glass to make Him appear larger to us until we see Him bigger than all of our problems. That’s one way to rise above circumstances that you’re stuck in… Take your eyes off of the problem and look only to the problem solver. We were made to glorify and look to Him. He is already so much bigger than your troubles, but your reality says something different which is a lie. Our reality SHOULD be that God is bigger and then we would never have a care in the world. Magnify Him. Glorify Him. Praise Him. Look to Him and continue to stay fixed on Him until you realize that He is everything you will ever need.“ KD.
Take your eyes off of the problem and look only to the problem solver. Oh, hi, hello, truth.
We had about 3 hours of staff meeting a couple days ago, and in the last hour where we were all back in the office, I sat in the corner of the room on the couch & just kind of sank back into myself. This will only be your comfort for so long. Your comfort will change. What makes you comfortable is always changing. And I just kept repeating to myself, “Take this in. Remember this. Remember your family. Remember how these people make you feel. Remember how they have been here for you & how it will not be like this forever.” And tears welled up in my eyes because I hate change. Sitting here typing those thoughts & gratefulness out, I think about a sermon that Beth Moore gave at Passion 2014 & the quote I have plastered on my journal from that time in my life. At the end of her sermon, she says, “You will get one time for this. One time for this. One time to be a benefit to this world. One time on this globe. One time for this to matter for souls around this planet. One time. Take your time.” And when you first read that, you might think, “Yes, I know that. I get one life. So what?” But zoom out. Think about yourself as being a blip on a radar. You are that small. But you are also being used by God for huge things. You are a vessel. Humble yourself. You get ONE chance. ONE time. ONE time for this to matter. Life is too short to live with the enemy telling us that we aren’t good enough, that we’re unworthy.
Your comfort will change. Your schedule will change. Your mood will change. Your surroundings will change. Your relationships will change. Your grades will change. Your job will change. Your love will change, the way you love will change. Your habits will change. Your life will change & unfold before your eyes. The tides will change & the waves will feel like they are taking you under. And God is constant. When everything else is turmoil & defeat & overwhelming, God is constant. And I know, you are probably thinking, “Jenna, why have you written about a constant God so many times in the past month?” Because I need it & you need it. I know that every single day I have to wake up & tell myself that He is constant. If everything else has turned to chaos & I don’t have any control over my thoughts & emotions, He is constant.
Another incredible thing I learned at staff meeting a couple nights ago: our sins are not our own. They will affect the people around you. BOOM. And I know, when we think sin, we think murder & adultery & lying & all of these things that could land you in Dante’s version of Hell. Sin is simple, actually & unfortunately. Sin is different works of the flesh: “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness…” and now I list these things off & think, “I am screwed.” But then, Jesus.
Does your life revolve around a neatly organized planner? Do you thrive in words of affirmation? Do you wish your life had certain aspects of other people’s lives? Do you strive for the approval of others? These are all sins that we’ve gotten comfortable in & just slip the same coat back on every single day of our lives. Throw it out.
Jesus came so that we might have life & LIFE IN FULL. It is already paid for. Washed clean. White as snow. Pure. Holy. Blameless before His throne because He fell in love with us. He traded perfection for brokenness because He loves us. He loves you. He loves me. He loves & loves & loves. Everything He does is out of His love for us. Plain & simple. Embrace your brokenness.
And that leads me to questions I’ve been asking myself for a while now:
Why are you so afraid of surrender? What are you afraid of? What the hell is it? Where does it come from? Where was it born? Was it born out of the fear of being unloved or unwanted or unworthy? Why do you think weak where Jesus says strong? What do you have to lose? What is it? What is holding you back? Why don’t you love & let people love you? Why don’t you trust? Where is the voice coming from that tells you not to trust? What makes you shut down? What is your biggest fear? What is it? Call it out. What are your doubts? I know you have them, so what are they? Pinpoint them & shut. them. down. Take it in. Recognize it. Recognize that voice of fear, but recognize God’s voice more. Let Him overpower that voice of fear. It pales in comparison to His voice. Learn His rhythms of unforced grace. Where you find Him, there His grace will be, more & more. And more good news: He is unmatched in wisdom & power & love & forgiveness & grace-giving. He is here, now. In your deepest fears & deepest doubts & the hurt in your heart, HE IS HERE. HE IS HERE. HE IS HERE.
I don’t know why He loves us. I know that we are unworthy of His love, but still He loves us. It is the mystery. We are unworthy & broken & dirty & He looks at us with love. Pure pure pure love. Just stop & take that in. We have done nothing for Him & He just scoops us up, orphans, & shows us the most beautiful love this world has ever know. How beautiful it is that He does not expect us to have everything together, but rather we place false expectations on ourselves. Let that free you. He does not expect what you expect of you. He loves you freely & joyfully, like a set of parents to a newborn baby, but even more so. No expectations, not reprimanding, not disappointment. Only unspeakable love.