This is my personal story, it has been hard to write and even to admit, but I feel it will be beneficial to you all! I was doing all the ‘right’ things, volunteering at the ‘right’ events, leading small groups, speaking on topics, praying regularly, worshipping in a band and studying a Theology course at a good college. To be honest, I thought my walk with God was pretty solid. I felt that I had most things in my life with God sorted. I was a mature Christian or so I thought! That was until earlier this year, I started going along to a ‘Growing Leaders’ course where I heard a talk on being more ‘attentive’ to God. To actually stop and listen to him. I am the sort of person, who doesn’t do stopping, but keeps going, no matter what. No one was going to get in the way of my dreams and ambitions. My personality was one of driving and pushing boundaries until I reach my goals. I took risks and went out of my comfort zone. I felt pride in solving my own problems and controlling situations independent of anyone else. If you knew how many hours of the day I dedicated to job searching and job applications, you would probably, wonder how I was a parent at the same time. You’d be right, at times, I sacrificed family time in pursuit of the perfect job. A couple of times, I ended up in tricky job interviews, with little wisdom and knowledge of the role itself. I wasted so much time trying to find the perfect job. This obsessive-compulsive disorder ruled my life. I could not switch of, not even for one moment, I had to keep going until I got what I wanted. James 3:16 says, ‘Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice’. Deep down in my heart, I knew what I was doing, but seemed to feel happy to mask the idea it was God’s calling on my life, to forget family and friends and uproot far and wide to God’s purpose. Is this true love? Is this coming from a sacrificial heart or a very damaging and selfish attitude? I fooled myself into thinking it was God’s will . Sometimes, we are called to far reaching places, but on this occasion my heart was being deceitful . Even after rejection from a number of jobs, which I thought God wanted me to have, I became impatient and starting blaming anyone in my destructive path. I would experience this bitterness and disappointment straight after a failed interview and with absolute outrage, that I was not the ‘one’ for the job. My anger clouded my vision and I could only see ‘red’. At this point, I questioned God often and didn’t really need much of God’s grace as I believed I was right and everyone else was wrong!
So one day, after another failed interview, I crumpled into a heap at the bottom of my bed and cried my heart out to God in desperation. This tangled web of a mess, which I had woven into my self-seeking life. I had this feeling of being trapped like a cage animal, with no way of escaping. All I had was a repetitive dead end job with little creativity. So, finally, I let out a humongous cry that resembled all the pain and hurt I was feeling in my soul. How envy and selfish ambition had let me down. It had betrayed my family, and friends to the lure of its wealth, power and fame. Its promises had been emptied of any truth. Begrudgingly, I finally decided to give up and hand over my control and rejection to God. God had to deal with this. There in the darkness, God entered in and met me in the quiet. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and revealed all the lies that the devil had made me believe. At that point, I literally had a break down, I was very low, I switched off all communication with everyone and buried myself away. Over the next few weeks, God spoke to me through writing a journal . I was up all night, listening to his voice.
Here, God reminded me of grace. I was an absolute sinner, and only came to this full realisation, by going to this place of pain. I needed far more grace than I ever realised. I was blinded to my own sin like Saul on the road to Damascus. Through the journal-ling, the de-tangling of the web began, silk by silk, enabling me to look deeply into my soul. I found that I had much sin that needed to be dealt with. But I had to get to my very end point to realise that God was pulling up things that I had lived with for many years. I really needed his grace to admit my failures. My absolute arrogance and judgemental behaviour was stopping me from seeing past my own nose! I relied solely upon my qualifications and achievements to get me to ‘pass GO’. I was critical of my husband for not having the same education as me. I was soo intent to getting my dream job that everyone and thing around me was hanging in an unbalanced manner. Can you imagine how I was to live around, in this state of existence? Never happy, just living in a state of existence, never content. To drive 400 miles up country in one day with a five month old at home, just in the name of a job, isn’t exactly the best way to evaluate the nature of a calling on your life. My dreams, hopes and ambitions were smashed to smithereens when that dream job never arose from fruitless interview after interview. I was crushed mentally, emotionally and physically. I was questioning God’s purpose for my life and his plans daily.
God though, through the pain was answering my cries of utter despair and hopelessness. I had been in a desert for many years. I have been humbled and still am everyday. God needed me to be humbled before I was useful for his kingdom(now I can see that!).
I now know what it means to be humbled by grace and not to think we are saved by our own good works and righteousness. Only God can make us righteous by his son Jesus dying on the cross for our sin . I was really trapped by my own human endeavour. The industry I used to work in before having children was in the outdoors. This industry was ruthless; everyone used everyone else to get his or her foot up the ladder. The ladder never ended, it just kept going. Having achieved my Mountain Leader Qualification – my obsession was reaching the top of a mountain whatever the cost, I would carry on whatever the weather and even if the route got tricky, I would not turn back but take big risks. Likewise, this behaviour became transferable in my study when applying for jobs. I became driven by this mentality that I must achieve as much as I could, no one could stop me. I didn’t care how others felt, their feelings weren’t put into the equation.
I am only here today writing this story because God spoke to me in those times of suffering. I know some of you are and have been through goal achieving too, God has spoken to me and his Holy Spirit is speaking to you now. I pray that God will show you his mercy, love, hope and grace when you fall to your knees to him today in repentance. We all need God’s grace, whoever we are, and whatever background we come from. Only by grace can we enter into his kingdom today.