Faith 101

Today’s post is written by our Brave Writer, Jazmyne Tamar Johnson 

2:00 P.M. Saturday afternoon. Although my curtains are drawn and block out the majority of the rays, I can still see the reflection of light on my bedroom walls; I turn my face into the pillow. For some reason, today, the sun reminds me of how much I do not wish to be alive. I’ve cancelled all my plans to curl up in my own self-pity and denial, hoping that my sadness will stop my heart from beating and that The Lord will grant me death. I don’t want to be happy; happiness always precedes sadness. How did I get here? I was doing so well… I was doing as I was supposed to; what happened? How do I fix this? It’s too much… my head hurts-it always does-and now my chest is tight like a vice holds it in its unrelenting grip.

But something else has its hands upon it, refusing to release it…More unrelenting and constant than my grief, more faithful than the beating of my heart, itself. A whisper, just barely audible for me to hear, spoken so softly that I had to question whether I’d heard it or imagined it. Silence…and then came the swelling of peace and life in my lungs; tangible like arms wrapping themselves around me and air being breathed into me from a life source. I inhale deeply for what felt like the first time in a long time. I could sense Him there with me in my filth, holding me and comforting me. “Let it go.”

Usually, the tears follow the peace, but today I can’t cry because I’ve numbed myself from feeling anything but worthlessness. I won’t let myself cry today; I find my tears sickening.

Why do you hate me, Lord? Then He called me by name. “Jazmyne! Let-it-go!” I felt my jaws loosen, my fists unclench, and my eyes began to swell with the tears that I’ve been blocking for so long. I still refused to let them fall. “Jazmyne, if you loved me, you’d trust me. If you trusted me, you’d obey me. You bargain with me to acquit your sins, instead of truly repenting to me and trusting that I’m yours, forever. Do you really love me or do you just need me for a season? Am I your Savior or am I your scapegoat?”

vulnerability

I never realized that I practiced a bargaining faith. Why do I profess with my tongue that I’ve “chosen” Christ when, in actuality, I simply “bought” Him. In exchange for joy, I feign happiness. In exchange for mercy, I feign redemption. In exchange for courage, I feign bravery. In exchange for eternal life, I feign faith.

Where does the actual line between agnosticism and reverence lie?

My hypocrisy in my faith is equivalent to blasphemy in my walk with Christ. I say that I believe in Him more because it is expected of me than my actually believing in Him. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that my entire faith is my “going through the motions” of Christianity. Quite frankly, I don’t think that one can just pretend to be Christian while actually doing as Christ does. The love will infect their soul to change, supernaturally and inevitably.

What I am saying is that I’ve always put off prayer, worship, fellowship, and reading God’s Word for what I wanted to do. My flesh is always hungry for that which God refuses to be a part of. As a result, my flesh is always weak in His absence. I fall more often than I soar and I blamed God for it, accusing Him of my hardships as I called Him a sadist and cruel.

Perhaps, if I spent more time worshipping Him and being sincere in my relationship with Him I’d know that I was causing myself grief by trying to live two lives at once. It gets exhausting trying to remember with whom to behave in which way without crossing personalities and habits. (It’s confusing to even say that). I had chosen to be Christian, by name, but my faith was in myself. I relied upon myself to bring my joy, my peace, my sustenance, and my purpose. I’m a flawed being created in the image of God. Meaning: I cannot provide anything that the Father doesn’t give. The replica never mirrors a feature not included in the blueprint.

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

-James 3:9-11

I cannot have these things until I actually choose to be like Christ with my life and not say that I desire them with my words.

Saturday marked a very important day in my faith. I heard God, I felt God, and I responded to Him. While I am still battling the feelings of worthlessness and depression, I choose to cling to hope. Every day I am consciously choosing to get up and try. I know that this newfound hope is through God choosing me every morning and breathing new life and purpose into me every morning.

I can’t pass by that sentence like it’s another line in a song that I’ve memorized without thought.

There are over 7 billion human beings on this planet.

The Creator of the Universe and The Giver of Eternal Life remembers my pains, knows my hurts and my sorrows; He recognizes my tears and my heart’s sobs. Who am I? Who am I that The Lord hears my cries from Heaven and chooses to comfort me? Even when I choose to do wrong and sin against Him, He’s still listening for me. He still wraps His arms around me and calls me Beloved. He still forgives me…

Perhaps, that’s the problem! I need not ask who I am to recognize the magnitude of His glory. I need to ask in reverence and humility “WHO ARE YOU, GOD? In my life, who do I say that YOU are and WILL BE?”

For the first time in my faith, I’m realizing that I’ve been focusing on the wrong end of the relationship. I’ve been trying to fix myself in order to be worthy of His grace and love my entire life…And I’ve failed because I wasn’t focusing on The One Who “Fixes” AND because that is not the way faith works.

Tuesday morning. I should be working but I can’t stop thinking about you. I feel like I should give you something but all you want is my heart. Who are you God? Show me how to love you.

Jazmyne is zealous for seeing God’s love reflected in the lives of the broken-spirited and the oppressed. She aspires to use her writing as a means to communicate His love to the world. Her dream is to help raise a generation of Christ-like individuals who help to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. You can read more of her work on her blog: http://writtenbyjazmynetamar.com.

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