redefined: this is who I am.
Hey! Good morning! I am really excited to be sharing with you on this cozy Saturday morning...I hope at least some part of this morning has been cozy for you. Whether or not that was the last ten second count down before you got out of bed, or if you're still in bed (like me), cozy is always good. Today is a free day for me. Both literally and mentally, I think. Literally, I have the day off. When I say I have the day off, it means from training. I love training, but this week was mentally hard and so to be able to sleep in and be cozy is one of the best feelings in the world. Literally free, well, that's where this post comes into play and sharing my thoughts with you.
I've been doing a lot of thinking lately (no kidding Katie...). I don't know what it is, but I often find myself alone and with my thoughts. Usually, this is a bad thing. Sometimes good though. When it's a good thing it is probably because I am considering how to move on with my day (will I watch a movie, will I go buy groceries, what time do I need to get up in the morning?, etc.)...all relatively normative and positive things. It's when I allow a window into my soul for the enemy to come and reside, that's when things get heavy and melancholic.
Now, I do not write this post for you to think, "oh here's Katie, ready to lie all her crap on the table again". No. You are permitted to think that, but you will be doing so with a misunderstanding of my intentions. My intentions are to share with you what is going on in my life, and to do so with the purest goal of being able to relate to you and show you the ways in which I believe God is working in my life.
So, here's the story: I had been feeling pretty underwater. Ever get that feeling? Like you're drowning in your own thoughts, an anchor tied to your leg that follows you wherever you go? I felt as though I could not be myself and I was being robbed of any pure form of joy. Joy always came in little spurts, and I always questioned it after. This had been happening since September. God had been testing the spiritual capacity of my heart since September. Well, technically since forever, but mainly since four months ago.
I think another synonym for what was going on is called depression. But I was never diagnosed with it, nor would I ever admit that to anyone. You can call me crazy, but I went from day to day with the same thoughts spinning in my mind: what about the future? am I good enough? no, of course you're not. The enemy had a permanent residence taken up in my mind. I had suicidal thoughts: what would happen if I slit my wrists? what would happen if I got into a bad car accident? what would happen if I let my car go into the ditch here? who would care?
So it got bad. There were a lot of tears. But in the meantime, however much of a hold the enemy had on my heart, my heart was yearning for Jesus. I would drop to my hands and knees in search of Him. Where are you Lord? I knew that my Father had not forsaken me, but I didn't see any prayers being answered any time soon. Life went from a great happy life to a life where God was behind the scenes, and however much I am not humble enough to admit, working furiously to get me to see Him and trust Him. Day in and day out, I would go from having a good morning to a poor evening. This affected everything - my schooling (which I cared very very little for last semester), my eating habits (I don't think I made more than 10 real meals last semester and lost almost 20 pounds), my sleeping patterns (insomnia some nights filled with plain fear) and my track endeavours (being set back on certain events and being held in a place of stalemate due to fear). Sometimes it would get to a point where I would cry on my knees and beg Jesus to give me an answer, any type of answer, because my heart hurt and my head hurt and I had no motivation for moving forward.
It is always much easier to look back on things and to have a good understanding of what happened, or how God shook things up. And God has certainly been shifting things, and like I said, very much behind the scenes I think, until recently.
With God testing my spiritual capacity, He made it clear to me early in January, in ways that I am trying to understand, how I am supposed to move forward in life.
Earlier in January, my team attended a retreat in Mission at Camp Luther. Camp Luther holds a really special place in my heart. In my first year at TWU, I attended the AIA retreat with some teammates and I came to understand what it looked like to humbly surrender my athletic endeavours to God. That has and always will be a working progress, and I don't think I will reach a day where I can fully say that I know what it feels like to do that completely. That is only by God's grace. On my second occasion at the camp, I fell head over heels for a boy that I had the pleasure of calling my boyfriend from 9 months. It was pretty great. We watched the stars together. I also got to know a lot more about the people in my classes and built on some great foundational friendships. So, going into the retreat I had a feeling that God would be at work. Why not?, I asked myself.
The entire retreat I fell deeper and deeper into a hole that I could not find any literal way of getting out of. I was filled with anger, jealousy, spite, frustration, sadness, misunderstanding - feelings not from my Father. At one point, we were called to complete a training exercise and on multiple occasions I left the room with tears welling in my eyes. I could not do this, I could not carry on with this pain.
At then at one point, God showed me something. In a twisted and weird way, God showed me my worth. He showed me that all my pain was not in vain, but that I was allowed to be free. Permitted to be myself, for fear of a future partner was something that I had been holding onto very tightly for the past four months. Fear of someone not accepting me for who I am. Someone not loving me. Someone not being able to love me and love Jesus at the same time. So many fears came crushing down in one final kick from God. Behind that wall stood a situation where I felt confused, but loved. I felt betrayed, but confident. If you were there at the retreat with me, you knew I had the biggest smile on my face. I was set free.
I called my best friend. I called my mom. I wanted to scream from the top of a mountain, I wanted to dance. But then something funny happened, and I feel like maybe God gave me a moment of celebration, but then said, Katie, your challenge is not over yet. Like in the reality TV show Survivor when they get an afternoon of food and luxury, but then have to return to their crappy camps at night. I was given twelve hours of freedom from the enemy, and it wasn't long before he was occupying my mind again. This time, I was prepared. Instead of trying to make myself feel joy, like I had been for so long, I knew that I was indeed capable of feeling true joy (I just had!) and I focused on that while putting on the armour of God.
After the retreat I returned home, excited and almost bouncy like. I felt like I was still on top of the world, but then I believe God started to reveal to me what the other people in my situation were going through. If I was free and filled with joy, then there had to be some way that these other people, regardless of their actions or where they stood in my life, could be joyful too. I wanted some answers and I needed truth, and God also revealed that to me. By His work solely I was able to reconnect with someone that I thought I had lost forever, and begin something new that I will admit, I am terrified for. In moving forward, I believe that the enemy still takes up residence in my mind, but he has now been downgraded to the bedroom under the stairs - I am working on eradicating him completely. I think he does that with all of us. The constant feelings of not good enough and this will never work rob us of the true grace that Jesus gives us and the way that He frees us, even if not in big and miraculous ways, but the little ways each and every day. I know he is there, and it is not my task to work every day to prove that he doesn't belong there, but it is rather my task to accept what God is doing in my life, proclaim and share it (not in the preachy kind of way, hah), and to love on others. Freedom is born through God's grace and love.
Finally, in a moment of extreme chaos this week, someone called me out on my humility and fear. They called me out on the way that I let fear run my life and the way that I lack showing God humility. So I am going to work on that. This mainly has to do with track, and I know now that since I am set free, I am allowed to move forward without any fear. Any fear. None whatsoever. What have I got to lose? What do I have to lose in giving God all of the credit and surrendering and trusting Him completely?
So, this is me. I am Katie. (I have always wanted to write that). Take it or leave it, but know that by reading this, you are welcome in a place in my heart, and now know me at a much deeper level than if you hadn't of read this. It has come to my recent attention that I am not alone in this - I know for sure that I am not. While I am still learning how to tread water, I believe that it is God that keeps this swimmer afloat and I know I have fellow friends (believers and non-believers alike) who need rescuing to. If you want to talk about this, please message me. We aren't meant to walk in His love alone, regardless of whether or not you acknowledge the love, feel it warmly on your skin, or choose to resist it altogether. There are a lot more ideas in my head (that are slowly returning to the good side...see my Star Wars reference?!) that I would love to share with you, so stay tuned for posts.
Galatians 5:13 was tagged in my Bible on my phone and conveniently is appropriate for this: It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't sue this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love, that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out - in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? (MSG)...16-18 are really good too, so you should probably check that out.