As you can assume I have made a blog. Why you ask? Well to put it shortly, I have waited too long to share my experiences and beliefs in fear because of how other people would judge me or mock me. I have struggled my entire life with wanting to be perfect for others and be who they wanted me to be. I let these insecurities and disbelief in myself to fuel me.But I finally realized that I am not called to be like everyone else or even be liked by everyone. After years of repeating the words “I am a child of God” and “I am unique and meant to be me”, these words finally reigned true to me. That’s the short answer, but one day I will write the long one. I’m not sure how these things are supposed to go, so here I go:
Most people’s favorite time of year tends to be either Christmas or the summer break. It has something to do with the catharsis of that comes from being relieved of the pains and stress of school or maybe the presents that are given. But for me, it’s the time right after Beach Reach, a mission trip to South Padre Island over spring break where college students in campus ministries come together to serve the 70,000+ spring breakers who come from all over the world for a fun week. The goal of the trip is to show these spring breakers that in even the darkest of times, God loves you forever and always. We give free rides all over the island well as serve amazing pancakes (shoutout to the disaster relief crew for those hot cakes) and even pick up the trash that’s left behind from the day because it’s a way of service, but more importantly all of this gets people to ask “Why are you doing this?”. And bang, it’s our lead-in to the Gospel.
So yes, I leave here on a spiritual high that I don’t ever want to let go of. It’s right after Beach Reach that I feel free to shout from the rooftops “I LOVE GOD AND I WANT TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT HIM AND HIS AMAZING LOVE”. It’s the time where I feel on top of the world and so in tune with how I’m supposed to serve and love. But like any other high (drug induced or not), you come back down and feel broken or in need of another shot.
I may sound cynical for saying this, but that’s part of the reason I love this time of year. Now before you stone me, let me explain. I do not like feeling crappy or out of touch with God or anything that causes you to feel deflated. What I love is that after a spiritual high is a decision that we all must make: to either change your ways or to fall back into the same puddle of stagnant water that you were before the high began. What I love is the chance to put what I have learned into practice and evolve myself. I get the chance to take what has been showed to me and apply that on my campus. Of course, I am not offering to do free rides and midnight free pancakes for all of the University of Texas, I am talking about living the example I did the entire week on the beach and choosing to put God FIRST in all my actions.
You see, this is the typical way a spiritual high goes: You feel high or so for maybe a week or two if you’re lucky and then the decline happens. Life gets in the way, homework begins to pile up, your relationship with your significant other begins to crumble, hardships are put before you, money seems to be an issue, the friends you made are gone, you don’t like the current worship leader or his song choices, or even you begin to question who you are as a person. And then before you really even know it, you’re sitting at the bottom of this spiritual mountain wishing you were back up there. For me, all these things have been true. I remember always questioning myself saying “How did I let this happen?” and “I guess I’ll have to wait for another mission trip or retreat and I’ll be back up there”.
I hate to break it you and to my past self, but that is the worse thing you could ever do. This is what many Christians struggle with and it’s one of the worst problems my generation has to face. But that’s is not how the story has to end. There’s one story in particular that I think shows this. Matthew 17:1-8 says:
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
In this story, Peter is face to face with not only Jesus but also Moses and Elijah. I mean you can’t be with many other Holy individuals these. Rather than just rephrase the text, this is what I see: Peter leads this mountain with the closest to God he will ever be and now, if he already didn’t believe Jesus was the messiah, he does for sure. If you continue reading through the text, Peter will go on to disobey Jesus and deny him before his crucifixion. How could this be? He was so close and 100% sure of God. Simply put, Peter like us is not perfect.
The lesson from the transfiguration passage is this: We are not called to stay on the mountain. None of us deserve to anyways. But scripture makes it clear, we are called to bring people back up the mountain when we reach the bottom. Rather than waiting for another push of the Holy Spirit to help us up the mountain, Jesus commands us to go out and make disciples of all people of all nations. We are called to continue to do ministry and to continue to serve.
Things will get in the way and I’m sorry that is the case but it is going to happen. But if we continue to do ministry and serve and share the Love of God with all people, we will keep going back to that high we so desperately want.
As I type this, I am reminded of the words “Here my hope is found here, here I bow down”. I bow down to the cross and praise God for the amazing work that is done in all those that are around me. I thank God for sending Jesus to die for my sins and allow me to be a sinner turned son.
At the beginning of this, I mentioned that people love Christmas and summer break because of catharsis. The word literally means the process of relaxing and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions. This is my catharsis. I am relieved of the ways I have failed as a Christian and am built up to not fall back into my old ways.
My prayer for those that are already in a puddle of stagnation is this: I pray the spirit would revive you and lead you out. I pray for the barriers between you and God would be removed instantly and your wounds would be healed. I pray for peace of mind and that opportunities would begin to appear in your life so that you could grow and regain the life that God has set for you.
For those that are going through a spiritual high, I pray that you would submit yourself to God and relinquish parts of your life that you may have not given to God. I pray the spirit would continue to move through you and that you would be open to going where God leads you. And I also pray that for when you begin to come down the mountain, you would be moved to not loose sight of the glory that waits for you.
And so, I leave my first blog post with this: No matter where you are at, whether this is your favorite time of the year or season, God loved you and me so much that God sent Jesus to die on the cross for all of our sins so that we could have an eternal relationship with God in heaven. No eye has seen, no ear has heard the depth of God’s love. No mind can fathom the love we deserve, how great is our God indeed.