I’m going to be honest. The last few months have been a bit tough, lots of things have happened including me leaving uni (you can read about that here) due to illness and trying to find a job and that has brought lots of difficult times especially for some one with anxiety. I started to get a bit bogged down by life and by everything that was going on and this included my faith. I wasn’t feeling the joy or the freedom that Christ brings and instead all I could think about was how to behave, the things I needed to do or say and making sure I wasn’t behaving in a way I shouldn’t.
I’ve been recovering from anxiety now for a little while and part of that process has been figuring who I am. I know I am not the same person I was when I started to suffer from mental illness so it wasn’t like I could get better and just be here again. I needed to figure out where I stood and what I believed in. I could see all my none Christian friends discovering things and going for amazing jobs and I felt like those were things I wasn’t supposed to do. I love fashion and beauty but I had got it into my head that they weren’t Christian and that a career following that path wasn’t what God wanted, even just enjoying them wasn’t right, they weren’t following the “rules”. But these were part of me, they were my hobbies and interests and where I was looking for a future career so if they weren’t what God wanted who was I? What did he want me to be because I didn’t feel like myself at all when I was doing all these things that I thought we should be doing.
I finally told my fiancé how I was feeling and that the joy had simply gone from my faith and been replaced by a sense of duty. We had a long conversation about it and then a few days later I found myself in church listening to a sermon on the Galatians and how they had become so obsessed with following the rules that they had forgotten what Christ had done, what he died to give them. Freedom. It spoke straight to my heart and I felt God saying to me Rachel, you need to listen to this, this is you, you have become a Galatian. Paul essentially starts off chapter 3 calling them a bunch of idiots and I realised I was being an idiot. It didn’t matter how many church services I went to or how many times a day I prayed or read the bible, whether or not I wore make up and stilettos every day, the only thing that mattered was Jesus. He had died for me so that I could go to heaven and all God asks is that we believe and love him. We don’t have to do anything because Jesus did it all for us. And that is where the joy comes from, that is where the freedom in Christ comes from. It’s about trusting in Christ for everything not about all the good things we do. The only way to get into heaven is by trusting in him. (You can listen to the talk here it’s seriously good!)
And so with this in mind I have decided I need a reminder of what Jesus did for me, I need to go back to the beginning and find my joy and freedom in Christ. Instead of giving up chocolate or buying shoes this lent I have decided to give up more time to my relationship with God. I’m going to go back to the beginning again and start with the gospels. Each day of lent I am going to read a chapter from Luke and then John (which works out as 45 chapters) and remind myself of what Christ did for me.
What are you doing for lent? Let me know in the comments below!