"Be aware of no man more than of yourself;
we carry our worst enemies within us."
This morning was thick with fog. Part of our freeway was closed for most of the day, and sent me on a different route than I usually would have taken. One that wound through paddocks, scrub and bushland and fields with grazing cows.
It gave me a chance to examine an internal struggle I faced earlier in the week.
On Sunday I was blindsided. Suddenly there was immense doubt in front of my eyes and it shrouded my vision, my purpose and my identity - and I panicked.
For three days I was torn.
I spent that time struggling to make a decision about quitting university.
I was on the brink of giving up. I couldn't remember why I had begun in the first place, I couldn't see a purpose for it, or for my life and it was dark.
It took me the entire three days to make a decision.
I prayed, frowned a lot, forgot my best Jesus voice and got messy and real.
The strangest thing, is that the minute I had made my choice, and dug heels in the sand in determination to carry it out, the fog lifted.
It was as if a very loud, very annoying static white noise had stopped ringing in my ears.
As suddenly as I was blindsided by doubt to begin with, I had clarity.
I saw my faith grow. I rediscovered my drive, and my purpose. And in this new shining clarity I saw the lessons:
1. Don't be ruled by what you feel.
It might feel hard. Stressful. Painful even. In this moment. Feelings are fleeting and are not a true reflection of what is real and true. Yes, you feel it right now. You feel like quitting or running. Don't. Just wait... Waiting is part of the process. I wanted to give God a question, and have Him spit the answer (and the reason for the answer) back out at me. It turns out God does not work like Google.
2. Watch the tone of your thoughts. Those can be nasty. Change them. Pull them down. Replace them with a foundation of real Truth. Erwin McManus says "Whose voice did you allow inside your head to thunder inside of your soul and reform who you are?"
Your thoughts shape you.
3. Be careful who you allow to speak into your circumstances.
We can justify anything to anyone, and have them regurgitate back to us what we would like to hear. I wanted to phone a friend, text everyone and ask all their opinions.
But often that just adds more confusion. Quiet down.
If you need to work something out verbally, choose someone who won't just tell you what you want to hear; someone who knows your journey and who can point you back to the truth. Sometimes just a few words from a very wise friend can snap you out of the fog and remind you why you are doing what you're doing.
4. And there was a truth, before you started doubting it. Without a vision for our lives we actually die on the inside. Set the vision before you, set the Word before you. Remind yourself why you began. Examine your motives, pray, be still, and don't just choose the thing that is easiest.
5. Know who you are.
I have value. I have a purpose. I know who I am.
The minute I spoke these words aloud, something shifted in me. Determination came flooding back and I could see the finish line.
I feel like my vision has returned. I can see so clearly what I need to do - sometimes I don't understand why I'm doing it, but have a deep sense of knowing that I'm on the right track. There is freedom, and there is peace.
And I love this verse I read in The Message; If people can't see what God is doing they stumble all over themselves. But when they attend to what He reveals, they are most blessed.*
* Proverbs 29:18