Faith and Failure

This week I finally admitted it. “I’m not sure I’m a Christian.”

I think my husband thought I was being dramatic. Hard to believe but I can be. But this time I meant it.

I have been a Christian my whole life. I genuinely can’t remember the first time I said “Jesus, save me”. He was always there. Throughout my teens and adulthood I’ve said it again, and again, and again. I’ve said it so many times it must be a given, but I’m just not sure I really get it.

And so here I am, at rock bottom. I’m done. I’m tired. I’m exhausted from trying so hard for 32 years.

I’m done doing half-hearted Christianity. The world is full of half-hearted, lukewarm, seasonal Christians and I don’t want to be another one.

Don’t get me wrong, I love God. I one million percent believe in him. He is creator of the universe, Father to the Fatherless, name above all other names. I believe in Jesus. That he came to earth to experience being a human, to set people free and to ultimately die an horrendous death and be raised again so that we could be inextricably linked to God. And I believe in Holy Spirit. That he lives in us and chooses to dwell with us so that we can have guidance, wisdom, know truth and be continually at one with God. I believe in the Trinity. In God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I believe.

BUT I don’t offer what God deserves.

I know I am a broken being. The whole point of Jesus’ death and resurrection and him leaving his spirit with us is because we fail, all the time. If we were perfect we wouldn’t need Jesus. But we’re not, so we do.

But I have a lifelong behavioural pattern that does not begin to do God justice. I explained it to some friends today as Jesus being like my right arm. He’s really useful. He uses me to do good things, he is an integral part of who I am. But if I don’t access him, use him, connect with him then it’s not the end of my world. Life is, of course better when you have use of your arm, but if you don’t then you still live and can do almost anything everyone else does. It’s an inconvenience but it’s not the be all and end all.

I want Jesus to be my heartbeat. My everything. The pulse in my every move, my source of life. I want to be so dependent on him, so filled with him that without him I would literally die.

But I have never got to that point. It’s not for want of trying. I’ve tried reading the bible and praying every day. I’ve tried groups, reading plans, apps, devotional booklets before apps existed. I’ve joined training programmes, moved onto a deprived estate with lots of other Christians to try and bring hope, I’ve worked for the church, preached, started blogging, vlogging and mentoring others about how to do the Christian thing better. I’ve nagged at my husband to make us sit down and study the bible together, and pray more. I’ve served on every church team going. Music, kids work, welcome, tea making, toilet decorating. You name it, I’ve done it. But in all of it, Jesus has never been my heartbeat.

I feel like I try for him to be my all but I fail. I have a history of failure. It started at primary school when I learnt to play the piano, then the violin, then the keyboard, then the recorder, then the cello and gave them all up. I am the worst orchestra…literally. Then I went to secondary school. I chose friends badly, got bullied and ran away to my next school. There I had friends but failed to study. I went to college, quit, got a job, quit, went back to college, failed, scraped in to university, quit…the list goes on. So failure has been a constant in my life.

But so has God. He is always constant. Always loves me. Why then can I not be constant back?

I know that despite my failure, God uses me. I know I can hear him. Recently, out of nowhere, God gave me 2 specific words for 2 separate people. So in my doubt that I can hear God I said to them ” I feel like God has told me something he wants to say to you. It is probably me making it up so please don’t take this as read and please test it but…..” And to my genuine astonishment these specific words rang clear for those they were given to. God wanted them to hear something specific that would alter the course of their thoughts and lives. Incredibly he used broken me to share it with them.

But I want more. I want more of him. I want him to have more of me.

This evening, I went to church and two dear friends prayed very insightfully with me. One prayed that God would take away any feeling of failure. (As you can tell, this has yet to take hold.) That I had not failed but God was building a catalogue of experience that he would use for my good and his glory. She also (in a bit of a strict voice) told me to stop. To not take on things that were my idea. To sit, to listen. Ouch! I am a constant doer. I can’t sit still. I like a programme, schedule, tick list. If I see a problem I want a methodical way to solve it. And I guess that’s what I’ve always done. If there’s a course, or a job, or a book, or a bible reading plan, or someone else I can depend on to make me right with God then I’ll try it. But I can’t recall ever just taking time out of each day to listen. Just a few minutes to stop, listen and do nothing else. Then the other said that tonight God would give me a song. Immediately after she prayed I had to leave to get home to swap childcare with my working husband (no way I could stay). I felt disheartened that she had not heard right. But she is on it. Jesus is her heartbeat so I knew she was right.

So I’m done being a lukewarm, half-hearted Christian. I want Jesus to be my first love. my heartbeat. From right now, forevermore. But I’m scared I’m going to fail. Again. Really scared. But I’m not going to give up before I start so I will start with stopping and listening. And the journey might be long, and hard but nothing else has ever been more worth it.

And here is my song:

Jesus I’m desperate for you.

Jesus I’m desperate for more of you.

In my brokenness, in my hopelessness, break through.

 

Jesus I’m hurting and I long for you.

Jesus every part of me needs more of you.

In my brokenness, in my weakness break through.

 

Be my heartbeat, be my life source, be my everything and more,

Jesus you’re the one, my purpose, I am free.

When you died and shed your blood for me all my failure washed away

Help me live as one forgiven and redeemed.

 

Every time your heart beats let my heart beat just the same,

Let me be consumed by you again,

Be my everything, have my everything, break through.

 

 

 

 

 

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