Over the past several weeks I’ve had many ideas for blog posts: political issues, the Josh Duggar mess, story ideas, updates and everything else under the sun. Yet my blog sat empty and there was nothing new. The creative juices just haven’t been flowing that much lately, and I’ve come to find out why. I’ve recently been in something of a valley, a wilderness, a dark side cave. My race took me to the swampy surface of Dagobah and I’ve looked inside the helmet of my enemy. I’m glad to be on the other side now, and I have a few thoughts to share if you’d like to listen.
One of the hats I wear in my life is that of a Youth Group leader. I help plan activities and meetings three thursdays a month for a total of about forty kids. I’m part of a great team, and I think we do our job of helping our youth see their need for Jesus. Our topic of late has been Family. Our church as a whole recently went through a big family kick. It’s been clear that God has been driving this concept home. We used the story of Joseph to show that sometimes our family does things that hurt us, and even if they’re the one in sin, it’s how we respond that pleases God or not.
Our catch phrase for this series was “ditch the dark cloud.” Over the past week or two, I’ve been preaching this, but not paying attention to it myself. A dark cloud had formed over me that was brought on by my reactions and inner-monologuing about a couple different life situations. I was more focused on myself and my own journey, than being mindful of Han and Leia being captured by Imperial forces. My real world situations have been resolved and I’m happy to say the relationships that were in the balance have been restored.
During one of the hard-but-necessary conversations I’ve had over the last week, I said the phrase: “Forgiveness is a wonderful thing.” It was a heartfelt saying that fit in the moment, but it now has me thinking. Forgiveness is a rather important tenet of being a Christian. If I’d held onto my frustration and anger I’d have stayed on a dark path that we all know the end to: becoming a Sith Lord. Over the course of the Star Wars movies, we watch as bad dialogue takes young Anakin down a path of frustration that leads to blind hatred. *Spoiler alert* In the end it drives him to hurt his wife, and try to kill his best friend. I don’t want to be a Sith Lord, they’re so dark and brooding.
I’ve ditched my dark cloud and am continuing down my path to the Light. I’m reminded now that life is about Him and not me, or someone else’s bad day. Not everyone loves Jesus every second of the day. We as Christians need to be mindful of others, and ask “How can I pray for you” rather than “What the heck is wrong with you!” This decision needs to made every day and we can’t be lax. My life is at a very good place and this valley was a testing, a proving, a diving board to a stronger walk.
How is you walk with God right now? Are you in a valley? Are you on a Mountaintop? Or are you trudging up the cliffs? Take a look at the first chapter in Ephesians, where it tells us “He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” God wants us. He wants you. Put your hope in Christ today, and make the hard decisions that will please Him. That’s my new challenge, to consistently make those hard decisions. What is God asking out of you today?
Kathy N. says
Great challenge. I shall accept.
Jan Smith says
Almost always, when trying to get an important point over to others, God deals with us 1st. We can’t rightly teach what we don’t practice & and I believe the best kind of teaching comes from experience we’ve walked out – you just became a living stone of example for your group & all those around you! When we walk through those Dark Valleys, our Shepherd’s rod is always there to count us, keep us on the right path, & correct us when needed. His staff is something to lean on, a support. Together, the two words, rod & staff, paint a picture of a strong, protective Shepherd whom we can trust to keep us from that desire to go to the “Dark Side”. Thanks for making right decisions and being someone trustworthy to those who are watching how it’s done.
Josh Smith says
Thanks, Mom 🙂
Jan Smith says
Amen brother! I use the phrase “in a funk” but it means the same thing. I just came out of one about a month ago and was finally doing really good. Then I felt myself slipping back into it in the last week or so. I’m pretty sure that when we’re making the most forward momentum is when evil spirits work their way in and drag us down. We just have to keep pushing and making the right choices, especially when they’re difficult.
Josh Smith says
That’s so true! I know my funk is due to progress and decisions I’ve made in other areas. Guess I just need to put my big boy pants on and press in further!
Jan Smith says
my friend (Molly N’s mom) posted this today and it is really encouraging me:Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
I went and looked up the word persuade and it brought more depth for me. Cause (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument. to prevail on, convince, induce, win over, bring around, influence, sway,cause (someone) to believe something, especially after a sustained effort. I LOVE it even more that the original Latin means “through to completion”! Whether it is Jesus, our friends, or at times our own self doing the persuading – He always brings us through to completion! Know that you are not alone when facing “a funk”…
I hope this encourages you all as well today.
The FaithBook says
Been in a “Dark Side” funk myself lately so its good to know I’m not the only one (and even better to be reminded there’s a way out). Thanks for sharing!
Josh Smith says
Be encouraged! Cathy and I are here for you guys.
The Wife says
well said, Love.
so proud of you