“Here we are again, Lord. Hard to believe it’s been over a year now. The blog lies bleeding to death in my absence. Down to just a few loyal family members who know I’m still struggling to make it work. Everyone else has gone.
Even I have gone.” –journal excerpt, June 2016
It’s been a year to the day since I last wrote anything on this blog.
A year of silence, of defeat…of failure.
Oh friends, how I wish I could say I took a year off to pray and reflect—that this silence was on purpose. I wish I could say that God and I had a long talk, and He told me to give up writing—that He had other plans for me instead. I wish I could say I was just being obedient to His calling, listening to His voice.
But that would be a lie.
The truth is, I’ve been ignoring it. Ignoring God. Ignoring the eager pulse in my heart that draws me towards words.
The truth is, I walked away from this calling. I gave up. Again.
It seems awkward, admitting to giving up when I’ve built this blog around the concept of an undefeated life. I don’t much care for this particular confession, but I feel it must be made.
I have fallen, friends. Hard.
And not just in the realm of writing. This year has been one of ongoing failure for me, in pretty much every area of my life—health, stewardship, relationships. The gift of a new job last fall brought with it a tidal wave of old struggles and insecurities, and I’ve been drowning ever since.
And in the midst of all these defeats, I lost sight of the undefeated life.
I lost sight of God.
If the way to an undefeated life is to live looking to God, then surely the way to a defeated life is to live looking to ourselves.
The more I have focused on myself over these past few months, the deeper I have fallen into despair. The more I keep trying to change things, the more I am convinced that nothing will ever change.
And, ironically, the more I’ve struggled to find the “best parts” of myself, the more I’ve lost sight of God’s greatest gifts to me and in me.
It’s amazing how quickly we can turn from that which makes us feel most alive, isn’t it? How quickly we can forget the truth. How eager we are to bow down to idols, to worship and chase after lesser things.
That’s precisely what I’ve done, friends. Cast my idols. Set up my golden statues. Worshipped the god of comfort. Bowed down to the opinions of others, chased after their approval. Exalted myself and my desires above all else, including family, friends, coworkers…and writing.
This year-long silence, it wasn’t on purpose. But it was a choice. A million little choices that left me hollow, empty, and craving a satisfaction my idols could never provide.
But sometimes, it’s in the midst of silence that we hear the truth most clearly.
Sometimes there has to be death before there can be resurrection.
And sometimes, God uses our “not-on-purpose” failures to work His glorious purposes in us.
Our God is unflinchingly faithful, friends. Our Savior Jesus is a relentless rescuer who stops at nothing when it comes to bringing His children home. And the Holy Spirit is a tireless ally in the battle against the darkness of this world.
The way to an undefeated life? It was never about our strength anyway.
One of my favorite worships songs right now contains this refrain:
By Your Spirit I will rise / from the ashes of defeat / The resurrected King / is resurrecting me.*
From the ashes of defeat. From our silence, our rebellion, our idol worship, our cowardice.
From all the ashes of this broken world, the resurrected King is resurrecting me. Resurrecting us.
Listen—really listen—to the words of this prayer from Paul:
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” -Ephesians 1:18-21
Did you catch that, friends? His power for us who believe is the same power that raised Jesus from the grave.
His power for us is resurrection, and His love for us is relentless. Even in the midst of our failures. Especially in the midst of them.
I don’t know where you’re at in your journey today. Maybe this is a season of victory for you. Maybe you’re living brave with your eyes fixed firmly on Christ. Maybe you’re walking strong in the path of the undefeated life, trusting your soul to the heart of the One who sees you.
If so, can I give you a big high-five? (Or a fist bump, or whatever the cool kids are doing these days?) That’s AWESOME. Keep on keepin’ on, girl! Your light is a beacon to those around you, and I pray you will shine brightly today!
But maybe today doesn’t look so bright for you. Maybe, like me, you find yourself in a season of defeat. Maybe you’ve been letting your eyes wander, fixing them on lesser things, looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places and coming up empty.
If so, can I offer you my hand? Let’s help each other up, dust each other off. I’ve brought some extra Band-Aids for our scraped-up knees and some extra truth for our beat-up hearts:
“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” -Micah 7:8
Don’t give up hope, my friend. The undefeated life is still within reach.
By His Spirit we will rise from the ashes of defeat. The resurrected King is resurrecting us.
Together, we will lift up our eyes, look towards God…and rise.
*Lyrics from “Resurrecting” by Elevation Worship