I’ve been slowly sharing a series of posts based upon what my panel answers at the Fearless Women’s Conference at my local church this past fall. In the first two posts I shared one of my wilderness journeys in “When the Unexpected Brings You Into the Wilderness” and my answer to the question “What fears and doubts previously held you back from pursuing Jesus with everything you have?” in the post “When the Unexpected Leads to a Crisis of Faith”
In this post, number 3 in the series, I’m sharing my response to these questions: In the midst of all the fears and doubts, it’s easy to fall into some unhealthy patterns. What has this looked like for you? AND the follow up to it, how have you stayed faithful to pursuing Jesus in the midst of doubt & fear? What are some intentional practical ways you carry out your faith?
I’ve heard it said that when you experience grief or when a season of suffering comes your way that you can either process it or numb it. Well I ended up processing it. This seems like the healthier option, but I struggled a great deal with unhealthy thought patterns as I processed.
To help me process my thoughts and emotions, I wrote. At first I journaled and everything was unfiltered. I would just pour it all out of myself. Then I would go back and ask God to help me separate the truth from the lies, to help me discern His voice in the mess of my heart that I poured out on paper. Eventually with discernment, I began sharing my grieving process more publically on my first blog. Writing by far was one of the best and most therapeutic ways of processing and finding my way through my wilderness.
And honestly, the processing, the introspection, the self-analysis, the writing, were all things that came pretty naturally to my personality type.
But there was also a great danger present for me as an introvert in this season with the isolation and from withdrawing further into myself and into my pain to process. Because I also did not have energy to invest in making new relationships (which was required in this season as a new Army wife at her first duty station), and so it was easy to slip into hiding.
But living in isolation makes us extremely vulnerable to the enemy’s temptations and lies and we can find ourselves more easily lost in the darkness. And so alone with my thoughts and myself, with no other outward community pouring truth into me, I could easily move out of grieving and fall into despair and hopelessness. And so for me, I wrestled with unhealthy thought patterns and the temptation to follow hopeless lies.
This is where I learned the power of lament and drawing near to God and immersing myself in His Word to combat the lies with truth. This is where I discovered that yes, when He drew near to me when I drew near to Him.
I had to let go of my expectations and lean hard into God’s Word. I would cry out and say to God, “If you are who you say you are, then I am going to press into that in the pain and difficulty. I’m going to call you on it God. I am going to let go of my expectations, I’m going to surrender everything to you, and live according to your Word and live in expectations of your faithfulness to your promises.”
In this wilderness season, with the fears, doubts, pain, and uncertainty, I learned to meditate on, proclaim, and pray God’s Word and it has made all the difference. I learned to live with an expectant heart.
And so, I showed up, as I was, with God. I prayed when I didn’t want to pray. I worshipped when I didn’t feel like worshipping. And every time I showed up, it was an invitation to allow God to work in my heart.
And lastly, I had to do something else I didn’t really want to do. I had to be intentional and seek community. I had to accept invitations that came my way and step out of my comfort zone—I literally had to step out. Step out of bed. Step out of my house.
In many ways, I forced myself to do the things I didn’t want to do because I knew I needed to. I knew my soul needed those things to survive.
I had to let God and people into my brokenness to speak truth and love into me and allow other people to be Jesus’s hands and feet to me.
In the next post, the final post in the series, I share my response to this question: Any words of wisdom to women who are in a hard season or maybe are just struggling with basic fear insecurity, comparison or doubt about how to keep saying Yes to God in the midst of those things?