This past Saturday night, I did something that I have not done in many years. I stayed up nearly the entire night. The worst part of it was, I didn’t do it for any good reason. I stayed up watching football, watching movies, playing games on my computer, and just surfing around the internet reading sports articles. Unfortunately, these activities have defined too much of my life over the past couple of weeks. Over the holidays, I found myself in a little funk. I was detached, disengaged, and just distracted.
Some of you may be reading the things listed above and thinking, “I don’t get it. What’s the big deal? None of those things are hurting anyone. At least he isn’t talking about drugs, alcohol addiction, or some kind of sexual issue.” Honestly, for me, consuming myself with these seemingly harmless activities was achieving the same goal as alcohol or drugs would. Watching TV, playing games, and surfing the internet were just ways of pulling away from God and avoiding the plan and the purpose that He has for my life. Avoiding that call on my life not only has a negative affect on me, but it also has a negative affect on my wife, and any other person that God has called me to minister to.
At a little after 3:00 AM Sunday morning, I finally made my way into bed and laid there next to my wife. I was still having trouble sleeping, which is very rare for me. The sense of peace that usually accompanies me when I go to bed was simply not there. I thought about the past few weeks and how they were impacting my life and the people around me. I thought about how that evening I had wanted to go to bed so many times, but was consumed by my computer and the television. I couldn’t help but realize how helpless I had felt and how much I had distanced myself from the voice of Holy Spirit. Before I knew it, tears began to pour from my eyes. Conviction and repentance hit my heart in a way that I have not experienced in a while. I was sobbing uncontrollably, to the point where it woke up my wife. I know a pastor that has coined the phrase “ugly crying”, and that definitely describes me in that moment.
I had to go in the other room so that my wife could sleep. I proceeded to cry, sniffle and blow my nose for about 20 minutes. It was by far the most wonderful 20 minutes of the last month or two of my life. I was feeling so convicted, but at the same time I was so excited because I knew God was setting me free. It was the sincere and honest repentance that I knew was necessary to get me back on the path that God has called me to live.
Last night at church, one of the speakers was talking about taking blind-sided hits from the enemy that shake us up, knock us down, and gets us off course. I know that is what had happened to me. I took a hit and had gotten knocked down. I may have found my way back to my feet (i.e. still reading my bible and praying throughout the day). However, I had not regained my focus and started running towards Jesus again. I was not moving forward in my purpose with the power and love of Jesus Christ as my foundation. I had just been going through the motions.
I believe that this can be a common story around the holidays. The good things, such as spending time with loved ones and having time to recharge, can be accompanied by many distractions that are designed to do nothing more than diminish our God given destiny. However, we can still have hope. We can rest assured that the same Great and Mighty God that found us and saved us, is the same God that still walks with us every day! He didn’t just pick us up off of the ground initially, but He stands beside us eager and ready to pick us up and get us back on course anytime that we slip and fall.
I just want to encourage you today if you are feeling at all like I was, your breakthrough is just around the corner. God didn’t save you, pick you up, and bring you so far along just to leave you there. He still very much has a plan and a purpose for your life. Just like He was the only one who can save you from your sins, He is the only one who can truly pick you up and keep you running towards Him. He longs to do that for you! He is the one who saves us, and He is also the one who sustains us!
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).