Yes, it has been from the last time that I’ve been actively contributing to the blogging world — a very long time. Sharing my faith online and living it out at the same time is not easy. It challenges me to be more honest, accountable for my mistakes and shortcomings, vulnerable in a way I am not comfortable with, and the most important, quite frankly, it takes a lot of inner work and willingly battling through darkness.
I have to be honest. I don’t always find myself looking up towards His Radiant Light. There were days when I was battling through my inner darkness, afraid of myself. “Trust everyone. Just not the devil inside them.” Something I heard from the Italian Job movie. And I guess you could say, I didn’t trust the devil speaking deep inside to me. It got so dark that sometimes, I couldn’t distinguish the Voice of God from the snares of the devil. What’s so scary about being in the dark is, that you don’t know that you’re there until you finally get out, and what lures you there is not one major and obvious event, but little simple decisions everyday… Like a witch, luring you into her house with a path of candy on the floor. One day, it’s forgetting to pray. The next day, it’s forgetting to read the word. The next day, it’s not wanting to go to prayer meetings. The next day, it’s neglecting anything associating with religious believers. The next day, it’s judging other believers for no good reason but your own unforgiveness. Then, before you know it, the little seed of bitterness planted into your heart has turned into veins of poison ivy. It no longer beats to songs of praise and worship, but it has turned black and heavy like a starless sky on a dark night.
I know the dark. And right now, I am far enough away from it to talk about it so candidly. Thank You Lord that I am living in Your Light and I am now very in confident saying this. I’ve been in it long enough to know where I am and now, where I live. I live in Your Light.
I have to be accountable for my mistakes and shortcomings. I know how I was led into the dark — I was hurt. People usually associate me with being a strong person, but I was hurt in a way that made me appear weak. I wasn’t used to being weak and vulnerable. Vulnerability was something I stayed away from, and the friends that I had gained from the time of my weakness don’t know my strength either. The people I met and got to know when I was weak, only know my weaknesses. I had become more and more sensitive, easily hurt, because I was already wounded deeply. I didn’t want anyone seeing me so vulnerable or weak, my pride got in the way. So I stayed away from the people that could have been able to help at the time — but God is so good. He was walking with me, even while I was being lured into the darkness. My eyes were mesmerised in the dark and I could only focus on one thing, my pain. But the Lord was (is) my strength — my shield and my shining sword — even if I couldn’t see Him or feel Him. He was fighting off the devil and He conquered him. Even without me knowing. Once the devil was powerless, the Lord took me into His arms… and I was able to open my eyes again in His Light. The first thing I did was cry without any knowledge or understanding of why. Maybe it hurt too much to be in the Light again. Like how your eyes are blinded by bright lights, my heavy soul was not used to all this abundance of Love that the Lord had (has) for me. I was in the dark too long that I just cried like a baby. And the more I cried, the lighter I felt.
I had (have) to be vulnerable, especially when uncomfortable. And after my encounter with darkness, vulnerability, comparatively, became easier to live with. I would rather be candidly weak in the Lord’s Light, than appearing strong in the devil’s darkness — the Lord has conquered my pride. I would rather trust the unforeseeable Promises of the Lord, than focus my eyes on the clear paths of past pain — the Lord has conquered my fear. I would rather love those who do not love me, than hate the people who hurt me — the Lord has conquered my unforgiveness. He has done all of this because I allowed myself to be open to the work that He can do in me. I allowed myself to be vulnerable to His Love.
I have to do a lot of inner work. Journeying with the Lord means that you have to look at yourself honestly but lovingly, acknowledging that you make horrible mistakes, humbling yourself when you feel like you have done great things (nothing is possible without the Lord), embracing the fact that you are weak but the Lord is strong, not succumbing to self-pity nor inviting others to your pity-party, knowing that you are just as capable as the next person in doing bad things too. Inner work is authenticity and being genuine. Inner work is knowing who you are as a person and who you’re not. Inner work is like consulting your everyday conscience or therapist. Knowing your own human disposition, having awareness — words that I’ve heard often growing up in my 20s. Reflection, contemplation, meditation. Inner work. There’s a whole lot of work in the inner work. And nobody really sees it or values it. The results of this inner work is not tangible. It’s not something people give you credit for. It doesn’t add to your reputation, or honour, or influence or power. It’s not something you can brag about on social media. But inner work is delighting the Lord. Inner work helps us develop the gifts of the Holy Spirit that the Lord so values. It’s joyous work.
I have to willingly battle through darkness many times. Part of inner work means you have to journey into yourself. There are things that you might not want to face, but you have to willingly and voluntarily hold the Lord’s hand and walk right to it. I have to rephrase my statement though, because it is not you who will do the battling… the Lord will battle through your darkness. You just have to continually be open and walk in. He will bring your darkness to light.