"Lord, where did the feeling go?" Closer than I thought, actually.
I have been struggling for some time chasing this feeling I couldn't explain.
I always thought I had the formula down pat. A certain amount of days this, a certain amount of days that. If I followed the pattern just right, I would find this feeling of happiness I once often had. Sometimes, the plan would work and I would reach that euphoric place. But then, something would come up and it would be gone. And it wouldn't come back.
Naturally, I start believing that something is wrong with me. Maybe it's some sin I can't get away from, or some stress at school that I can't release. And the more failed tries to reach that feeling, the more I just let the sin or the stress have more power.
But then I have a good moment with God. So now everything's okay, right? Well, for a couple of days. Then I find myself feeling worse and not getting better, so I step in and try to fix it. I think that I got this under control, that I can make this right. And suddenly, I find myself failing my own plan, and then failing in general. And then I'm in an even worse place than I was before.
What is going on? Why is it so hard to catch this feeling? All I want is to be okay. So why aren't I?
My sins are forgiven, my life is all planned out and being orchestrated by the hand of God. No guilt, no shame. I am saved! I am free!
I am free.
So why do I feel like I am still in chains?
That's when I do a root cause analysis to discover the real problem. I feel terrible, but I'm saved. I feel stuck in a rut, but I know I've been freed from sin and death. And I'm doing well. Not perfect, but well. That's all I can ask, right?
Then the memo comes quietly through the metaphorical fax machine: I'm missing the point entirely. It's not about how many mistakes I make or how I handle the stress. It's about Jesus.
And then I realize what's wrong. I'm living like I'm going through the same struggle I thought I was freed from. I am no longer bound to my mistakes, I am only bound to Christ and He has taken care of all my sins on the cross. Once for all of them. Seems like the only person who never understood that I'm free was me.
So I run into the arms of my Father who takes me in regardless of anything I've done. He's given His everything so I could run to Him. And I realize that the purpose of my whole life is to be with Him. And then I go back to life and, instead of seeking to do things right, I seek Him. And because I am seeking Him and Him alone, I live like the Christian I was called to be. Not because I am putting in extra effort, but because I am seeking Him and everything just falls in place.
And I find that feeling. All along, I thought it was something I had to do. Instead, it was just from being with Jesus and having His Spirit on fire within me.
And because I'm truly, truly free.