But I don't boast in my weaknesses and struggles to wallow in them. I don't talk about the valleys I've walked through to mire myself in negativity.
There is something out there these days that really irritates my soul. It is this pressure to always be positive, and continually project strength, even in the church. It's like some people believe that the purpose of the Christian journey is the pursuit of happiness. I think they've gotten the Christian journey confused with the American Dream, even then, the latter has proven to be a failed enterprise.
I don't want to wallow in the dark valleys of my life; neither do I want to project an image that I am always standing tall on the mountain tops, undisturbed and untouched by the realities of this life. I take my cues from the grand story that unravels in each of the books of the Bible - there are glorious chapters where people are absolutely getting it right with God, and there are ignoble chapters, where only God remains faithful.
For one whole year now, I've struggled with releasing what God has been prodding me to release. I struggled because I couldn't make my story fit the popular "praise God, I am so blessed" narratives or the "everything is great, woohoo I am a strong Christian" narratives out there. Please don't get me wrong, I absolutely believe I am blessed, and even when times are hard, gratitude to the One who loves me the most, anchors my heart like nothing else.
I struggled to let my story be heard as my testimony of who Jesus Christ is in my life, because in order to get to praises, I have to inevitably talk about the tears. In order to tell people how God has become my Refuge and salvation I have to dig deep into the wells of pain, shame, loneliness, anger, and disconnect, out of which He drew me out with His incredible mercy.
I have to share the story of my sorrows and be identified with the Man of sorrows, in order to be identified with Him in His glory in my life.
We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
To talk about the resurrection power of Jesus in my life, I have to talk about the darkness and death that He continues to raise me out of.
I don't know about you, but for me, to tell my story, I need to lay bare my broken places. To testify to the power and glory of the gospel, I must boast in my weaknesses.
And in the process of becoming open before you in this way so that you may see how much my Jesus loves me, if I go off the track of the "positive thinking" narrative that the world glories in, then so be it. If I don't fit into people's empowered, perfect Christian images and idols, then let that be also.
I didn't walk through the dark valleys of my life, paying huge costs only Jesus and I know of, to dumb down the glory that Christ is offering me through my boast in His strength in my life.
I cannot be silent any longer about the pain in my life that receives its healing in the joy of being found in God's heart.
I don't know about you, but I must testify to what I know about the love of God, and in doing so, I must speak about the negatives.
I must stay true to the Witness of the Holy Spirit.
And if the telling of my story, offends you, let me remind you that you are free to move on. I am not trying to convince you of truth in my life. I am not even trying to teach people the lessons I've learnt from God.
I am simply here to tell you what Jesus has done in my life.
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.