When I was in college, I assumed that the way I approached God then would be the way that I would always approach God. I assumed that my connection to him would always come in the particular ways it was coming at the time, that the way I worshipped the Lord would look the same for my whole life.
And, really, because I am no prophet and actually don't know what's going to happen in the days I am given, I could have been right! I could have walked through my days connecting with him in the ways that I always have from the time I first became aware of his mercy. But I am writing this today to say that if you do indeed find your relationship to God shifting in ways you weren't expecting, in need of a new way of approaching your Lord, be not afraid and be not discouraged.
Around the end of the first semester of my senior year of college, I began to feel what I can only describe as an itch from the spiritual clothing I had been wearing for years. These clothes began to fell too tight and they just didn't fit like they used to These clothes had me feel safe and secure and loved since I was 16 and I was, and am still, grateful for how they held me in, kept me warm, gave me a sense of belonging as a new believer in high school. But as time went on and as I grew up, it became apparent that something was going to have to change, that something was going to have to give in my relationship to the Lord.
And so I can see now that one of the most gracious things God has ever done in my life was him helping me to shed the skin, the clothes that no longer fit and giving me new ones that allowed me to breathe easier. These new clothes came in the form of new spiritual practices, a new church of a different denomination, and true reprieve from all of my endless striving that kept me from just flat-out accepting his love. It is so like him to help us catch our breath.
I couldn’t have imagined at 18 where I would be now at 23 and thanks be to Him, it’s not the same exact place. I have no disdain for my 18-year-old self, new and fresh to college, wide-eyed and hopeful as could be. I wouldn’t have traded that time. But I wouldn’t trade either the confusion, wandering, stumbling and even the pain that has lead me to where I am now. I know God better for it, and I know him differently. He has won my heart anew.
Should you find yourself feeling upside down and backwards, scared and confused and wondering where he went, allow yourself to look for God in places where you haven't looked before. You might be surprised by where you'll find him. For me, I find him in a little Anglican church plant, his presence thick among a body of believers reading prayers written hundreds of years ago by people we won't meet on this side of the kingdom coming. I find him meeting me at the altar where I kneel and receive his body and blood, week after week after week. He has clothed me, as he promised, in righteousness and in grace and in mercy and I almost (almost!) forgot how cozy it is to be in his embrace.
Kelsey // @kelskingmiller