I’m not going in cycles…

I had never been away from home for this long. More so, alone. Never been away on my birthday. Never travelled alone. So this trip was literally a jump of faith and I thank God for making every day worth it.

At the beginning of this year when everyone was declaring their resolutions, I somewhat resented it all. Wasn’t new years day a day like any other? Why the hype? Scrolling through people’s Instagram posts one after another, each with a caption about new chances, new beginnings… Yet there I was, still waiting to hear from Him about so many things in my life. Waiting. All I knew is that I needed to surrender it all to Him. I’d have to leave my concerns & burdens at the foot of the cross and not come back, to pick them up again. I would need to mean it every time I sung ‘I surrender all’.

This was real sanctification guys. My goodness I’m such a perfectionist. I plan for everything. And I mean everything! And most times I’d present my plans to God, rather than asking Him what His plan for me was and following through with that. You see;

Perfectionism is just a high-end couture version of fear…just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified. ~Elizabeth Gilbert.

So letting it all go into His hands wasn’t so easy. Letting Him plan my holiday rather than strategize my way through the months. Choosing to be still (Exodus 14:14) in the midst of conflict rather than (in my younger brother’s words), ‘finesse my way’ through arguments.  Cycles of anxiety over the unknown and worry over what is to come. Such cycles needed to be broken.

Did I see it coming in the way it did? No.

I’ve been asked countless times, “Why Mzumbe?” “Why Tanzania?” “6weeks! That’s so long!”

All I can say, God needed me there to break some cycles.

Cycles of worry.

Cycles of fear.

Of self-reliance.

Of perfectionism.

Of too much planning. (A huge struggle I’m overcoming)

Before I left, I knew among the things I was going to miss was the sermon series we were doing at my church based on the book ‘Unstuck’ by Mark Jobe;  ‘Out of the cave and into your purpose’. It’s based on 1 Kings 19, the story of Elijah. Seeing a great prophet like him get spiritually stuck immediately after such a magnificent feat against the prophets of Baal at Mt. Horeb is what most amazed me.  Had he not just witnessed fire come down from the heavens and consumed a soaking wet sacrifice? However, after a loss of perspective and depressive feelings engulfing him, we see a man who isolates himself in a cave, hoping to die. Stuck. Can you believe it? Among the greatest prophets having suicidal thoughts.

Before you judge Elijah, just remember that everyone gets stuck at one point or another. You too, whether you admit it or not. How often do we hide in the caves, unwilling to confront our sin because it seems to have such a tight grip over our lives?

We’ve stalled on the roadside of our faith and refused to call for a rescue car; we don’t want anyone to see us while we are such a wreck.

My heart cries out each time I see a case of substance abuse. I may be able to diagnose it clinically in the hospital but I know that most of the time, taking drugs is fueled by unresolved matters in one’s life. Feeling of lack of belonging. Family conflict. Stress. Whatever it is, each time the matter arises, we run to our drug and hope that it satisfies us. We are addicted to drugs of self-sustenance& temporary pleasure; making a home in the caves. On and on in the same cycle. We isolate ourselves, throw a pity party over our sorrows, replay all the negative things in our minds like a broken record.

Anyone who knows me knows I love Jonathan McReynold’s music. His most recent album has a song titled  ‘Cycles’ , that’s God-incidentally about the same matter of getting unstuck. Dr. Darwin Jason said (in the comment section of one of Jonathan’s IG posts about the song);

“But see, if God wanted us to face and fight the devil alone, He would have given us our islands of solitude. God expects us to listen and support each other so we can see glory together. However, we cannot accomplish this if we struggle alone and let the devil keep us in our cycles.”

Nikki Alexander, on the same forum, also said;

“Satan is in his own cycle- he always loses.”

Can I hear an Amen! Which cycle have you fallen into time and time again? Which cave have you isolated yourself in? Are you willing to get out of it and face the sin that so easily entangles you? Definitely not in your strength, but by the same power that raised Christ from the grave. As crazy as it can be, we still walk in victory, for we live by what we know and not how we feel.

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes.”

~ 1 Samuel 12:16 (NIV)

 

Now, Im’ma put this song out there. For those who have ears, listen! I personally have had it on replay as a favorite since the day I got it. All the guys I was with in TZ probably remember me practicing the voice runs for the #Cycleschallenge over and over again! 

 


There is power in the name of Jesus to break every cycle. Do you believe that?

See you tomorrow for more from this series. #WhileIwasAway #42daysinTanzania