The Valley of Baca

“You don’t strike me as someone who believes in God.”

A complete stranger said that to me today.  I’ll be honest, it has rocked me to my core. I admit the past couple weeks I have felt like I’ve been a little stuck in a rut. I haven’t been sleeping well and I have no idea what I actually want to do with my life anymore, and my life has only just started.

In high school I had these dreams of grandeur that I could do anything, that the goal in life was to be a sideline reporter for ESPN and eventually the next Hannah Storm on SportsCenter. I thought that would make me ultimately happy so I threw myself into all the sports opportunities I could find. Producing, editing, commentary and writing for a sports magazine. CBS Sports internship in NYC for a summer. Baseball internship for a season. Coaching at my alma mater. Three seasons with the NFL and I loved it, but the end of that 3rd  season was the end of the dream. Not only because it’s difficult for a woman to break through that glass ceiling (many have done it and I admire their strength and resiliance), but because the sparkle had faded.

I moved on to find happiness bringing other people happiness in Vacations which is where I currently am – but with that comes a lot of complaints to handle. It’s all been boiled down to business and money.  I have this overpowering feeling of needing to make the world a better place. I told my parents “I haven’t done anything with my life. I haven’t made a difference”. And I don’t know how to either.

I’ll say I haven’t been as good about talking to God as I used to be. I could blame being “busy” but it seems rather that I turn to him when my back is against the wall and I’m asking for help instead of thanking him for daily blessings; the strength he’s given me to be independent, sustain a home & lifestyle, brought me closer to family this year… the little things that in retrospect are huge. I’m 28 and I’m able to do all these things on my own. For some my age, that’s not the norm. I came out of college debt free thanks to my parents. Not all new grads have that same opportunity – and they are competing for jobs that require a ridiculously experienced resume for entry level positions.

Thankful to be able to get back home to my church at Cornerstone a few times this year, I’ve felt the presence around me that makes me more emotional during services. Not quite the hands held high shouting Amen duing the songs & service, but more of a constant nudging that I need to look closer at my life.

When I was in High School there was a guest speaker who came into our youth group that I really connected with. I felt like he spoke straight to me and when they announced he would be joining the group on the upcoming ski trip I knew I had to go. I begged my parents to go although I think it was a stretch to come up with the money at that time – I remember hearing someone mention that “if it was meant to be, you’ll find your way there” and a few weeks later, there I was at Wisp with the youth group. I didn’t remember to bring my own bible that week, so I was nicknamed Gideon because I borrowed the hotel room’s copy but I remember being in a breakout room with the lights off, music up loud and we were just reflecting on our lives. There was a large wooden cross set up in the back of the room and we had a notepad, our bible and a pen. We were told to calm our minds, and just listen. Let go of all those burdens you were carrying because Jesus had already washed them away when he died on the cross for us. Once we were ready, we were to write those burdens on a sheet of paper and nail it to the cross. I sat there for a while, wondering if I was even completing the exercise correctly and all of a sudden I was over come with clarity and tears and what sounded like the loudest noise I had ever heard in my life. It wasn’t a clear voice or even words, It just sounded like loudness. I defiantly tore the list out of the notepad (I can’t even remember what I wrote on it) and hammered it to the base of that cross. I walked out of the room, still sobbing and trudged back across the parking lot to my hotel room I was sharing with one of the high school female church volunteers. All I could do was fall into her arms blubbering “I heard it, I HEARD IT”.

Maybe this is the way I was supposed to hear it this time. Maybe God doesn’t appear in your life the same way twice. Maybe I needed a little more blunt of a delivery this time – he knew I could handle it apparently. I tear up everytime Pastor Gary invites people to accept Christ into their hearts at the holiday church services, especially the kids. Last week he invited those who felt like they were going through their own valleys to stand, and asked the congregation to place their hands on them for support and I didn’t stand. I felt like my indecision and feelings were not significant enough to warrant that recognition. But God saw my heart. And here I am.

How do we show our faith? Is it by a cross we wear around our necks, the actions we show, or the words we speak on the regular? This person, who doesn’t even know me, mentioned how they were going to make certain comments during previous conversation but weren’t sure how I’d take them because “I figured you didn’t go to church”. I was shocked at that judgement. That upon first meeting I came across that way. I take pride in my time spent volunteering with the video department at Cornerstone when I lived at home.  And its now given me more questions of “how do I show that”? Have I fallen that far from grace that my outward appearance is dark and lost?

Sermons have been preached that when you are one with God, there is just a certain glow about you. How do I get my glow back?!

Worship Him. Lean on Him. Trust Him.

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One thought on “The Valley of Baca

  1. God is calling you to lifestyle Christianity. Living in his presence every day, listening to him and following Jesus. This is more than attending church or volunteering at church. Holy Spirit is tugging on your heart and is calling for your full surrender. No pride, worrying how you look to others, no performance just giving your all and laying down your plans for Christ’s. You have a call on your life and a destiny. God qualifies those that he calls.

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