By Christian Winter
Leaving Orlando I wasn't in the best shape. We had processed our experience, but I didn't feel any better. I felt unheard, unseen, and unloved. I had been doing so much that I didn't stop to let myself be. I began the 6 hour drive in the afternoon. The last friend I wanted to see off had left and I was dying to leave. I just wanted to be home in my bed and sleep for the next year.
I got home super late and was excited to see everyone. It had been 9 months so seeing them face to face was much better then on my phone. I crashed for the night and woke up not feeling any more rested. I tried having a quiet time, worshiping, etc. nothing made me feel better. My spiritual muscles had atrophied.
Thankfully there's one truth that holds me steadfast to Jesus. "If you don't quit, you win." More than anything else I know that even when trials come, God is looking for faithful ones that won't give up. This has sustained me through many hard times. That quote come from Heidi Baker and gets to the heart of 1 Corinthians 9:24, "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."
Following Jesus isn't about being the fastest, best looking, most fiery, most anointed person on the planet. God is looking for faithful worshipers. This isn't to say there is no value with the aforementioned things, but they're not the goal. The goal is to be faithful with Jesus' commands and follow Him wholeheartedly. If giving Jesus glory is all we do then we will walk in the same joy that He walked in. Even as He walked towards certain death, Jesus kept pushing forward for the joy set before Him: You and I.
He is now the joy set before us. In the same way that a bride waits in anticipation for her wedding day is the same joy we are called to walk in. I knew I didn't have the strength to pull myself from the heaviness I was under. Although I got myself into the situation, I knew He would carry me out.
I waited and hoped to be delivered, but didn't give my 100% towards breakthrough. In the meantime, I drove to South Carolina to pick up a friend and then road-tripped to Colorado to stand in a wedding. Then later I visited family in Missouri and Texas and spent lots of time with my older brother. One day it began to break as I read Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning. I was a wreck. I had read the book before, but it had been some time. I felt the love of God fill the room as I read page after page about His love for me. Not just for me, but the whole world.
I felt better for a while and knew that God gave me a jump-start, but I didn't maintain it. Much like a car left in the rain, I began to develop rust. My quiet times once again weren't as fun and soon ceased altogether. One of the greatest lies the enemy can get us to believe is the attitude of "I've got this." Our culture so values being independent because we equate dependency with weakness. Dependency on Jesus is the most powerful and brave thing we could do. We lay down our abilities, likes, and ideas and choose Jesus.
I wasn't walking in full breakthrough, but I knew God was still the giver of breakthrough. It wasn't until Kona that I would begin to walk in the fullness my spirit had been longing.