Mid Year Conference finished on Saturday afternoon, which marks my first year anniversary with Student Life and with this blog (https://usydstudentlife.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/what-happens-at-myc-stays-at-myc/).
Good times. Good times.
Just like last year, the air was abuzz with worship, prayer and praise over the whole week of conference. It’s always a wonderful feeling to join other Christians in thankfulness to our Saviour, but it does beg the question:
How long does it last?
The only problem with spiritual high is that it’s followed by spiritual lows – and most of the time, they’re spectacular lows.
There’s two ways we can deal with spiritual lows: we can ignore them, or we can avoid spiritual ups and downs altogether. Both solutions rob us of experiencing God.
The problem is not the spiritual high – or the low – it’s that we do not have the lifestyle to support the high when we return to our daily lives. Temptations and the cares of the world cause us to become distant from God and enter periods of spiritual barrenness. Outside of the conference, we flounder because we have lost our vision and are no longer surrounded by our supportive Christian brothers and sisters.
On the last day of MYC, I hit spiritual depression hard. All year I’ve been preparing for my brother’s wedding. When that ended three weeks ago, I put all of my energy into preparing for MYC. And that ended too, along with my spiritual resolve.
It got worse over the next couple days.
During John North’s second last talk on the Holy Spirit, he explained that the Holy Spirit cannot be outflowing in life that is riddled by sin. With habitual sin blocking the Spirit, a Christian is rendered an ineffective mess.
I was convicted. My life is a bundle of habitual sins which I have typically run from instead of dealing with. I cover them with bravado – my talents, my intellect, my charm. No-one will ever know. But what cost is my rebellion? I am not leading anyone to Christ by lying to them and I am not growing in intimacy with Him by lying to myself.
I went to my cabin, pulled out my journal and began writing a list of the sins I have never dealt with.
But the list would not end. And I was crushed. I tore up the list and told myself that with the Holy Spirit’s help, I was now free of sin’s control.
That lasted until the end of conference. Returning to my mundane routine also meant returning to my habitual sins.
So what did I do? What else? I fell into a heap under the crushing weight of my own guilt and I ran from God, convincing myself I’ll never be effective and I’ll never be free. My spiritual high was well and truly over.
But in that tender moment of vulnerability, God met me. Naked and ashamed, I hid from Him just like Adam and Eve did in Genesis 3. And He came to me.
Are you exhausted of this charade yet? Have you finished pretending that you have the strength to heal your own wounds? Are you ready to let Me do it now?
MYC didn’t teach me anything new. It only left me with a heavy realisation of how unworthy I am, to be held up as a leader and daughter of the Almighty. And that feeling was apparently evident in my eyes as I sat on the hard wood floors of the Macquarie University girls’ 3.30am on Saturday morning watching Sarah pack for the imminent end of conference.
“I feel like I should just tell you that you are worthy,” she whispered in my ear as she pulled me into a gentle embrace.
Worthy? No. I am not worthy at all. You’ve got me confused with someone else.
The following night I sat broken and heavy hearted on the floor of my bedroom staring at the carpet and watching the mound of dirty laundry grow, as if it has become a metaphor for my life in that moment.
You are not worthy. You never were. You never will be. Yet I still chose you. I loved you then and I will love you always, no matter where you hide from Me. Will you finally stop trying to deserve what you always had?
And with that heavenly whisper my spiritual high returned.
MYC taught us that the Spirit would give us the power to change. If we let Him rule our life, He will also give us the power to keep the change.
I am a hopeless sinner. But that’s okay. Because He is a mighty Saviour!
[Photos: Emma Horn, 2014]