If you had met me when I was 16, you would have found a girl who was very confused and yet very sure. Idealism and intellect ruled my heart. I poured over books and typewriters. I clung to Ecclesiastes 7:2: "Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting..." I can't explain why, but I felt that serious and intellectual things were "spiritual" while mundane, real life things were "fleshy". I didn't see how to two could be reconciled, so I fled into the realm of what I defined as "pure". I built walls for myself. Out of fear, I locked myself in from the outside world. I looked at it through the glass of imagination. Out of a need for self-justification, I looked out at it through the glass of condemnation. I judged myself on a scale of "how bad I'm not." I counted up all the things that I didn't do and felt that I fell on the good end of the spectrum, safe in the realm of "purity" (just like the Pharisee in Luke 18 felt). It was all imaginary and totally unbiblical. I wrestled with it then and now: http://jehoshabeath.livejournal.com/341661.html
I had problems when people began to ask about my future. What would I do? Where did I want to live? Who did I want to marry? To me, these were worldly questions and totally irrelevant. But, as time went on, I realized that I couldn't hide anymore. Early on, my thoughts revolved around martyrdom. That seemed as though it would solve the problem by freeing me from the "sinful" world in a "holy" way. But in this, I was not seeking to follow God. I just wanted to avoid facing the reality that I had denied for so long. Later, I found myself picturing what it might look like to venture outside the glass walls. But still, I was lost. I had played god, building up the walls of idolatry around me, and I didn't know how to find my way out.
In 2003, I wrote an entry called "appriciation and being lost." It's quite eye-opening (and humbling) to read back over it, but these are the typical thoughts and impressions that drove me forward when I was young.
"my real problems lie in the fact that I have not the faintest idea how to live a 'worldly life'; my head is in the clouds and what skills do I have for life? ... Give me a cold December night by myself with a tune in my head and a brain full of thoughts and my life is fullfilled, but don't remind me of the real side of life because it burns."
God had quite a mess of a heart to work with when He found me a-straying in those days. His mercy is immeasurable and His power to save is real - praise God!
We started back at the basics. He planted in my heart a desire to understand what it means to "walk with God." He opened up the Scriptures to me. He showed me His Son. He held up a mirror before my heart and bid me see what was truly there. He washed away my sin. He began to correct my misconceptions and redefine them according to the Bible. He began to show me what it means to walk with Him in a fallen world.
The world itself is overrun with evil, that's true. But this is also "my Father's world" and He has a plan of salvation to work through to completion. I will not lose heart because my God reigns. If He was willing to come to this world to live as a man, why should I fear my journey through this same place? Jesus cried out, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" (Matthew 27:46) so I would never have to. And God, to the glory of His grace, has called me to Himself and hidden me in Christ (Colossians 3:3). He has given me His Spirit to bear fruit in me - not by my power of self-reformation, but through the power of His life (Romans 8:11).
"I have been crucified with Christ;
it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Praise God! "Let those who fear the LORD now say, 'His mercy endures forever.'" Psalm 118:4