Ashley's Journal, Entry #5 | Quarantine has brought up a lot....



Hey friend,


I know for some, covid-19 has been one of the busiest seasons in life. For me, however, this abrupt new season has been a much needed pause. In some ways, I have still kept busy with my online ministry, but in other ways I have been more free. I am not at college anymore. My serving projects in the city have been canceled. I have little obligations at church. And I am not around anybody else but my family.


When I look back at this past semester, I realize it was crazy (to say the least). And come to think of it, I realize that it was only crazy because I let it get to that point. I said yes to everything and no to very little. I took care of others much more than I took care of myself. I spread myself way too thin.


It's hard. It's hard because all the opportunities seemed too good to pass up! I wanted to disciple and mentor. I wanted to pour into as many people as possible. I wanted to run an online ministry to the absolute best of my ability while taking a full load of college courses. I want to be friends with everyone on my floor and in church. I wanted to continue deepening my relationships with family. I wanted to serve at church. I wanted to get straight A's. I wanted and wanted and wanted.


But what I didn't realize was that through all of the chaos I created, my heart was going unchecked for months. I wanted to do everything... and I did. But that came with a high cost: burn out and a neglected heart.


The truth is that I knew I needed to say no... But I couldn't in the moment because I was too weak. I didn't want to give up all that I was doing.


And then when I least expected it- the world came to a holt. Everything stopped. Shut down. Closed. In a blink of an eye the constant merry go-round of activities were canceled! And just like that, I was free from the massive to-do list and the weight of the world I had put on my shoulders.


Or so I thought I was free. After days of being home, I quickly realized that my heart was begging for my attention.


My heart needs work! It needs healing. It needs to recover from past hurts. It needs a Physician, a Mighty Counselor, a Healer. But I never knew this because of how busy my schedule was. I never gave myself the opportunity to self-reflect.


My life was so busy and so loud that I couldn't hear my own heart and soul crying for help.

But now that I've been home, I've recognized that my heart needs a lot of intentional work. I especially realized this after crying (multiple times)- AND I RARELY CRY!


And although I am away from the chaos of school life, there just seems to be something about being with family 24/7 that brings out even more sides of my heart that needs work! When I am with family I reminded of my pride, my selfishness, and the ugliness of my heart.


As these thoughts were rushing through my head like a strong current, I realized that it can't be me trying to change myself. It can't. There is no way I can change my heart to look more like Jesus. There is no way I can cure my own heart of sin. There is no possible way I can heal myself from deep wounds and past mistakes.


And girl, here's where I start preaching!! THERE IS NO WAY to improve yourself by yourself.


Yes, there may be little ways to TRY and change who we are. We can try to change our appearance. We can try to stop cussing. We can try to stop having bursts of anger. We can try to accomplish our new years resolutions. We can try, try, try. But nothing could ever change us like Jesus can.


He is in the business of heart transformation! His job is to sanctify us! He is working RIGHT NOW to make all things new! Including you and I. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. He promises to never give up on us. Never leave us. Never forsake us. He sent his Helper to make sure we are always becoming more like Him.


It is GOD'S JOB to transform our hearts. But it is our job to submit to Him in this process.


Submission looks like daily coming before Jesus and laying it all down. Submission will never be a one-and-done type thing. It is a constant act of obedience before our loving and gracious God.


It is not up to us to change ourselves. We simply can't; only Jesus can. But what we can do is submit and obey. What we can do is sit at Jesus' feet and allow Him to work on our sinful hearts.


This is what finally brought me freedom. And by freedom, I mean the peace of knowing that God's not finished with me yet. Will I still struggle with doing too much? Yes! Will I still struggle with many heart issues? Yes! Will I constantly have to re-submit my life to Jesus? YES! But I can live in freedom knowing that He's got me and won't give up on me.


So here is the journal entry from today (April 3, 2020):


God,

Without you, I have no ability or power to change.

But with you, I have the ability and power to submit myself to you and let you change me.


That's it for today!

With love,

Ashley



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