…I was really yelling at God.
It was Friday, June 10th. Only about 6 weeks ago. I was planning to go meet up with an AWANA camping trip from my church.
I guess you could say my frustration started when my boss stormed in my office and gave me a verbal beatdown and told me I was not leaving work at 3:30 like I had originally planned but now I was staying until 5:00. This meant I got to travel up to the campsite in North Jersey all by myself.
If you know me, you know I’m all about going on road trips and adventures to new places, so naturally I was SO READY to leave work that day and just drive. I plugged in the address to Google maps, cranked some jams, and headed out on the highway for what was supposed to be a 2 hour trip. I probably should have caught it earlier, but Google maps had me going up the NJ Turnpike for some odd reason. Somewhere along the way, the app stopped working while I was still on the highway and I had no clue what to really do other than keep driving and hope that the app fixed itself.
It kinda did, but not really. I thought I was gonna end up in NYC at one point until it finally told me to get off the highway. To be honest, at this point I was getting a little nervous (AND frustrated) because I did not want to have to drive all the way back home if I did get lost OR spend the night on the side of the highway.
For me, this weekend was a much needed retreat into the mountains to get away and just breathe (for a lot of reasons). I needed to get away and spend time alone with the Lord, but getting there was beginning to become a thorn in my side. I got off the highway and got new directions from my phone to follow. “OK. Cool. Everything should be fine now” BUT that was not the case. As I followed Google maps through a bunch of crazy-named towns in North Jersey that I had never heard of, I started to get that nervous feeling again that I was getting lost.
And guess what? I was.
The surroundings were just not looking right and there was little to no civilization around as I continued to drive. At one point, I pulled over to get a feel for where I was. I thought I could figure it out on my own so I got back on the road. Man, was that a dumb idea.
I hit a really winding road through some mountains, made a handful of turnarounds, AND…. that’s when I snapped. I realized I was REALLY LOST and I started yelling repeatedly at my phone for being so stupid and not giving me the right directions (cause it had obviously let me down, right?). From there it snowballed into me continuing to drive aimlessly while yelling. I was pissed off and I got to the point where I just shouted out at God asking Him why He would do this to me. As my frustration and anger built up, I continued to question Him about all of the other current situations that had just happened in my life because if I’m being honest, those were the “root” reasons I was upset, more so than my dumb phone not working. I don’t think I’ve ever yelled like that before and in that moment, I felt like I had every right to be yelling. In the words of the Fresh Prince theme song, “my life got flipped, turned upside down”, and at a time when I least expected it to, and I had stored up that anger and frustration up to this point where I just exploded. Looking back (and forward), I am so grateful that Christ takes me as I am, even when I’m a selfish jerk that questions His plans. He listens, He answers, and He is good. ALL. THE. TIME.
Remember when I said this trip was to get away? Yeah, I got away alright, but it wasn’t in the way I expected. Here I was, tears dripping down my face as I drove and angry shouts coming from my mouth (and heart) that questioned my Savior’s faithfulness and goodness to me. WHY?! Deep down, I knew I could trust Him, but in that moment I did not, and my pride took the wheel of my heart.
A couple Sunday’s ago, the new pastor at my church spoke and gave a fantastic message on the feeding of the five thousand. In that message, he mentioned that typically after we have a “spiritually high” moment or a really good event happens in our lives, it is usually followed by a test from God. And those tests are typically not what we expect.
This was a test. And not one that I even wanted to take in the first place. Honestly, I’m still taking this same test right now, but Jesus has been so faithful and gracious to me through it all and has been healing my heart and making it more like His. He is peace. He is strength. He is comfort. He is joy. And I don’t know what I would do without Him.
The sun was setting and I was still lost. I called my dad (when I got reception lol) who was already at the campsite to tell him what was going on and received some helpful directions. I had gone at least an hour and a half in the wrong direction. It’s crazy though cause even in my wandering God chose to give me some amazing sunset views as I made my way back to the correct route winding through the mountains.
So after 4 hours of driving, I finally arrived at the campsite when it was pitch black outside. I was exhausted, but I had this renewed mindset that there were lessons to be learned and adventures to be had even in the most frustrating circumstances, like this one. Even when I was lost in the middle of nowhere, Jesus was with me and He had me there for a purpose even in my questioning, anger, and frustration. He is truly a gracious and merciful Savior.
The rest of the weekend was refreshing to say the least, and I got to meet some new guys from my church that I had never even seen before! It was a blessing in disguise for sure and I’m grateful that Jesus led me down a road (quite literally) that I did not originally want to go down.
So yeah. Jesus is still awesome and good, and I’m most definitely still a work in progress. One of my all-time favorite bands, Relient K, just released a new album yesterday (GO CHECK IT OUT FO SHO) and the lyrics from one of the songs hit me hard, especially as I finished writing this blog.
Here they are: “Fix the car, fix the house, fix the flaws in myself
It’s never done.
It’s never done, no, no
Like local construction, it’s never done”
Be straight and honest with the Lord and with each other. Until Christ returns, we are all His workmanship “works-in-progress”, and every day is new opportunity for growth and change. Keep discovering and keep it real (and maybe get lost sometimes too cause you have some rad adventures then as well).