About seven months ago, a good friend of mine wrote a post about wresting with God, and I've gotten to a point in my life where that article has accurately resembled my relationship with the Lord-- I'm wrestling with Him.

I'm a problem solver. I like things done a certain way. I like knowing and understanding what is happening and why it's happening. I welcome change, but with restrictions. I welcome God, but with limits. It has taken me several years and seasons to understand that I cannot operate at my best level because I'm not fully letting God operate at His best for my life. It has taken me several years and seasons to understand that I'm so busy wresting with God that I haven't taken into consideration that maybe I need to be wrestling with myself.

I don't really know who is reading this article. I don't where you're at. How could I possibly understand somebody like you? But I am not approaching this article as a writer for the Odyssey. I'm not writing this article for the shares. I'me writing this for me. For you. I'm writing this as Julia. I'm writing this because I'm still trying to find my way, and that's okay. Here are some of the stages I've gone through to bring me to the point I am today.

Stage 1: I messed up.

I've been selfish. I've lied. I've been angry. I've been indifferent. I've hurt people who were nothing but good to me. I made a mess of every intention God created me with. And I didn't know how I got so far gone so quickly, but I didn't even recognize the person that I was. I used to be kind. I used to be passionate. I used to be honest and fair. I used to care. I was not the same person, and the change was noticeable. Nothing sparked this change as much as I was just "too busy." For people. For caring. For God. There wasn't enough time in the day. I was continuously tired. I was in a place so dark that I couldn't see my own hand in front of my face. I was messed up.

Stage 2: I blamed God.

One day, on my way to visit a friend in Georgia, I just remember reaching my breaking point. I remember being fed up and just done. And I saw a lake, so I pulled over. I got out of the car. I just remember being so angry that I just started screaming. I yelled at God. At people. At myself. I was so frustrated that thing had completely 180-ed. And I remember the last thing I said (more like screamed) at that lake was, "God, WHERE ARE YOU?" And I heard a voice say, "Where am I? Where are YOU?" I sat there for a second. I looked at the lake-- at God's creation-- and He was right there the entire time, even though I wasn't.

Stage 3: I messed up (again).

How dare I blame God. How dare I blame the maker of this universe. How dare I blame the God who wants the absolute best for me even when I can't see it. I had really messed up this time. But this time, I saw a way out. God had displayed Himself perfectly for me in that moment by the lake. It was as if He was saying, "You're not too far gone."

Stage 4: I blamed myself.

I had a hard time accepting grace after I had felt like somebody else for a while. I knew I could never go back to the way I was before, and that killed me. I wanted to be better for God. But there was something holding me back, and it wasn't worth trying to be better because I'd never be good again. It was as if I'd put a sticker on my wall of Christ-like qualities, and when I tried to take it off, all the residue was still stuck. I was stuck. I was trying to find the happy medium of who I wanted to be and who I actually was. I wasn't angry at the people who had wronged me or hurt me. I was angry at myself for letting those events impact me so deeply that I changed my entire demeanor. I didn't have a difficult time forgiving those people though, just myself.

Stage 5: I had to let go.

Every time that I would try to improve, it's as if Satan (and even myself at times, would hold all my mistakes over my head. I was constantly wanting to get better. Wanting to dig myself out of the rut, but I couldn't because I was so weighed down. Because I felt so much condemnation. It took me a little while, but I had to let go of that stuff that was weighing me down. I'd already apologized to God. I'd already been forgiven. I just never let myself ever fully receive the grace. It's a daily choice to let go of the things that hinder you from your relationship with God, and I had to do just that. It was then, and only then, that I was able to finally start climbing back up the mountain

Stage 6: I found my people.

A lot of the letting go process was finding people to support, encourage, care for, and love me as I climbed the mountain. People that didn't quit on me when it was hard. People that stuck by me through thick and thin. People that might not have experienced my pain, but were present with me anyways. People that choose me everyday, even though I still mess up and will continue to. There are days I have to revisit some of these stages, but throughout the trying seasons of my life, I'm glad to have a God who wrestles with me enough to help me realize that He loves me more than I could imagine, and He wants me to love myself, too.

***I am so grateful for the opportunity to share this article. Below is the link to my friend, Caleb's article, Wrestling With God. From the link you can also find his article called Wrestling With God Pt. 2 as well. Please give these articles a read because he encouraged me to write this very article, and he is a beautiful writer.