Restart / by Michael Nichols


Human beings are notorious scheming control freaks. No exceptions exist. Don't worry. I'm not prejudging an entire species without putting myself under the microscope as well.

I always worry about how I could possibly screw things up before I even think about them, and that leads right into choking and failure and the sins I'm so afraid of. I'm good at seeing things that aren't there, and turning small incidents into complicated ordeals. Call it a spiritual acid-trip, a hallucination of my own mind's making with the help of degrading substances.

So what is the substance? Probably good things, things that God created to be enjoyed within the context of Himself, things meant to bring Him glory, praise, and gratitude. One thing that gets me high is friendships. Their very presence in my soul makes it drunk. Another thing is music. The way that one or more instruments and voices can use their pitches, rhythms, and words to drag me, the listener, around is fantastic.

The funny thing is that theology can do the same thing. Arts can do the same thing. Literally, anything that was meant for good can be used to for evil when you take God out of the equation. If I'm writing this blog for its own sake or for notoriety, then what's the point of it?

By viewing the relationships I have with other people without the lens of God showing me that we are both imperfect and prone to say some stupid, insensitive thing, am I not just as guilty as the one who speaks out of turn? By singing simply for singing's sake, is it not in vain? If I write this article simply to hear my own voice, so to speak, then what have I really said?

I took a break from blogging [and many other things in parallel] for a couple months [in other cases many, and many months] to regroup, gather thoughts, pray, and figure out what exactly Jesus wants me to do with this site, and that's the kicker: He doesn't need me to do anything but to be fully surrendered to Him. He doesn't need me to be the perfect singer and devote myself totally to singing, nor does He need me to devote myself wholly to theology, nor does He need me to have picture-perfect relationships with everyone around me. Are these things good? Yes. Does He want me to do everything wholeheartedly? Undeniably! These things mean nothing if I'm not following Him first, though.

No understanding of every single facet of philosophy and theology is going to save me, nor can I take music with me when I die, nor can even the best of friends, regardless of the degree to which they encourage me towards Christ, save me or drag me into a relationship with Him, even though I am convinced that they play a vital role, and that all of these things can help to strengthen ties between myself and my Savior. God made good things, but they are good because He made them, and if He is that amazing, isn't He worth following? I can't say that I've really fully turned and run away from Him, but I will freely admit to having been paralyzed for quite some time.

So this is me starting again, but this time, no setting myself up for a letdown. This blog doesn't need a gimmick or perfection. It just needs God. I don't need to stake my fate, an outreach, a dream, a longing, the relief of an internal agony of diverse forms, a wife, a perfect friend, a ritual, or a dime on me or anyone else but Jesus the Lamb of God.

It is easy to imagine yourself into a box where God can't reach you and has given up on you, but that box is only as strong as your imagination, and His grace and love is much bigger than you can imagine. To restate, Jesus is never out of reach, and He does not give up on the ones He loves.