Beyond the Logic of Sin and Insecurity by Michael Nichols

The movement of the Holy Spirit is a funny thing. He's not just our heart rate during worship, nor is He just the force behind an armada of supernatural events, nor is He simply your conscience when your own sense of reasoning fails, nor is He just the lifeline that God throws to us when we're drowning in the world's system. He is all of these things and more. What I'm about to explain is what happens when we don't latch onto Him when He moves.

Like anyone, whether it's in my own mind, radiating through my fingertips, or lashing out through my tongue, I have, and, as certainly as the night will come, will deal with sin. Will every thought be corrupt? No. Will every thought be pure? No. Thankfully, I have a Heavenly Father who trains me daily in the way I should go despite me, and who reprimands me clearly yet lovingly when I need it.

I've said so before, but I'll say it again: I micromanage myself sometimes, especially with spirituality and sin. I'm hypersensitive and hypercritical of what I do and how I feel and what I think and believe, often times to my detriment. That having been said, it's easy to justify the sin, the distance, the lack of direction, the lack of passion -- really, without wanting to admit it, the lack of Him, in an attempt to quell hypersensitivity with insensitivity.

The fact about me -- really all of us -- is that I desperately, utterly need Him, but I don't always run to Him. I tend to make excuses, to justify what I sometimes do so that I won't feel as guilty, but the cover up that we impose upon ourselves is worse than whatever sins and insecurities we hide. We only start to make excuses when we run out of reasons, to rationalize when we've done the irrational, to justify that which is unjust, to fabricate false answers for the ones we refuse to humble ourselves to seek out... and after all of those simulations of salvation fall to pieces, we are left to either accept the truth or scream in its face.

When you get past the reasons, the justifications, the excuses, and finally dismantle a sin, and you can finally see it for what it is, something will happen. You'll ask yourself, "Why do I do these things?" to which you will quickly reply, "I don't really know." But since when was the purpose of sin to be understood? Sin exists for one reason: to kill you secretively. When all of the other "reasons" we ascribe to it fall away, it's okay to say, "I don't know," because that's the moment you realize you've fallen and need help to rise to your feet again.

Don't panic. You can rise to your feet again. To do that, we must latch on to God's hand. Sin's purpose may be to kill you, but your purpose is to kill sin, and the victory is already won. We often define our chances in life as the sum of our sins and insecurities, but these things are small, and they collapse eventually -- the Lord doesn't. Don't tell God how big your chances are; tell your chances how big your God is.

"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." -- Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 NIV)

The World Didn't Stop by Michael Nichols

Three years ago, I experienced something I really wished I didn't. Its echoes to this day deafen me sometimes. If you have read older posts of mine, you will eventually notice a sizable gap, or at least an extensive loss of frequency. Now, what in the world could have hurt so deeply to cause me -- someone brought to life by writing like nothing else does -- to stop writing isn't really the important part, believe it or not. It doesn't matter how I came to that place. I was there, and that was all that mattered... but I didn't look at that aspect of it.

What I wanted was a way out, and escape from everything. Do you find that understandable? Do you find it pathetic? Do you find it sensible? Because none of those was the case.

It wasn't understandable because life goes on. For the same reason, it is neither pathetic nor reasonable. No, these adjectives are useless for this experience.

What I failed to understand is that I wasn't as backed into a corner as I felt. The prerequisite I assumed for my life having meaning was the one thing I had lost, but once it was gone, what was I to think? I had nothing else to go on beside my faith in Jesus, and it wasn't like I forgot or truly abandoned that faith, but my desire for things to be different, especially the way I felt at the time, drowned out everything else. It hit me harder than I was willing to admit, so by the time I had stopped living out my dreams, I hadn't admitted to myself that I had done so.

I don't think that I was ready at that time to accept the consequences of my own actions, nor was I willing to accept the immutability of the actions of others. Without this level of discernment, I was complacent, wandering, wondering, cold, hungry, but unwilling to come home (so to speak) because I no longer believed in the concept, be it literal, be it metaphysical. Nevertheless, the presence of darkness doesn't imply that light is not close.

"Sometimes it's easy to let dreams fade into a nightmare --" that is a line from a song I wrote, called "Dreams." In my life, I had already experienced darkness, but not in the way this darkness fell. It felt like everything I had been working for in my life suddenly seemed vain. My dreams returned to the dust from whence they were built, and I had woken into a world of agony, meaning I had already been there, but I was unconscious. I wasn't aware of how truly dark, dangerous, and devastating the world can be. After this undesired moment, though, finally, I was.

I was awake, but I was confused, disoriented. I didn't have time to ask questions. I was merely concerned with getting out alive... but that isn't really living. That is paralysis of the heart, the death of the soul, and the withering of the mind.

I've missed opportunities to love, to live, to shatter the safety glass between the waking world and the world of dreams. I've been out of high school for two years and a half, back in college for one and a half. I thought I would be somewhere else by now, bachelor's degree in music education, but that isn't the way it went, and I have partially myself to blame. No, I'm not beating myself up over my mistakes, and I'm definitely not going to say I regret nothing. I'm just being fair. I could have resumed education sooner, made better life choices, but I'm here now, and I've learned something...

The world didn't stop for me. I was hurting going through things, and I wanted things to be different, but it went about is business. It won't fight for me. It won't make me walk through doors, take risks, fall in love, make me a better man -- it doesn't choose for me, and God doesn't force me to obey Him either, but He definitely is fighting ahead of me, making a path for me. It isn't going to be easy, but it is going to be worth it, and that is all I need.