This is the first post in my 2019 guest blogging series. Katey Yurko, Editor-in-Chief of violetfog.com is one of my dear friends and one of the most genuine people I know. She writes on all things skincare and gut health, as well as love stories and emotional advice. In this piece, she writes about her relationship with God and the reality of what life looks like when you step away from Him.
I am so happy to be here with you. Shruthi says the kindest things about her readers- that you guys are smart, decisive, and genuinely like her friends. To quote her exactly, “they are the kind of people I could see myself enjoying coffee with, they’re very ‘keep it real’ kind of people”… so needless to say, I feel honored to be here with you right now.
This piece is not going to be one of giving advice, but more of a story that maybe you can relate to in some way. It’s about how our relationship with God is one we need to tend to, work at, find solace in and…. when it’s not that way– what things can look like.
I hope you enjoy.
I plopped down on the couch next to my boyfriend, head up towards the ceiling.
Closed my eyes, sighed…
“You okay?” He asked me. I shook my head, I was hurting.
“This is going to sound weird,” I stammered, “But when I look at my life as a whole, I can directly pinpoint the ups and downs in exact correlation to where I was with God at the time.”
“Bad things don’t happen when you’re close to God?”
“They do… God doesn’t promise freedom from hardships… but it’s how I react to them. How I handle what comes my way.”
I lingered on that thought and went walking.
God is my number one relationship in life, and yet it is the easiest one to let slip away when I’m not paying attention. When I’m not dedicated.
When I am close to him…
When I am praying daily and meditating on his words…
When I seek his beauty and love in everything I do…
When I do these things, I am thriving.
I am working harder. I am kinder. I am attracting more positivity in life.
When I am away from him, when I haven’t prayed deeply in weeks, when days go by and I haven’t given him a single thought… I am sinking. Work becomes less joyous, I feel my heart start to harden. I start doing things I’m not proud of and I start to feel out of control.
I think back to my last two years of college. The years prior were full of addiction, depression, starving myself… not to jar you- but I want to paint a real picture here. I was at a rock bottom. I’ll save you the in-between and let you know that I didn’t crawl out of it until I fully turned my life back over to God.
You would think after a few years in such desolation I would be fragile and on edge as I was healing. But with true dedication to God, I was vibrant. I was glowing from within. It wasn’t an overnight thing but my healing was certainly expedited with God’s unfailing love and protection behind me. I was doing well in school, I woke up each day so excited to see what life was going to bring me. I was going out of my way to help people and I felt good. Proud of myself. In today’s slang… living my best life. *100% emoji.*
And suddenly- I got “too busy.”
Things were so good that it’s almost like I subconsciously didn’t think I needed God in that moment. Of course, the conscious me would say “of course I need God!!” but my actions and thoughts did not reflect it.
Days without alone time and devotion to God turned into weeks and weeks turned into months and the next thing I know… I’m depressed. I’m gossiping, I’m taking short cuts, I’m falling back into old destructive habits…. and the cycle, it continues again. And even worse than the time before.
What’s crazy is that in these moments of despair, I know the answer is God. But sometimes I am still rebellious. Sometimes I feel I don’t have it in me to do the work to get back to God. Getting back to God and living that life doesn’t happen in a flash. He likes to work on our hearts, see that we are serious, slowly bring us towards opportunities when we are ready… it’s not like one prayer and everything is fine again.
For awhile I will tell myself I can go it alone. Change up my habits. Switch up my lifestyle. Be more intentional… I’ll think this is a better answer because this something I can do immediately. It doesn’t take as much work. No accountability from God.
But you know what? This never works for me. I’ve never ONCE been able to go it alone.
I cannot think of a single time in my life where I was able to pull myself out of the deep holes of depression, heartbreak, and addiction without God’s help. Bar none– nothing compares to the will and almighty hand of God. Once I realize what I’ve known all along– I submit. I’ll find solitude, I get on my hands and knees and I cry out to him. I need you, Lord.
There is always a release when this happens, almost like collapsing into someone’s arms who loves you unconditionally. A safe environment. I’ll feel a warmth in my heart, a rush through my veins. Suddenly, a light at the end of the tunnel… even if the road ahead is long.
I’ll tell you what my friend, the road is much longer without God.
As time progresses, I again get stronger. More vibrant. My heart starts to thaw out… not so icey. My genuine smile returns. I look to the sky and I know exactly where this is coming from. I yearn for more time with God, and I take action on it.
God is close to the brokenhearted… we need to remember this. He heals, he fixes, he loves. And he will never abandon us no matter how bad things get.
Without God, I cannot be strong and good-hearted in life. With him, I can.
Life is so much more beautiful with God.
I cannot get too busy.
I cannot ever tell myself I got this on my own.
I want to soar high throughout life, and with God, I can do this.
Without him, I’ll plummet.
For those who are struggling, feeling incredibly stuck, thwarted by life… God has got you. He misses you. He wants nothing more than for you to come to him with your troubles. He can and will turn it around, but like any relationship- you need to put in the time. You need to put in the work.
I promise you this, it will be the most fulfilling “work” you ever do.