Colour 2016, I was ready. Amidst the busy weeks that built up to the event, from a multitude of worries weighing me down, 6 subjects at varsity demanding my attention and serving wholeheartedly in between it all, I was the most overwhelmed I had ever been in my 22 years of existence. And to make matters worse – I really felt a disconnect from God and a bigger disconnect from my desires to creatively express myself. And I did what any reasonable 22 year old does when they feel like they’ve lost control of their passions and identity – I held on tightly to the belief that I had to have it altogether, or else I was doing it wrong (okay, that’s not reasonable, but it’s the truth!). So, here I was, with a plane ticket in one hand and expectancy for a complete life change in the other.
I expected a loud voice in my ear coming high from the heavens, with God speaking deeply into the many things that were overwhelming me, and instead, I found God waiting for me – with an offer to give me beauty for my ashes which I had voluntarily held onto, and silent whispers into my heart that I could, and should trust Him. I came to realise that God had different answers to the same questions I had been asking Him, and even though He had many more answers to quench my weary soul with, I needed to let go of the tight grasp I had over my life, let Him break down the walls I thought I demolished myself years before, and I had to let Him in again. But most importantly, God revealed to me that I had fed into my insecurities and fears of inadequacy for so long, that I had felt ashamed to come to Him as I was, so somewhere between trying to hide those feelings from anyone (pride, anyone?), I inadvertently hid myself from Him and He couldn’t get in anymore. But I thank God that no obstacle phases Him, that a high wall and unfamiliar mask doesn’t ever deter Him from relentlessly seeking out those who He loves (which is everyone on this earth).
The worship moved me, but not as much as opening my eyes during my favourite worship song to see thousands of women worshipping Him too. It was at that moment that I realized that worship, the song in our hearts, can always be tuned to who He is – even if we have circumstances and hurt that have led us to lose sight of who we are. I realized that there was no need or prerequisite from God stipulating minimum requirements of perfection before we could come worship Him. I learned that God isn’t moved by our concerns, uncertainty or doubts, but that it’s impossible to not be moved by a room filled with multitudes of women, setting aside their multitude of concerns and perhaps bumpy journeys that led them their to Colour Conference, not because of the prosperous things He has done but just because of who He is, in the dip of the valley and on the highest mountain top.
I found my way again, not in the loud voice I expected but in the whispers to my heart, the urges to be still in His presence, whether I felt like it or not. It was in the chaos, the multitudes, the magnitudes and the depths of my own worries that I could find meaning & find Him too. All the while, I was running from my stresses and pressures, but I had failed to realise that like the centre of the tornado – I could’ve been centred in knowing that He is in the mess, and the message. I also realised that all the while, I had asked God to colour in the empty spaces of my heart, but I was always afraid to let go of the crayons. I realised that maybe it was A-okay to not have it all figured out, that surrendering to the creator was part of the creative process, and He knew exactly which canvas to paint my life story on and how. And that it was okay if ever it seemed as though He was painting far out of the boundaries I had previously drawn out for Him, because God was never confined to what was done before and maybe that would take audacious faith to believe and trust. God quietly dared me to let Him colour my life again, and all I needed to do was to worship Him all the way.
Thulisile Madi// Volunteer in our Communications Team// Hillsong Church Johannesburg