This is not an easy post for me to write, think about, or do. I’ll just preface it by saying that. I think we all have portions of our life, aspects of our faith and of ourselves that we keep from God. Whatever the reason may be, we push God away from that particular aspect of our human condition, and it puts a roadblock up in the middle of our road to unity with Him.
I won’t go into concrete details about what the roadblock is for me specifically. Rather, I think it’s more important for me to discuss what I’m doing about it, and maybe it will resonate with some of you. In my spiritual direction meeting today with Bro Pat, we talked about this at length, and I think this post will be good in three ways:
1) It makes me think about the issue I have.
2) Maybe you have a similar one, and it will help to hear it.
3) Admitting this issue I have in my faith over the internet holds me accountable personally to work on it.
Anyways, I’ll get to the point. I’ll use a sports analogy, because it makes sense to me. You know when you go for a run, and you hit that point where you can’t go any longer? Your brain automatically starts spitting out all kinds of reasons why you should stop – and it creates most of them. Does your knee hurt? Do you need to call your Mom before class? Do you not want to be too sore for practice tomorrow? You’ve already run 4 miles, that’s only one away from your goal – close enough! Seriously, you do so much, you can stop!
All of these and more come into play, but the reality is, you can push through if you want to. It’s an epic battle between yourself and yourself. Weird, right? Well, I’m sure many of you have been there. As a Nike ad once said, “The only one who can tell you that you can’t is you. And you don’t have to listen.”
The same thing goes for me with God. I am, as I have confessed before, terrified at silence with God. I am scared at what will come into my heart, what depths of my heart will suddenly become vulnerable to what the Holy Spirit wants to do in me. I get freaked out at the notion of not being good enough, not being faithful enough, and soon, I’m doing the same thing as when I’m running. I am, involuntarily, subconsciously, (whatever you want to call it) creating reasons why this is NOT good. Perhaps vulnerability is my issue…and by perhaps I mean it definitely is. I come up with every other thing to do and think of in my time with God than actually getting to the roadblock in my life. I avoid that like the plague. I will read the hymnal and think of a good worship song, I will recite prayers, I will journal, I will pray for intentions of friends, I will give thanks to God for the blessings in my life, I will admire the church architecture…literally, anything.
But what Bro. Pat said to me today really got through to me. God wants us just as we are. All of the negative things that I come up with in my time with God are things that God would simply NEVER say to me. I am a beloved child of His, as are you! So when we come up with all of these reasons that we aren’t good enough and we are undeserving of God’s love, there are two main things to remember.
1) We aren’t good enough. That’s why God’s love is poured out in GRACE — this literally means “unmerited favor.” So stop wasting time thinking about how undeserving we all are — because that’s exactly what God knows we are, and loves us anyway. How cool, right?
2) We need to remember that these bad thoughts are not coming from God – they are coming from outside influences and bad spirits. So just like you push the thoughts of needing to stop running away from you, we must also be able to weed out the negative ideas when it comes to prayer with God.
Be vulnerable. Think about the roadblock in your life, if you have one. Most of us do. It can be a big thing or it can be a tiny qualm that you’re stuck on. Being open to letting go and letting God love us and lead us is one of the scariest jumps we can make, but from what I’ve heard, it’s worth it. I’m still working on this, believe me. I went to church today with a goal of simply having 5 productive minutes of focused vulnerable time with God. It took me 25 minutes to get to that point. The road isn’t easy, and that’s for sure. But the glorious thing is that we have a Creator who is so madly in love with us that He dances at the sound of our imperfections, revels in our mistakes, and cherishes us for just who we are — His.