Gratitude to Crystal for the birthday post. She's such an awesome BFF.
Joy in all your love and your gracious words. You know, don't you, that my life would be so much less than it is without you all in it?
And pride (the good kind) in the way you ministered to each other in your exchange of comments in reponse to "Lather, Rinse, Repeat." You are indeed the body of Christ. Many churches could learn from the way you are walking this journey together. I know adults (even ordained ones) who don't exhibit your honesty and authentic faith.
So, yeah, good tears. I'm following the advice my daughter gave me when she was two years old and I am "letting them run down" because according to pre-school wisdom, that makes you feel better.
As you know, I draw a lot of truth from Maeryn (my three year old granddaughter, for those of you who are just joining us and haven't heard about her every move since the moment she was born!) What appeals to me is the simplicity of it. You eat your veggies, you get dessert. You feel overwhelmed, you grab your smelly, disgustng stuffed froggie and go to your quiet place. You see your awesome grandfather, you throw yourself at him with total abandon.
Okay, so, your life now is more complicated than that ... but I wonder if we make things more complex than they need to be. Especially when it comes to our relationship with God. Jesus was the master of keeping it simple ... so why are we not following that?
For instance, no where in the Gospel does Jesus say exactly what it feels like when we're hearing God or experiencng his presence. We see Jesus praying, but we don't hear the words God says to him, nor does Jesus turn to the disciples and say, "You see the way the hair on my arms is standing up? That's because I can feel God."
I believe that's because each of us is unique and therefore each of us is going to experience God in a different way. For instance, CAITLIN says she feels calm when she listens to certain music, but that she doesn't "feel" like she's close to God. Um, Jesus "calmed" the waters. He's always telling us in the gospels not to be afraid, not to worry. Doesn't it make sense that when we have a sense of calm, that's God? As BULLETSOUL has basically said to us, "Where else are we going to get it? The world sure isn't providing it."
I'm pretty sure the same goes for prayer. Not to undermine what anyone's mom says, but I'm confused about prayer having to be out loud. In Matthew 6:6, Jesus tells us, "Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret." Simple. Uncomplcated. Authentic. Real.
Nor do I think we need to get all tangled up in guilt when we're mad at God, to the point where we say, "I hate him." If we didn't KNOW God was real, we wouldn't have any emotion toward him at all. We wouldn't waste our energy throwing things at him. The Psalms (109 comes to mind) are full of people waving their fists at the Lord, shouting insults, wailing and gnashing teeth. They keep at it until eventually they're worn out and God's obviously still there -- and they realize he always will be.
Sounds simple to me.
It isn't EASY to keep at it. EASY and SIMPLE aren't the same thing. EASY means without effort or struggle or energy. SIMPLE means without a bunch of complicating rules and levels and requirements. EASY means once or twice and you've got it. SIMPLE means you'll need to keep at it, but you can count on the result.
Loved hearing from you again, ALEXANDRIA. You brought up the whole gray" thing which may make my idea of how "simple" this is seem to, well, not exactly work. But I think it still does. This IS the time for the light to go a little gray as you realize you can't just accept your Mama's Christianity, or anybody else's. If you're truly to be a Christ follower, you have to really, really, really know that you know that you know, and that doesn't come from simply accepting what's been handed down to you. You'll have to read, study, experience, pray, journal, have deep discussions -- and watch the deep shifts that slowly change your behavior and your view of yourself. It's an incredible journey that will take you through some foggy territory -- but why would you want to miss it? Why would you let somebody else take your journey for you? Remember our Journey to Jerusalem during Lent? Would it have been good enough just to think that only happened to a bunch of guys 2000 years ago? Didn't it make a difference to get in there and live it? Even when it was confusing?
Yeah, so embrace the gray and keep following Jesus through the fog until your relatonshp with him is your own. Pray according to your best way of comunicating with a God you can't see. Know that peace, joy, and honest struggle are indications that you ARE close to God. Accept that the world creates most of our problems, some of which you can't solve right now -- but that God creates in us whatever we need to get through it.
Let me just say one more thing: nobody is a mistake. I just turned 63 yesterday and in all those years I have never known of a single person who just shouldn't have been born and who didn't have the chance to find out why he or she was. Some never figured it out and made a lot of people suffer -- but that wasn't God's doing. You have a chance. No matter what your life may look like right now, you do.
So keep journaling, keep singing, keep dancing. Keep working out and working through. Keep being honest. Keep the conversation going. Keep coming here and keep going to our Lord.
"Come unto me, all you who are heavy laden, and I will refresh you."
It's that simple.
If you want to comment on today's post, tell us one thing you can do to simplify your life with God -- whether it's giving up some complicated belief or letting go of the guilt over not doing twelve things a day for God. Then breathe a big ol' sigh of relief.