Thursday, November 29, 2018

Feeling Far from God

I'm gonna be super real here, folks. It's been a weird season for me. A weird past few years, honestly. I feel like I'm the only Christian in the world who doubts, who feels cynical, who is tired of the games and the plastic smiles. Tired of the way some Christian circles handle certain things by sweeping them under the rug (in the name of Jesus). Tired of the cliche' advice and simplified theology that is so surface-level that it blows away with the first gust of wind. 
Have you been hurt in church or ministry? Have you withdrawn from people intentionally to try to protect your heart? I have. And it's been really, really hard. And it's been really, really eye opening. I never in a million years thought that I would fall for this. I always wanted to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
I often think back to my first few years of walking with God and weep because I was so naive, so innocent. I believed that if people claimed the name of Jesus, they would walk like Him. I believed people wouldn't play games. I was wrong. Even the strongest Christian in the world will let you down. God is trying to pry my faith in humans out of my heart and replace it with faith in Him. Only HE won't let me down. Perhaps this is the big lesson in all of this? I'm not sure.
I can't be the only one who is hurting and feeling far from God, can I? I have often said, "I don't have a problem with God! It's the people I struggle with." But...didn't He die for those people? Didn't He give up His rights to save them? Why does this have to be so hard? God is teaching me some deep, difficult truths these days. My naivety is gone now. My innocence is so smashed that sometimes I feel like I've eaten from that tree God told Adam and Eve not to eat from and it opened my eyes to the reality of good and evil - even in the church.
If you are struggling, as I have been, don't give up. It starts with honesty in your heart. It's normal to feel this way, but that deep voice in your heart telling you that this is not the way it SHOULD be is evidence that this season will pass. Eventually. After some hard, intentional work on our part and lots of faithfulness on God's part, I believe with all of my heart that the truths He is planting in our hearts will be worth it. If you are unsettled in feeling far from God, don't give up. Every step in His direction is a step back toward Him. You are NOT alone! 
This article I found today may be a good place to start.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Hollow Tree

There used to be a dead, hollowed out tree lying in my yard. It had fallen over in a terrible storm. It was really in the way and though I had tried to move it several times, I never could because it was very heavy and awkward and I couldn't do it by myself. I began to step over it, mow around it and eventually stopped noticing it was even there.

A friend came over one day and noticed the tree right away. Her "fresh" perspective and unfamiliarity with the scene made it obvious to her. When she asked why I hadn't moved it, I was so embarrassed. I admitted my previous attempts to move it without help, and how after awhile it's like it was almost invisible to me! I didn't even notice it was still there. And I had never thought to ask for help!

This entire scenario really cut me to the core. You may be wondering what the big deal is...well, what if there were people in my life like that tree? People who are so hollow, so dead inside, that the storms of life have knocked them down. I try in my own strength to pick them up, but it's just too heavy for me, so eventually, I begin to step around them or over them. They become invisible...

God help me not to try to manage things in my own strength. Send people into my life who will help me see what is around me with a fresh perspective. Please don't allow me to become so oblivious that when the storms of life come knocking others down, I don't even notice the casualties. Give me eyes to see...and arms to serve. Give me wisdom to notice and a heart to love.