Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Road to Balance

I’ve been feeling the last few days that God is asking more of me than I have to give. Like He’s taking more than He’s putting in. I think it’s somewhat ironic seeing as how I have been in places where I have felt much worse and had much farther to climb in the last few weeks. The reality is I just don’t require as much to get by, but much more to keep my relationship with Christ as strong. I’ve mentioned spiritual endurance before as a need to keep your faith strong in the hard times, but what about when stuff gets easier? How do you fill your cup? How do you begin to find balance when you return to the land of the living? 

I’m afraid that as each day gets easier and I require less reliance on God to be ok, I also loose a little bit of my time with Him because I have been looking for ways to go back to my old way of living. I’m finding that I am less excited for the ways I can glorify God in my actions and more focused on how to spend my time. I want my actions to glorify God, but I also want to find a way to squeeze in my “worldly” fun time. I need some balance.

I feel like I am becoming spiritually complacent and stagnate. This is definitely not what I want period, but especially since I still have so far to go. I think that now that I am not living in a time of desperation anymore (or as much), God’s telling me that I need to start replacing my bad spiritual habits with new good ones. The old way of doing things obviously wasn’t working or I would not need to go through this kind of time. God is teaching me I still have so much to learn.    

Quiet time has never been easy for me. I admit I’m lazy and often find other things I would rather do with my time. Forging a relationship is hard, but to pursue one with someone who is not physically present (not trying to cheat the Holy Spirit-just saying flesh and blood) often seems impossible or at least very overwhelming. Taking the time to get to know God better is probably something that requires a spirit-lead push, as we are selfish and greedy people. It is not our first instinct to give our time, money, love, & needs to someone else (this may change as you cultivate a lifestyle of giving, but it’s not innate). If we don’t take the time to re-fill spiritually, is there any hope that we can continue to drive? What happens when we run out of gas?

I initially want to blame God, saying that He asks for more than He gives, but I know right off the bat that’s a lie. He has given us all we need; we just have to figure out how to harness it. Yancey Arrington, the teaching pastor of my church Clear Creek Community Church posted on facebook today the following quote (I don’t know where He got it or if He originated it, I just like to give credit where it’s due). He said, “Most of God’s will for us doesn’t rest on waiting for God to speak but on reading what God has already spoken.” He sent us the tools we need to find the answers we lack (well for the most part) in the Bible. I don’t know about you, but the Bible intimidates me (yes even after being a Christian most of my life and having a good understanding of most scripture), it’s kinda hard to navigate through. Where do I start? How come God doesn’t send me exactly where I need to go when I crack it open? Why does it feel like so much of it does not apply to my life? These aren’t rhetorical questions, they are ones I genuinely feel and am still trying to get answers to. But I can’t deny that if I feel like I’m running a little thin on spirituality, here’s the best place to start.

I have also noted how hard it is for me to be alone. I don’t like silence at all, it’s really uncomfortable for me. The insecurities start to crawl out in silence, there’s too much inflection. Colin Creel (still on the aforementioned “Perspectives” book) notes about silent times, “It is during such times that you come to understand yourself better, to understand your relationship with God better, and through those understandings to be more capable of knowing and loving other people. Without knowledge of self and knowledge of God, we are bound to find our identity solely in what others think of us, and that brings disaster.” Maybe a bit more silence in my own life would give me a chance to face the dissatisfaction I have with myself and let the perfection of Christ overshadow them.

Prayer has been one of the biggest things for me these last few weeks. I have kinda had a hard time with prayer in the past, not because I think God doesn’t listen, but because a lot of times I’m afraid to ask. I often have a hard time going to God with things knowing He is going to do what’s best in the situation regardless of how I feel about them or what I ask for. I am trying really hard to live a life in the habit of constant prayer. I do think that God answers prayers, but I think the more important result of prayer is how it blesses our hearts. God wants us to come to Him with everything: small, large, ridiculous, or not. Much like any couple wants to be a part of each other’s joys, sorrows, and even the day-to-day moments of activity, so does God. Prayer is about seeking out God in a substantial way. It’s the beginning of a life of give and take between Creator and created.

Over the next few days, I intend to make it a priority to do these 3 things everyday:
-quiet time (finish up the “Perspectives” book I have mentioned before and continue the one I just started “Wanting all the Right Things” by Shirin Taber) with the books listed above and crack open that old Bible.
-spend a little time in silence reflecting on how I feel
-create a constant dialogue with God
Hopefully this will start me working toward a lifestyle of pursuing Christ because I want more of Him, not just because I need it.

Today’s entry seems kinda weird to me, sorry for that. I kinda wasn’t sure where I was going with it til I got there.

-do I need to establish or build on some quiet time with God?
-would a little more silence help me put God at the forefront of my focus?
-am I in the habit of establishing a constant dialogue with Christ? Why not and what can I do to change that?

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