It is very easy to go through life without taking the time to reflect. Maybe it’s because life gets so busy. Maybe it’s because somewhere inside I know that if I take the time to reflect, I might not like what I’ll find. Maybe I’d rather be a superficial person than face the pain of my past, than face the shame of my present. Maybe it’s just easier to get absorbed in video games, to get hammered at a party, to feel consoled by physical intimacy.
One would think that a Christian would be different. After all, we have experienced God enter into our life, offering forgiveness for all we’ve done wrong, and a new opportunity to live for the things that matter. But look around. Considering yourself a Christian doesn’t mean that you are automatically a deep person, someone very much in touch with their desires and emotions, someone with sound character and integrity, someone who is whole.WHAT CAN WE DO?
So what can we do? As Christians we believe that we are in desperate need of God, that simple self-help will not do. We need the God who made us, the one who loves us even in our deepest and darkest places. With that said, being in a relationship with God (like any other relationship) requires effort on our end too. Terry Wardle in his book “Strong Winds, Crashing Waves” describes a spiritual discipline called “Breath Prayer”. Take some time alone in a place where you won’t be distracted. Imagine Jesus with open arms, knowing that he loves you and cares about even the smallest details of your life. Imagine him calling you by name and asking you “what do you most want from me?” This is where we must be honest with God, with ourselves. What do you really want from God?TRUSTING HIM
When I first heard this exercise described, as much as I hate to admit it, my instinct was fear. What would come out of my heart? And could I really trust God with my desires? I was surprised to see that my response was fear. I believe Jesus loves me, why would I be afraid to tell God want I want?
But I have endured. I found it very freeing to bring those desires to light, to choose to let God in. By simply expressing what I want it does not guarantee that I’ll receive it. God is God, not me. Will I continue to follow him even if I don’t get what I think I want? This will be an ongoing process, but so far the result is that I seem to be more in touch with myself, more connected to God, and more aware of the people around me and the world we live in.
Regardless of whether or not you utilize this way to relate to God, will you choose to be someone who just goes through the motions or escapes, or will you choose to embrace the journey of being open and honest with God and others?