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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

At A Loss

For the past four or five years I’ve kept a journal of daily devotions.  It’s a good habit that I started for Lent one year to avoid having to give up something that I really enjoy.

Also because I don’t understand how holiness begins with giving up chocolate.

I read a page of a devotional book every day (I read Our Daily Bread, or ODB for short, which reminds me of this rapper in the 90’s named Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and now you know the types of connections that form in my mind), reflect on it, and write about it in a notebook.  The reflections aren’t always groundbreaking, nor are most particularly deep or revealing.  Many of my thoughts on the devotions are featured here as blog posts.

But recently, eh, I haven’t really been feeling it, you know what I mean?

My good habit has become more habit and less good.

It happens in life: you start out doing something that is good for you, whether putting the effort into a new relationship or exercising or going to church, and eventually you find yourself going through the motions and your relationship stalls, your exercise routine stops yielding results and during prayer time at church you’re looking around to see who else is at church instead of actually praying.

Ahem.

It’s where I’m finding myself lately.  Sort of flailing, sort of bored, sort of at a loss for spiritual insight.



My journal (and I feel like this blog, too) reads like a watered-down manifesto of Sunday School lessons: Trust the Lord.  Life is hard, but God can help.  We need to seek God’s help in everything.  Thank you, Lord, for helping me.  God is good.  God is great.  Let us thank him for our food.  Amen.

Okay.  That last one isn’t in there.

But you get the point – my spirit life is a little meh, a little boring, a little too many words and not enough of anything else.

And I’m having a little trouble getting beyond it.   

Usually when a person finds herself stagnating, the natural response is to change it up.  Start doing something differently. 

I’ve done it before.  I’ve changed up the routine, found a new way.  But it seems that the more I chase things that are new, the more often I need to find another one.  Something isn’t right.  It isn’t a good fit.  It burns out quickly and I am back at the beginning again.

I don’t want to spend my life chasing new and different.  Even “A Relationship With God” is just a thing if you say the words but don’t do anything with them.

Maybe all those devotionals where my only response is “Trust the Lord” and “Seek God” count for something.


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3 comments:

  1. How funny - my Dad and my Grandmother on his side both read Our Daily Bread for as long as I can recall. Even something as potentially profound as a Relationship with God is just that - a relationship. Think about marriage or a friendship - they do through ups and down, dry spells, so to speak. In those instances, seeking something new and different isn't necessarily the answer, but rather soldiering through the rough patch. I think that's what it's like when your spiritual life runs a bit dry. Rather than desperately seeking something that's going to make it interesting again, so to speak, just keep on going. I don't know - that's just my spin. But I can tell you this - and here's what really made me feel compelled to comment - those "trust the Lord" and "seek God" messages are spot-on. This has been a long...looooooooooong two+ years since the Hub's position was eliminated and the bottom fell out of our world. Several months into the whole thing, someone mentioned a devotional to me and I found that my Mom already had it on her shelf so I borrowed it (and by borrowed I mean I still have it). The message that kept rising to me through all of the doubt, all of the tears, all of the struggle, all of the frustration, all of the wondering what we should do next and if the choices we made were the right ones were "don't worry" and "trust in Me" and "seek God." It was amazing to me how many days I would pick that thing up and the answer to whatever was on my mind was right there on the page. I kid you not. The book is Jesus Calling and I think even now, two years later, it still points me in the right direction. Sometimes I fall off - we all do - and stop reading daily. But then I"ll feel a pull and when I eventually pick it up again, the problems of my mind and heart are answered by those words yet again. It's kind of remarkable. But now that things have changed (the Hub has a new job, I've quit mine...lots of change) and I'm looking back over these two years, I can see that every single thing has led us to this point and that in the cases where that message was "trust God" and "turn to God" and I did, everything worked out the best possible way, even if it didn't seem so in the moment.
    Sometimes the biggest messages come in the simplest form.

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    1. Gosh - thanks so much for your comment, Lisa! Your words mean so much to me. It helps to hear them from a person who can relate so well. I think we have Jesus Calling somewhere around here... I'll have to look for it.

      I know that God has a message for me, and I can say I Trust and I Seek so easily and feel like the words are coming from a genuine place, you know? Still, I can't help but feel like I'm languishing.

      Patience is my friend right now. So is quiet. And so are you! Thank you for sharing your experience. I think sometimes what I am missing with my relationship with God is talking about him with others.

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  2. Aw, you're so welcome. :D
    I agree with you that sometimes we need to talk more with others to really grow in that relationship with God. It's so easy to internalize, to go through the motions, etc. But to actually share that outwardly with others is more difficult, so I think people don't do it for whatever reason - I know I'm that way. I guess I'm just private, internal? And maybe we don't speak out with others because we fear.
    As for the languishing, maybe you're not? Sometimes I think it feels like I'm going nowhere (not only spiritually, but in general) but one day I turn around and look behind me and think "oh, wow, so that's what was happening!"

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