How far do I have to go to get beyond myself?

Note to self:
Think beyond yourself and you’ll be okay.

That’s a little too out of your league, right? I mean, you never signed up to be Super-Spiritual Man (or his knock-off, the infamous Super-Spiritual Man-Wannabe). All you want to do is make it through life the best you can. If someone like me can give you some advice that you can tuck into your pocket and find comfort in as you make your way, so much the better, but you won’t be too dependent on the possibility. But what potential for reaching a worthy destination are you assured by merely accumulating the pocket-change variety of spiritual direction and input?

If everything you do and are is spirit, how can you relegate such a small investment to what connects you with God’s Spirit? Truly, the opposite of actively pursuing connection must be consistently avoiding it. Therefore, how can you hope in a pleasant destination for your life if there is yet no link between you and the Pleasant One in whose quarters alone eternal joy resides?

Are my questions feeling a bit harsh? Maybe you’re thinking some of us just weren’t made for that sort of connection. Yet, how could that be? Rather than trying to reason with you about whether we were made for connection with God or not, let me ask you to consider instead how a true relational connection could be workable if one party were to exclude themselves from the union.

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If I would ask, “What needs to change in me?” instead of “What do You think You’re doing with me?”

Sometimes I want to know exactly where God is and what He is doing. How do I feel so full of joy some days, and others — though He is still as faithful to me as ever — wonder where I am and what could be the point God has in letting me have a lull here?

Yet, would I be concerned with my Rock if I did not experience storms, or feel what it is like to be left behind by what is going on around me?

But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.

Ephesians 2:11-13

These are the words that I need to hear. My prayers have been too consumed with me, too interested in what I’m thinking and feeling, too disinterested in how God overrides what I see and know.

Who is He who these moments of my emptiness-without-enough-greatness-to-keep-my-attention are meant to point out? I go nowhere and find nothing when I ask “God, why?” but, I find Who I was meant to discover in all this nothingness when I ask instead, “God, who are you, and what am I supposed to be seeking after today? What am I NOT seeing of You that is making me feel so disillusioned?”

Let me not try to hold onto what made me feel happy and full of hope yesterday, let me look for more in You, God, than I knew I needed yesterday.

Maintaining Hope

Some days are harder than others for maintaining hope. But, maybe that’s the problem, maybe we’re not supposed to maintain hope at all — to expect it to look the same for us each and every day — maybe it’s supposed to maintain us.

I like to believe that I can hold onto hope and make it wax as large as I like, but on days when it’s harder to hope, I wonder that I seem to be on the verge of falling apart. But, maybe I have always been in a danger I didn’t realize because I thought I was so resourceful in my optimism and cheer.

Maybe I shouldn’t be afraid when hope seems to come at a higher price on days when I would rather it was cheap enough to buy up enough shares to feel a cushy level of secure again. Maybe hope seems so expensive because it is so rare — only seeming like there was enough to go around forever.

The truth is, only Christ is enough, and has enough for us to be able to go on forever. Why? Because this very world is held together by the breath of His mouth and the Word of His lips. Not one of us is an accident waiting to be forsaken, but a creation God made on purpose to showcase His faithfulness.

He lets our hopes fail us, so that we don’t have to live in ignorance of His infallible mercies anymore.

Then, if this be so, may God let me be able to let go of all these empty hopes — idols that promise me life in certain quantities, but limit my expectations of and delight in God — and hope, instead, because my Source is not short-handed and will never become obsolete. You will always refresh Me with your living water, God, filling my cup to overflowing when I ask. Thank You for teaching me, again, how to ask for what I didn’t realize I needed above so many other things.

God, will You follow my rules?

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

He won’t let you stumble,
your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s
Guardian will never doze or sleep.

God’s your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.

God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always.

Psalm 121 (emphasis mine)

A couple of weeks ago the Lord was dealing with me in how I like to try to separate the secular and the spiritual. I like to think that God can be found in little windows of time and place, and no where else. I like to think that I only find God when I am looking for Him; that I’m the one in charge of where things go with us.

But, how could I think that? How could I want to think that when I need Him so much? I go through a time in my life when I don’t know what it means to emerge from the other side of the tunnel, and I hold onto the idea that God is with me everywhere, knowing everything, for dear life! Yet, when the tunnel disappears in the background, I forget what it was like to be there. I wonder if it was all real, or just my gut response to things I didn’t like about my life.

But even if everything in my life is not much more than my response to things, I cannot explain why I am responding better now without saying that God did something I still do not completely understand. He gave me faith that He will see me through to the other side, and hope that this will all turn out for my good because I love Him, and He is loving me in all that I’m going through.

So, my question is not really am I where God wants me to be, or am I doing what I’m supposed to, but what is God trying to do with me? Though there is such mystery in my life, and I am often so unsure when I take a step ahead, God doesn’t mean for me to figure it all out and make the best cut of my life, but to give me every reason I need to trust Him and let Him lead me where I need to go.