Thursday, August 29, 2013
*this is a spiritual post. I hope to have more of these. I am no theologian, nor preacher, not even much of a writer, but I'm just sharing my heart and snippets from my own pilgrimage.
This past May 30th, I turned 30 years old. The last five years of my life have been marked by transition; moving, growing and stretching into an adult, a wife, a friend, and a mother. Transition has also been the case spiritually.
In my early twenties I experienced the presence and the love of God so profoundly and tangibly it wrecked me in the best possible way forever. The presence of Jesus felt more real to me than the glass of water sitting next to me right now, and I drank Him up, letting him fill and overflow all my aching places. It was beautiful. And it was real.
And then...God didn't feel so accessible anymore. My closest friend now seemed disinterested and silent. It felt like He left me. And I was heartbroken. Connecting with God felt like such an uphill battle. This had little to do with my outward experiences or trials. It was something that was happening on the inside.
And so the last five years have been finding my way out of that place, stumbling through the maze of my heart.
Christians love to use the desert analogy when describing their spiritual life. It usually goes something like this, "So how are you doing spiritually? or "how is your Walk?" or some other kind of Christianese. And if everything isn't cupcakes and roses the person may reply with something like, "Oh you know...just feeling kinda of dry right now." Or "I think I'm just in a desert season." You get the idea. You can probably overhear this conversation happening right now in a coffee shop.
The feelings and experiences that can make someone feel like they are in a "desert season with the Lord," are all valid. I not only claimed the desert as my spiritual landscape but thought I was wasting away there and dying a slow spiritual death.
And five years later, this is my conclusion:
The desert is bullshit.
Yep. I said it. Just go read the New Testament, because that is basically what it's all about....the absolute ACCESSIBILITY to God through the work Christ did on the cross. Always. Regardless of difficult circumstances, of feeling, of sin. If you are in Christ you can always have immediate access to God. He's never far off. Jesus died and the rose from the dead so we can always, always enter into the Presence of God.
And I would get so angry at God because I would read about how He promises His Presence and I would be like, "So where are you??" There was a disconnect between God's promise and my experience. And I believed the lie that my experience is what was true.
I was that wanderer lost in the desert, so desperate and thirsty for God, believing that he was far off. Sometimes I would see glimpses of his Presence like an oasis in the unrelenting desert, only to run to and have it disappear, a mirage.
But somewhere along the line I just decided to believe God at his word, regardless of my feelings or experience. And slowly, clinging to the Word of His promise, I looked around me and realized I was out of my "desert." And what had changed? Not much, besides my perspective.
And that's when I realized....the desert is bullshit. The presence of God isn't the mirage, the desert is the mirage.
This is the picture I got in my head:
Through Christ I had inherited the land of milk and honey, rivers and streams, the green and the good, living water that cannot be quenched, aka: the Presence of God. I was walking around with scales over my eyes, believing I was trapped in a desert. But the desert I was seeing was just a mirage. Reality was the green and the good, the rivers and the streams, God Himself. All around me. Near to Me. And His nearness to me is my good. And He is always Near. I was stumbling around in my mirage of a desert and when I opened my eyes and really saw, the whole time I was living in the land of Promise, bumping into God Himself.
"He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him." 1Thess 5:10