I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been absent for a few weeks. I’ve been hunkered down working on a new writing project. Would you like a sneak peek? Here you go.
I was alone, or least I felt that way. Women huddled in happy clusters chatting about first one thing and then the other. Some propped babies on their hips. Others clutched Bibles in their hands. Most wore smiles on their faces. I wore one too. But it wasn’t a reflection of what was in my heart.
The upturned lips were simply the camouflage I wore to blend in–to avoid being found out. What I really wanted to do was run and hide.
On the outside I was a well-put-together church mom with trendy shoes and snappy jeans, but on the inside I was a little girl cowering in the far recesses of the playground hoping no one would notice my reluctance to join in.
What’s wrong with me, I wondered? Why don’t I feel the joy these other women feel? What holds me back from experiencing the confidence and assurance they seem to experience? Why do they seem so happy? Where is that abundant life Jesus talked about? If I am a new creation like the Bibles says, then why don’t I feel like one? Why do I continue to act like the same old me, struggle with the same negative emotions, and wrestle with the same old sins? Why do I feel like I’m wandering around in a maze with one hand on the wall, trying to find a way out of these feelings of inadequacy?
The problem was I was STUCK. Yes, I had professed Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I had done that. I knew that Christ had set me free, but honestly, I couldn’t tell you exactly what He had set me free from.
He had set me free from the penalty of sin and spending eternity in hell. I got that. But I had a niggling feeling that’s not what Jesus meant when He said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
I had a hunch He meant something more than heaven when He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). That sounded earthy to me.
My early years in the faith were filled with wonder, expectancy, and downright giddiness. But somewhere along the line, I had settled into being a good church girl—a Bible-study mom who had pitched my lounge chair under a shade tree, and waved at other well-mannered believers doing the same.
Year after year I thought, maybe this will be the Bible study that will make it all better? And the truth is I didn’t even know what the “it” was.
What do you do when your walk becomes a crawl? When you feel like you are a disappointment to yourself and to God? When spiritual chronic fatigue leaves you wondering if it’s all worth it? When you feel stuck between the Red Sea and the Promised Land—saved from slavery, but never quite making it to the land of milk and honey.
What do you do when you realize that your once passionate faith has morphed into the safe confines of a predictable domesticated belief system, faraway from “Go ye therefore” and “Greater things that these”?
Sometimes the gap between the faith we long for and the faith we experience seems vast beyond bridging. We stand on the east ledge of the great expanse, thinking the west rim is out of reach or possibly not worth the effort.
We think where we are and where we want to be is an impossible, implausible, or unrealistic, so we pull up a lawn chair in the land of in-between and settle in. Content, but not really. Longing, but not quite enough. Satisfied, but not at all.
We settle for reading about the adventures of others and secretly wonder if they are on the up-and-up. We settle for the occasional postcard from the brave and the few who’ve made it to the other side while we sip on sweet tea.
We make peace with passive because we falsely believe that God would never want to use the likes of us anyway.
If we were honest, I’d venture to say that most believers don’t really want to move out of the in-between. Given the choice, they wouldn’t go back to the Egypt of their life before Christ, at the same time, they don’t really want to get their shoes messy and venture into the unknown faith of sacrifice, miracles, and wonders.
Many settle for a milquetoast faith that listens to the music through the walls of a party going on in the next room. So what if they can’t catch all the words. They get the gist of the melody, and they’re OK with that. They aren’t particularly motivated to move beyond weekend visits with God, like a kid with shared custody.
But I’m not that person. I’m thinking you’re not either.
Do you want more from your Christian life than you are experiencing right now–today? Are you ready to get moving and march into your Promised Land?
That’s what this blog is all about. We’re linking arms and taking hold of what God has already promised.
If you are ready to take hold of the promises of God, leave a comment that says, “I’m taking hold!”