As I sleepily stumbled to the bathroom during the night, a smile came across my face when I realized...yep—I did it again! I fell asleep while talking to God. J
What made me really almost chuckle to myself, however, was not that I had fallen asleep—but that I felt no disappointment, no condemnation because of it. That may mean nothing to you—but there was a time when this would have greatly saddened me. My walk with God was more wrapped up in what I did than love for who I was doing it for.
Have you ever been stuck there? Where everything measureable in your Christian life was taken into account to see how you measured up?
If there were more in the debit than the credit column—I was feeling pretty good about myself. However, if the scale tilted the other way at all, I would beat myself with Bible verses and spiritual quotes until I was sufficiently chastised.
Instead of growing in wisdom—I was completing the current Bible study.
Instead of growing in grace—I was growing in religious practices.
Instead of working out my salvation—I was working myself into a frenzy.
Instead of seeking the One who saves me—I was trying to please Him with my efforts.
Instead of laying myself at the feet of my Savior—I was trying to better myself so He’d be happy with me and leave. me. alone! Because if I wasn’t causing any trouble for Him in His eyes, then surely He wouldn’t cause any trouble for me in mine!
And you know what...life is in the heart of any living creature—not its form. And there was no life in this creature—only the form of a religious person who smiled and waved while wearing a mask to conceal the pain, struggle and woundedness deep within.
Until one sweet season, only by the grace of the Almighty God, He began to show Me His love! His love for me; His love for the Body; His love for all mankind. And I’ve never been the same since.
Now don’t get me wrong—I never thought God harsh. But I was so focused on trying to please Him by doing well at all the things that “good” Christians did that I missed out on His heart. I would say with my mouth that He loved us and cared, but felt deep within (without admitting it) that He didn’t really care much at all! I felt He distanced Himself from me in the midst of my sufferings.
I studied the word fervently, but I didn’t seek His face.
I attended classes on spiritual living, but the information never penetrated my heart.
I took notes at retreats and of sermons, but they remained just ink on a page.
I went to prayer seminars and followed the steps, but never heard a response.
Formulas are rampant in the church—but there is no life in a formula! No freedom in a list of “to do’s”. No communicating of honest, raw emotions when a wall could go up at any time because of failure to follow the rules.
But Jesus.... What else can I say...but Jesus!
God saw my heart aching for intimacy with Him. He saw that the true desire of my being was to know Him and to not be afraid that He knew me all too well. Jesus saw the poor girl running around trying to do everything “right” so she could “qualify” for life. All while dying slowly inside because of loneliness—separated from her Creator.
I believe in a holy, unchangeable God who demands a high standard.
I believe holiness keeps to a line that He will not move, nor will He cross.
I believe God is to be reverenced AND feared by all man.
But I also know His heart towards His beloved—I’ve felt His presence, I’ve heard His voice and I’ve been drawn into such sweet communion time and again that my nakedness before Him is never shameful, only freeing!
I spend more time with Him, soaking up the word, sitting under great teaching and in prayer then I ever did before—but it’s out of love and the intense desire to draw even closer. Not out of duty, fear, or the masquerade. No...I just. want. more!
More of His likeness.
To fall asleep while praying is to fall asleep in the embrace of the One who loves and desires me daily! There is no better rest, no sweeter chamber than His arms. And I plan to fall asleep there again and again!