I finally sat down with my (relatively) new pastor, Pastor Tim. I confessed to him that I just had this weird aversion to praying, had some nagging doubts, that there was this unknown "thing" that I felt was blocking from feeling God, that I used to be so joyous/passionate/optimistic and that I had lost myself somewhere along the way. It was my first time to really get all of that out there to someone. And he told me that I needed to READ. He taught me HOW to read the Scripture, how to meditate on it, how to PRAY the Scripture, and how to use Scripture to regain my intimacy with God. He said, "If prayer is something you're having a hard time with, then start there. Use your Bible's concordance and look up every verse about prayer. Study that, meditate on the verses that stick out to you, pray them back to God, even if you can't pray anything else."
Sometimes when you don't read the Scriptures for awhile, you get hardened toward them. You start to believe the nagging doubts or the crap that the world throws at you. "Scripture is fallible" or "It's nice to read, but it's not as important as people say." or "How could a 4000 year old book really be accurate and applicable to today?" .... I knew what Pastor Tim had said was truth, but didn't follow it right away. It took about 3 weeks before I actually sat down and did what he said. And the thing is, no matter how many nagging doubts you have about faith/God/Bible/etc ... when you sit down and READ the Word of God with the intent of seeking God ... YOU WILL FIND HIM. There is no explanation for the Bible being real and being true, but the power that embodies its every word is undeniable. If Scripture was indeed fallible/whatever, then it wouldn't have changed me the VERY FIRST TIME I PICKED IT UP to look for God inside the pages.
The very first night, I had a breakthrough. Psalm 5:11-12
11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.
And I thought to myself .... Perhaps in the joy of things on earth, I forgot my identity. Somewhere along the way, I got wrapped up in being known by the things I enjoy here on earth. I became a hippie, a recycler, a "greenie", a photographer, a natural healer, a wife, and a mom. I found myself continually trying to make myself fit inside of a pre-formed mold that fits one or more of the above words. But my identity is NOT these things, not even the wife and mother. My identity has always been and always will be... in Christ.
4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
I prayed these verses back to God that night. Admitting to Him that I totally stink at praying, but that I BELIEVE, truly and deeply, that He is the God Creator and His Son is Jesus Christ ... and that I was sorrowful for my lack of intimacy with Him, but asked Him to forgive me and give me His joy again. And you know what? I woke up the next morning - CHANGED. Joyful. It was like I had been walking around half-alive and something in me awakened and blossomed. I liken it to the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy wakes up in Oz and everything is in color. It's LIFE. It's JOY. It's PASSION. And it's back, and it's mine, and God put it there, so that it's flowing in my heart. I carry it with me wherever I go. It changes my outlook on everything.
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man's whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
I feel Him in me. I feel the Joy. I am HIS again. And, really, I always was His, but I just forgot for awhile.
This is just the first of many entries I have to make, but needed to share this. It's been on my heart for several weeks now, since I started this journey. :)
Thanks for reading.