Monday, May 10, 2010

I think this is what you call a revelation.

I’m listening to a Joyce Meyer podcast after dinner this evening, as I usually do, and the podcast is part 3 of a 3-part series. Now, I say “as I usually do”, but it’s important to note that I really felt led to listen to this last podcast of hers at this particular time. Sometimes I’ll wait a day or so before checking out her podcasts again, but something inside of me said, “Listen to this podcast now.” So I did.

And…I had what Oprah likes to call an “Ah-Ha!” moment (Yes, I’m a fan of Oprah, too – typical woman). I’ve had a couple of these moments in the few months prior to tonight, but I was surprised and truly thankful for this “ah-ha!” moment because this past week or so I have felt very dry in my spiritual life. I have been praying and reading and writing, but I haven’t felt moved I guess you could say. Because I am getting pretty good at this whole discipline concept, I’ve continued spending time with God even though I haven’t felt he was with me, something Joyce Meyer talked about in a recent podcast as well as the focus of a chapter in my Purpose-Driven Life book that I read last week, which appropriately began with, “God is real no matter how you feel.” So true, and something I repeated to myself over the last handful of days.

Back to the “Ah-Ha!” moment. The moment started to form last night, Sunday night. I was wrestling with the fact that I haven’t felt like wanting to go to church for the last several weeks…and therefore, I haven’t gone. In addition, I have spent everyday just “going with the flow”, going with whatever I feel inclined to do that day. Sometimes I read my Purpose-Driven Life book, sometimes I read a couple of Nouwen imperatives, sometimes I blast my music and write down whatever pops in my head, sometimes I listen to a Joyce podcast and go to bed early. I was wrestling with this as well, partly feeling like it was good I was spending time with God doing whatever I felt at this time, and partly feeling like I needed some kind of “spiritual system” that would make God proud.

So here it is, Sunday evening, and I read Chapter 13 of Purpose-Driven Life (which is about the point I stopped reading the last go-round of trying to complete this book). Well, this chapter focuses on the importance of being a part of a church community. Ironic, huh? It gets better. Then I read an imperative from my Henri Nouwen book entitled, “Seek a New Spirituality,” which is about worshipping and living for God in the way authentic to how he made you. I’m feeling a bit confused and sorrowful because I think God is trying to tell me that I should be finding my authentic self in church every Sunday morning. I started writing out my feelings and thoughts, which would become the foundation of my “Ah-Ha!” moment…I just didn’t know it at the time. Here is what I wrote:

There’s something about church, about going to church. I haven’t wanted to. This season is one of the closest I have felt with God. I read that you must worship God out of love and not duty. Once I am at church, I am okay. I do okay and I feel okay, but there is distraction in my mind and my heart. This difficulty about being at church is something I’d like to explore. I understand the importance of being a part of a community of believers. At this point, the healing I am doing, the getting to know my authentic self, the worshipping and loving and experiencing God is something I am doing daily, quietly in my home. And I feel more comfortable, at least right now, spending time with God, just me and Him. Something about being in a room with others is what hinders me from opening my heart and mind to receive what God intends for me to hear and to experience. I feel like this is the quiet time in my life, the time where I am learning and growing and replenishing all of my spiritual love and energy so that I am well-prepared to go out into the world, among believers and non-believers, and allow my body to express who I am as God’s creation.

After writing this, I put down my notebook and just kind of meditated on it all. Monday’s work day and came and went, and I really just wanted to get home and curl up in bed with Rowdy and do some more reading and writing. This brings me back to where I left off…listening to Joyce Meyer’s podcast.

Pen in hand, I press the play button and start scribbling down notes of things that she says that really grabs my attention. So Joyce is talking and talking, and it is sounding quite familiar because it is incredibly similar to the words that I wrote in my notebook last night. In a nutshell (and I’m paraphrasing) this is what Joyce says:

Some days I want to read more, some days I want to write more or pray more; it’s not what we do that matters, it’s just that we want to be with Him. You need to spend some time just hanging out with God, just hanging on the vine, spending time receiving, receiving, receiving what God has for you. Too often in worship we want to give God something; He doesn’t need what you have. Spend that time receiving his mercy, receiving his grace, receiving his unconditional love; use that time to let God build you up before you go out into the world. We all want to go out into the world and try to fix things and people, when really we need to focus on fixing ourselves first. Spend time hanging on the vine, get well, get healthy and whole, and let God make you secure in who you are through Him.

I immediately go to my computer and type all of this ah-ha!-ness out because I just had to share it. It is too glorious to keep to myself, and it really doesn’t get much better than this – the clarity, the contentment, the connection with God, the special relationship that we have, just between me and Him. Wow. And this is my quiet time. God is building me up, strengthening me, arming me with love and forgiveness and acceptance of myself and others, and it feels so natural sharing my spirituality with others through my writing. I am using God’s gifts that he uniquely gave me, the gifts of creativity and articulation, to bring him glory. And in a way, telling my story is telling His story, too.

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