(This post has been sitting in drafts for a bit. It didn’t feel complete, and I also couldn’t release it , so I’ve returned to it almost every day. This afternoon, I pondered a Father’s Day entry and began perusing Daddy memories in my mind. And finally, this post found completion. The reason I had to wait was evident. God’s timing is perfect.)
I followed a recent online discussion about Prayer Life.
I feel my spirit pull away from that phrase a bit.
Common phrases begin to impart their own meanings over time. We lock on to what a thing looks like and how it functions and can forget the deeper truths.
‘Prayer life,’ for instance, is a living organism that grows and changes and is active.
I sometimes long for a rewording so that the term would grab my attention as it should, not immediately throw my mind into a conquered pattern.
The online discussion concerned balancing one's prayer life and led me to these thoughts.
Too much of my spiritual journey has been focused on the “do-ings” of my life.
Too little time given to the “be-ing”.
God IS. And He asks us to BE His. The schedule, timing, clock, list, plan… are not wrong at all. They are fine. They just aren’t IT.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the methods…
Prayer is relationship. And when we confine relationship to method or schedule, suffocation often results.
I’ve commented before about my maternal grandparents. One of the safest places I can remember is their home.
A few memories of their household:
Unrushed. Lots of sitting and being together. No schedule. We played. Games, dolls, crosswords. I never one day had the thought, “How do I act like a better granddaughter?” There was no list or process in my brain. I was their granddaughter. And I was beloved. I knew this by the way I was welcomed and embraced. I knew this because they had time. They expressed their love for me verbally and with actions. With their facial expressions. And the way they talked about me when I was out of the room. They worked hard to have my favorite foods available. They were profoundly interested in my stories.
And I loved being with them.
They were a concrete example of safe, cherished relationship. They were practicing, Christ's love.
But, how easy it can be for me to not experience Christ this way.
My prayer focus can become: What I Am Saying. And, How Long I am Spending. And, What is Expected of Me.
How does God look as I approach Him? What is His response to me? Where is He sitting? Where is Jesus? Where are His eyes? On me? Looking into the distance?
To keep this relationship ALIVE in my broken brain and heart—I have begun intentionally taking God with me to a “place” I never have.
An intense moment of conflict. A bad parenting moment. In the middle of a pity party. Extreme joy or raucous laughter.
Not just desperate pleas (though, He certainly hears and accepts those). But also, a considering of where He is in those moments. I am choosing to open new doors in my perception and be more deeply intimate with God.
Not just in moments I have patterned to be Holy. But every moment allowed to birth holiness because of His Presence.
I had to work at this. I couldn’t picture Him at first in stressful, difficult circumstances. When I felt like I was failing.
I asked for help. Faltering words.
“Lord, where do you sit when I talk to you? Do you sit? When I’m messing up, or in pain, where do you stand? Do you touch me? Can you help me see you in my mind’s eye?”
This visualization became gradually more distinct.
The intercession, the confession, the listening…grew in authenticity as I became more aware of Who He Is. Where He Is. (everywhere, all the time…)
And How He Loves. The two are directly proportional.
God is Love.
Change was effected. There is no other way.
We cannot control, or direct or manipulate the outpourings or effects as a result of being with God.
The outpourings (whether they are ever seen by human eyes or not) will Glorify and Testify where it matters. He will see to that.
We should only continue to pursue him, pressing in.
Seeing Him. Being seen.
A personal relationship with Christ. It thrives, grows and never stops giving, filling and renewing.
El Roi, praise—
(And there it was. That phrase. ‘Personal relationship with Christ’
What to say to honor you, Dad? Just this.
Everything to me now, is just what you told me it would be.Christ in me, in you.
Is All. And promises our family Forever. Together. With Him.
You consistently testified and taught that Knowing God far surpassed knowing about Him. In my ongoing cycle of relationship with God, my heart reawakens to this truth and thrives again in His Love, over and over again. Each time more authentic than the last.
This Truth that can never be conquered, but always gives from an unreachable depth, has been a soundtrack of my life.
What sweet awareness to realize,your voice still carries the melody.
The melody, of this, most resonant of Life Songs.
I continue to pursue the One you told me loves me most.
I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day--)