September 23, 2009

Deep Thinking

This morning in Bible Study, we talked about having an intimate relationship with God. I admit that this has always been something I've struggled with...I can never quite put my finger on it...I didn't go through life dealing with an absent or abusive father, my brothers were great (at least, as much as brothers can be)...I never suffered from anything abusive or such from any outside males in my life...so why is it that I can spout the words, relate the stories to my children, sing the songs, go on Sunday mornings with the "right" face, but I can't actually talk to God...

I grew up in the Church, I learned the Bible Stories at a young age, memorized our verses each week, did the crafts, could speak intelligently and deeply about the things we studied. I was part of a Bible Bowl Team all 6 years from Junior High until the end of High School - I could spit out chapters of books of the Bible, ramble lists and genealogies...

One of the questions in our study this week was "When did you know you had a relationship with God?" And I couldn't come up with an answer...how crazy is that?????

I mean, you'd think that someone who grew up in the Church, and has 2 brothers who are in the "professional ministry", with a grandmother who was a missionary, parents who served...that I'd have figured it out by now...

So, why is it that I can't seem to truly connect. I try...I spend quiet time reading devotional books, reading Scriptures, praying, thinking about how I'd like to improve myself and be more Godly...and then, within seconds I find myself thinking about all the things I could be doing, or should be doing...and I get distracted and have to start all over...I never know what I should read or study during my quiet time...I know that it doesn't have to be an hour all at once, or 30 minutes...just as I can do it, and I know I need to spend time with Him during the day with minimal interruptions...

We listen to a local station that plays nothing but Christian music whenever we're in the car...we have CDs of worship music, and other contemporary artists playing...I take advantage of the music from my satellite provider, tuning to their "contemporary" station (thank you Sirius-XM radio!)...I read inspirational books, I read books by Charles Swindoll, I read Max Lucado, I try to study things that will help me as a Christian woman, wife and mother...and yet...I feel empty much of the time, like a failure...

How do you handle this?

4 comments:

Inkling said...

Ah, spoken like a girl born in a church pew. I'm with you, sister. =)

As a recovering over-churched kiddo myself, I've come to have my whole concept of God made real and/or turned upside down (in a good way) by books by Brennan Manning, Anne Lamott, Paul Young's The Shack (I cannot suggest this book enough, oh my goodness, it was huge for me!), and the latest that blew me out of the water (still processing what I liked and didn't understand) was Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconnelli. Check out the concept of Listening Prayer too, though it will seem way crazy compared to how we grew up. Finally, another thing that has stuck in my mind since the first time I watched it was a nooma video called Rain. I am pretty sure you can watch it online for free at nooma.com.

Anyway, for what it's worth, those items have helped Jesus become so real to me and have taken away so much of the Christian church upbringing /Baptist school history that has given me enough guilt and baggage for an entire country.

Suddenly, I'm freed up to just hang out with Jesus and talk to Him or ask Him questions (and yes, I listen to see what the answers might be) instead of feeling like I have to read so many chapters or do some particular study. When I'm hungry for that kind of thing, I go for it. But if I'm not, I don't let myself feel obligated or guilty anymore.

anyway, this is just a bit of what my life has started to benefit from these past few years.....I'm not saying it has to be your thing though. If it helps, great. If not, don't feel like I'm saying you have to do it. I'm totally not. Just sharing my own journey in case it might be of any small help at all.

Well, the babe has stopped hollering. I'm off to go get a snack and then collapse into the tub for a bit.

Penny said...

I think reading The Shack did it for me...I finally realized that God is indeed just a wonderful friend who I can tell all to..and also someone whom I can fall flat on my face with and He will still love and care for me...

Kork said...

Thank you Inkling and Penny! I knew someone out there would get where I was coming from...thank you so much!

I do plan to hit the library today after Moms' Group for The Shack, and to look for some books by some of those other folks.

Then, I must come home and begin making peach preserves...and maybe some syrup for ice cream and the like? hmmmmm...

Inkling said...

p.s. If you come up with any objections to The Shack or talk to someone who thinks they know what the author believes, be sure to ask me. I picked his brain over dinner and on another visit to my kitchen table, so I'm happy to share if there are questions.