I know what the title sounds like. A Facebook or MySpace post I would’ve written back in 2009, about relationships gone awry. But no, I’m talking about the fluctuating relationship between me and the rest of the world.
This hasn’t happened in awhile, where sometimes I feel stuck between the viewpoints I hold and the viewpoints of everyone else.
But since I haven’t been having daily devotional time with God I’m sure this is why these feelings come, and why I feel stuck yet again.
When I’m immersed in the Bible and other spiritually uplifting books, what I stand for doesn’t seem so foreign, and doesn’t become something I feel ashamed of–I feel confident, I feel bold. But the less time I spend with God and the more time I spend absorbing other things the more I notice my confidence fades away. Instead of feeling like I’m firm on the ground, I feel like a reed shaken by the wind. Interactions or moments with others where I feel like I should have said something about my faith, I keep quiet–I don’t want to offend anyone or ruffle any feathers. Sure, it’s easy for me to talk about my beliefs on this blog or on my podcast, but addressing something face-to-face with someone who might not believe the same things, especially when I’m in this weird limbo, forget it–I cower. If selfishness is my number one character flaw, cowardice is my second.
I feel like Peter, bold and outspoken one moment (or when things are going well) and then cowardly denying my association with Christ (or in my case, biblical principles) the next. Or I feel like Thomas, firmly believing one moment and then doubting an other.
If I were put on a witness stand, I feel like I’d crack under the pressure.
So again with the weird relationship part. My relationship with my past beliefs and ideals come back to try to convince me to give them another shot. Just when I feel I’ve cut off certain things or ideals, I feel reeled back in.
I really hate this.
E.G. White has this to say:
“Living by Principle Not Inclination”
I have chosen the way of truth; thy judgments have I laid before me. I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame. Psalm 119:30, 31.
“There are two great principles, one of loyalty, the other of disloyalty. We all need greater Christian courage, that we may uplift the standard on which is inscribed the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus…. The line of demarcation between the obedient and the disobedient must be plain and distinct. We must have a firm determination to do the Lord’s will at all times and in all places….”
“Christian strength is obtained by serving the Lord faithfully. Young men and young women should realize that to be one with Christ is the highest honor to which they can attain. By the strictest fidelity they should strive for moral independence, and this independence they should maintain against every influence that may try to turn them from righteous principles. Stronger minds may, yes, they will, make assertions that have no foundation in truth. Let the heavenly eyesalve be applied to the eyes of your understanding, that you may distinguish between truth and error. Search the Word; and when you find a “Thus saith the Lord,” take your stand….”
“In Pilgrim’s Progress there is a character called Pliable. Youth, shun this character. Those represented by it are very accommodating, but they are as a reed shaken by the wind. They possess no will power. Every youth needs to cultivate decision. A divided state of the will is a snare, and will be the ruin of many youth. Be firm, else you will be left with your house, or character, built upon a sandy foundation.”21The Review and Herald, May 9, 1899.
Now again back to how my lack of devotional time has interfered with my relationship with God. Every week I get emails with prayer requests and some of these emails have short book passages attached. Even when I do open these emails I usually skip this part. While I was about to delete one of these emails the other day, something stopped me. I decided to read the passage I typically skip over, and of course it was timely. This is what the passage said:
“Abstract meditation is not enough; busy action is not enough; both are essential to the formation of Christian character. Strength acquired in earnest, secret prayer prepares us to withstand the allurements of society.”
This was a heavy-hitting reminder for me. While the prayers I lift throughout the day, or the Bible stories I read to my children, or the praise and worship music I play are great, I know private prayer and Bible time is where I receive longer, lasting strength. Where I go to know God. This is where my true, solid love lies. Not amidst the ashes of any previous, burnt out flames.
So when I step away from this relationship with God my previous “flings” (ideals) start looking good again and my relationship with God falters. I feel like I find flaws in my beliefs, or even in God’s love and power.
But the grass isn’t truly greener on the other side. This side becomes faded over time, unless I put in the effort to keep watering it. But I want to choose to let that old field brown and wither, and focus on the Water of Life that never runs dry, that keeps these new fields lush and growing.
It gets hard my friends, truly. I struggle waking up early or staying up late to pray and read. But whenever I remember what a friend we have in Jesus I remember that I don’t want any other type of relationship.
Let’s keep looking up.