Nearly every single day for the past two months, I have sat down to my computer to write this post.
It’s almost like clockwork at this point. I pray, I write and then after about an hour or two, I realize that I have no idea where I’m going with my words anymore, and I call it a night.
If you saw my little introduction a few weeks ago, you might remember that I majored in journalism in college and that I currently write for a magazine publishing company in Des Moines.
In case you were wondering, journalism majors pretty much do nothing but write. And what then, you ask, does a job in the journalism industry entail? Bingo! A whole lot of writing.
And let’s be real here: when I’m not writing, I’m talking. (Albeit, some might call it rambling.) So I guess the point I’m trying to get across is that if I know nothing else in this life, God has graciously blessed me with a gift of knowing words.
Yet night after night, here I’ve sat. Uninspired, increasingly anxious and wholeheartedly perplexed as to why God isn’t using me how I thought He would—totally ready to give up and gradually beginning to believe the doubts of my heart that tell me I’m in the wrong place.
And here I am, two months later, finally realizing that maybe it’s His silence that is saying more than I ever realized.
Why can’t I hear God’s voice? It’s simply because I’m not listening.
I spend my time halfheartedly going through the motions. Outside of church, I couldn’t tell you the last time I truly opened my Bible, and my quiet time with Him included giving only the last few moments of my days—those minutes where my eyelids struggled to stay open and my pen could barely scribble legible words, let alone heartfelt prayers, onto the pages of my journal.
It took those first four weeks of prayer while staring at an empty Word document and a blinking cursor for me to finally (finally) soften my heart to the conviction of the apathetic approach I have been taking to my relationship with Christ. But instead of fleeing back to His open arms and resting in His unending goodness and mercy, I did what so many of us tend to do to “right” the situation: I made a list of things for myself to work on.
- I would quit complaining.
- I would watch my tongue in terms of gossip and curse words.
- I would read my Bible and journal every night. (Because double the quiet time means double the love from Jesus, right?)
- Etc., Etc., Etc.
In case you were wondering, I got to day two before I complained incessantly about the dreary weather and fell asleep without even cracking open my journal.
Because guess what? It’s not about what I can do to be better, but it’s about what He has already done. (Insert a huge sigh of relief here.) I am broken, I am a sinner and I will always, always always fall short. And when I do—when I spend months pretending that I am in control and when I like to think I can oh-so-sneakily straddle the line between Jesus and the world—I don’t have to clean myself up and make sure I “look the part again” before I flee back to Him. His grace and His love meet me exactly where I am. Thankfully, they always have, and even more, that they always will.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
God doesn’t need me; He doesn’t need us. But this yearning in my heart for something much greater than what I try to settle for on my own in this life is a reminder that He is not finished with me, even when it feels like He is. It’s a reminder that when I’m feeling anxious and confused as to why He isn’t doing things how I assumed He would, that He is God, and I am (oh-so-thankfully) not. It’s a reminder that if I would just slow down for a second and take time to listen, I would find that He is there—always loving, always desiring His children, and always, always in control.