When You Realize You're Falling
Have you ever met anyone who was once great in their faith and then 20 years later they're a shell of who they had been. You wonder, “What happened to them?” I mean how could someone go from so trusting God to barely even recognizing they had faith in God at all?
It may not even be in the arena of faith, but could be finance, fitness, or any other area of life.
Well, this last year I got a glimpse of how it happens. Not to say that I was ever someone of great faith, but God and I were tight. I was so sure of His love and plan for me that I had based my life around it. Then one day I woke up and realized I hadn’t had the desire to pray or talk with God in months. I mean we would still talk but it was more like what I imagine a failing marriage to be like. We still had a relationship, it just wasn't a growing one. It wasn't fun.
A lot of the times I would initiate conversation out of duty because I knew it was the right thing to do. Obedience is a big part of spiritual growth; of any growth really. Sometimes we do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing. That's how my relationship with God has started to feel. I had also found myself checking out of life more, numbing with Netflix and other coping mechanisms instead of seeking time with God. Looking back He had even warned me about it years ago. He had pointed out some unhealthy tendencies I had and warned me how I could take a good thing and make it bad. I didn’t listen. He gave me another warning last year when one of the pastors I deeply admire was asked to leave his church because of a drinking problem he had developed. He had started checking out of life too and coping in ways other than running to God. It was scary to see how far someone could go from trusting God when He had been used to bring so many others to faith. What my heart was going through seemed so surreal because in the midst of my doubts and fear, God was still doing some amazing things in my life. I finished my first book and got great reviews from early readers. God fully healed a wound from the past that had crippled me in the way I saw the world. Work was going well and I have some amazing people to do life with on a regular basis. But all the while I knew my heart was retreating further and further from The One Who Loves Me Most. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this dichotomy or not, but in ways it felt like I was living someone else’s life. Praise God He didn’t leave me that way, and the last few months I have been reminded of what it’s like to fully live my life. In the process of looking back I realize my faith hadn’t been shaken but rather my concept of God had been shattered. While there were many areas I had grown to understood His heart and know Him deeply, there were also things I held tightly as truths but weren’t really God. I was trying to understand Him in linear terms like x+2=y. But in fact in God’s economy x+y can be puppies and oranges. He isn’t confined to time like we are and His ways really are bigger than our understanding (Is 55:9). In all this I felt God speaking to my heart that I don’t know Him as completely as I thought I had… As completely as I thought I had? That shocked me because I had never professed to grasp the God of the universe. In fact I would claim the opposite: that He was full of mystery beyond what I could understand. But the truth in my heart was different. I thought I knew how He worked in certain ways. I thought my faith would keep me shielded from certain pains in this world. I thought I had Him figured out based on how I had seen Him work in my life before. But I was wrong. I was so wonderfully wrong. And what had led me before to feel let down by God resulted in me experiencing His grace in a whole new way. And as someone who is task oriented and struggles to feel self worth based on what she has to offer, it was amazing. I mean the fact I had gotten God so wrong and then gotten upset with Him because of it and He still took care of me and loved and and wove my life in a way that is beautiful is beyond me. And as I sit here I’m not sure the exact point of this blog except I finally listened to the tug in my heart to write again. I followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and opened up my laptop. This wasn’t the first attempt to write this morning but the one I felt Him leading me to finish. Maybe it’s to encourage anyone else who feels disconnected from God. In those moments when faith feels hard and God feels an eternity away, know you’re not alone. Know He has not left and one day, you can feel faith again. It may not feel like it did before but that’s a good thing because He has something totally new and beautiful in store for you.