Tuesday, January 31, 2017

If today you hear His voice

Over the summer I started going through the Gospel of John.  When I got towards the end of Chapter 5, I read this in verses 39-40:

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life.  These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life.

When I read those words, I stopped, dead in my tracks, unable to move, horrified at the revelation of the reality I was living.  The reality I am still living.  The life I am tired of living, exhausted from continuing, and desperate to change.

When I first accepted the love that Jesus has for me, I was so desperate for His love that I would read my Bible and cry.  Big tears, little tears, silent tears, slowly streaming tears.  They fell freely, often, and confidently.  I was seeing myself for the first time through God's eyes and I was completely focused on absorbing as much as my heart could hold.  There were days I would fill it until it would burst, spilling contents everywhere, just so I could pour more in and start all over again.

But my motives were not pure.  Not in the least.  I didn't know it at the time, but they were based completely on selfish desires.  I felt I had to make up for lost time.  To make up for the lost years I didn't read a Bible, let alone own one.  I kept telling myself this was what I needed to live a successful life, a pain free life, a life that could endure anything because I would be armed with the Word of God and nothing could stop me.  I could be strong again and strength was motivation to keep going.

And while my knowledge grew, my heart died.  In the name of spiritual maturity, I didn't let myself feel anything.  I moved past hurts and offenses, covering them with the truth of God's Word instead of letting myself deal with my emotions.  If I was hurt by words, I would tell myself to forgive others as I have been forgiven.  If I was worried about a situation beyond my control, I would remind myself that God had a plan for it and His ways were higher than my ways.  I've been living like this for years.  And while knowing these truths has helped me endure, denying my true feelings has slowly been killing me.  I haven't cried, a good solid cry, in 6 years.  Yes, I have had tears fall, but not the big ones, not the ugly ones that get it all out, not the ones that make it difficult to breathe, and certainly not the ones that make you beg God to fix it while flat on your face.

I've been living in a body that I have covered with Scripture coated band-aids, if you can call what I've been doing living.  I would think that by the mere fact that I am breathing you can, but that might be the only qualification I meet.  And now, more than ever, I am ready to stop this madness.  

The problem is I don't know how.  Breaking what seemed like such a good habit to develop is not easy.  How do you start to open your heart and let things in when the walls are high, fortified, and have turned to stone?  How do you put down your sword and shield and let things hurt you when you've done such a fantastic job of avoiding pain for so long?  How do you trust that it won't kill you, make you weak and vulnerable, and render you unable to continue with all that you have on your plate?

I wish I had the answers beyond what I know in Scripture to be true.  I know that I need to beg God for a heart that is new and made of flesh.  A heart that bleeds, bruises, and heals.  But my Type A personality wants a plan, a step by step manual on how to do this.  

And so, I'm starting with prayer and confession.  I'm begging God to fix what I have so royally messed up.  I'm going to declare His truth over my life and admit the ways I have abused it and made it an idol.  And maybe, somehow through this process, I will be given His grace, and run freely into the open arms of Jesus like I did 11 years ago.  And maybe that reunion, the one I need more than my next breath, will be the one that gives me back my tears.

Jesus, I admit I have been living a life, filled with Your word, but not Your Spirit.  I have hardened my heart, built up walls, and done things in my own strength which is weak and faltering.  I want to be healed, I want to see this all from Your eternal perspective, and I want my tears back.  I have held so much in for so long when You have meant for me to use it to comfort others.  In your mercy, break me and help me to live again.  In Your precious and redeeming name I'm humbly asking for these things, amen. 

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