Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Lamentations 28-30 MSG
The busyness of life is like the slow drip of a faucet into an empty bowl. It seems small in nature, inconsequential even. The decision to watch Netflix after a hard or long or even normally mundane day is so much easier than to engage in an hour of thoughtful meditation.
The desire to ‘check out’ has become a normal one. One that feels well earned and deserved in a day full of stops, starts, long-winded interactions, traffic jams, loss of free-time, expectations turned upside down, disappointing others and being disappointed by others. So little of life turns out the way we expect it to, right down to just how good that McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with fries and a coke will actually taste. So we check out, finding goodness and rest where we can. And we get used to the minutiae of the mundane. We grow accustomed to the disappointments and the lackluster presentation of the life we’ve got in front of us, the lack of effort on our parts and the parts of those we’ve chosen to invite in. We feel inexplicably burdened with the vast difference between what we were hoping for and what we’ve got. But we grow so used to it that we begin to enjoy it. We choose the small, easy, predictable things & forget about what we’re supposed to be looking for.
We’re supposed to be looking for God.
We’re supposed to be remembering, with every moment, that we have been blessed. We have been gifted with the faith to know Him, to doubt Him, to rail against Him and to weep to Him. We have been given the opportunity to draw near to Him, enter into relationship with Him and maintain relationship with Him. And for those of us who have done some of these things, we are missing the opportunity to stay near to him.
We unwittingly sacrifice the nearness of God for the immediate comfort of complacency.
Or at least I have. But I’m fairly certain, in talks with others of my peers and those whom I love, that I am not the only one.
Why does it seem so much easier to think casually of God from time to time than to actively engage with Him? What is it that has changed from the times of first becoming a believer–truly enraptured by the truth of who God was and how he loved me–and now? Why then was it much easier to prioritize space for engaging with God before? Why did it feel so much more… important?
I think it’s because once the novelty wears off, much like many of our daily relationships with friends and loved ones, our hearts slowly turn back inward once again. Our vision becomes blurred or just generally wonky and we can only see pieces of the whole picture. It’s like a particularly artsy Instagram photo where just one leaf is in focus leaving the entire landscape of leaves, trees and sunshine in a blur. That’s what our lives start to look like. One-leaf-focused.
I realize this in moments of crisis or suffering. When I am frustrated, or overwhelmed, or scared, my first thought is wanting to journal or read the Bible or something from Devotional Classics which I saved from Dr. Hall’s class.
I realize it when all of my stupid little things, busy things that take up most of my time and mental capacity, when they fall away and I am left with empty questions. In that moment, that blinding realization, my only desire is to feel close to God again, to recapture the nearness, to fight for that relationship. Because otherwise what do I have? What am I even doing? In those moments I realize how small my life is when it’s about me and not Him.
And worst of all, these epiphanies can be fleeting. I can press in, seek desperately the company of God in crisis, ask for prayer and feel nearer to Him. And then the shock of the circumstance begins to fade as does my seeking.
I don’t want to be a consumer of God’s nearness. I want to draw near everyday. I don’t want to figure things out on my own and then submit my answer for God’s approval. I want to start with Him.
So I’m going to enter the silence, not ask questions, and wait for hope to appear. I’m going to make this, the nearness, a priority.
Get behind thee, complacency.