How do we live in the sweet spot of repentance, forgiveness, and joy; all of the things Jesus really teaches us to keep number one in our lives without being pulled into the crisis of the moment? This often become the balance of trying not to be swept up in the drama of our lives (or more importantly, the story of our lives); and miss the bigger story, God's story, and our place in that story.
It's easy to get distracted and fall out of fellowship with God in some sort of way. And when I say "distracted" here, I'm saying anything particularly bad; but, I'm talking about focusing on what we think we need to do in life rather than what God wants us to see and focus on. These things could be things that we all experience! It could be balancing a job and family. Worrying about children going to swim, ballet, soccer, or art class. Running around trying to make sure everything fits into every time constraint. Worrying about a difficult child. Worrying about a bigger house and how to have enough to buy a bigger house. All these things are important; but if out of balance, that's where you can run into a problem because they can distract us from God.
It's this influx of information , whether it be stuff that we are juggling or information on a larger, grand scale, that can really pull us in all directions. The fact that we have access to so much information at the drop of a hat (EVEN INFORMATION ABOUT GOD!) is amazing! We do, however, on the other side of that, have this counter-stream of information that can really hinder out faith or dampen our enthusiasm for God. This really comes from, I'd say, our hyper focus on the crisis of the moment and the ways in which we cater to the immediate rather than our place in this big story of God; God has a big story and we are part of it.
Or, perhaps you don't feel as though you are part of that story at all! Maybe you have the mindset that yes, God created us, He inspired the Bible, those things happened; but once the pages ran out, He somehow disappeared and never came back to intervene. It's the deist view that God observes humanity without directly intervening in our lives; or that He was maybe, I don't know, taking a very long seventh day to rest. This might be helpful in explaining why we aren't miraculously pulled from every adverse situation in our lives, but it can negatively affect our relationship with God as we disengage from Him, while thinking He has somehow disengaged from us (which is just not true).
The watchmaker God is really handy when you want to believe in God but you don't want to believe He cares about what you do; but that is also a really sad thing to think! It prevents us from understanding the mercy and beauty of God, that He is really present with us all the time; in our lamenting moments, in our celebrating moments, and that He is actually actively speaking to us in and through those kinds of events. In fact, far from being a watchmaker; He has never really stopped speaking to us and never absent. All that matters is if we are tuning into Him or not. So then, how do we get His message, if He is always speaking, and how do we train ourselves to listen?
If you really focus in, really determine yourself to be in fellowship with God, we can come up with a prescription for staying close to Him and this is how I like to do it! I would say first, you don't want to come at Him asking to start. If you are a parent, you will understand this. You don't want to only hear from your children when they want something from you. You want them to have a relationship with you and be able to talk to you. You should remember and meditate on, focus on, what He, God, has done for you in your life and how you've seen HIm in your days. Then you should spend some time with Him: reading the Word, talking, listening (most importantly), and sitting in silence (which is where you will get many of the answers you are searching for anyway). THEN, once you have spent time with Him, bring your petitions to Him.
This is really why Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer to begin with! It really helps to set us up in that sweet spot to recognize our relationship with God in humility, while moving into repentance and also discovering His will for us. The great thing about this, is if you are focusing on God and putting Him first in your life, then this will ultimately trickle down to every part of your life as well as others in your life! When you are excited about God, others will see what there is to be excited about!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. – Hebrew 12:1 (NLT)
Want to join us for our October Reading Plan Challenge? Join now before the month is over! This month, I invite you to join me in a month-long study of the promises of God! Each day, there are short passages to read and meditate on and I will be discussing them live on Instagram each day of the month to help you broaden your understanding of the passages as well as take questions and thoughts from others. Don't forget to follow along on Instagram and join in! Below you will find this month's reading plan to get you started and I hope to see you over on Instagram Live as we make time for God TOGETHER!