Revelations: A little distance goes a long way
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BY JENNIFER PREYSS
So, I have a confession to make. For the past several weeks, my spiritual life has been somewhat tepid.
For whatever reason, lately, I've been slipping away from God's grasp. I've been going through the motions of worship, rather than pouring my soul into a relationship with Him. That's always how I gauge my walk with the Lord - placing my religiosity and my relationship on the proverbial justice scale and honestly taking inventory of where they fall. If one tragically outbalances the other, I know I've got prayerful work to do. Both, in my opinion, should be relatively even, yet they rarely are.
But the past few weeks were more distant than normal. It wasn't simply a matter of weighing my spiritual life on a justice scale. It was, rather, defiantly refusing to weigh at all. I just decided for a time, to check out, to move away, to leave without warning.
Surprisingly, even through all that, I knew God was near, watching and listening as I refused to acknowledge Him. I can't offer an explanation, except that apparently, I was momentarily disinterested in my relationship with God. And, after a few days, I inched Him ever closer to the bottom of the to-do list.
I convinced myself that I wasn't necessarily disregarding God, I was simply too busy to talk to Him.
"I'll get to Him later, it's not like I've lost my salvation," I told myself.
But later turned into a few days, and a few days turned into a few weeks, and suddenly I woke up one morning last week asking myself, "Where did He go?"
I walked to the kitchen and noticed my Bible sitting beneath several other books on the table. I hadn't touched, or moved, or thought about it in many days. And there it was, staring up at me from under a pile of other books. It had made its way to the bottom of the stack.
In that moment, as I stared back at the book that has comforted and guided me through college, four jobs, three states and endless life quandaries, it occurred to me that the idea of postponing God talks for later dates needed to end right then.
So, I grabbed my Bible from beneath the stack, and I sat with it for awhile. Then, I prayed. It wasn't anything profound or impressive, but it was a start, a simple series of thank-yous. Later, in the car, it was a series of confessions. Then again, on my lunch break, it was a question about relationships and forgiveness. And when I curled up in bed that night, it was about asking Him to change my heart, so that I'd be less tempted to stray from Him.
It was the best sleep I'd had in a long time, and somehow, I felt like the scales were beginning to balance out once again.
The next day, I started wondering what my relationship with my father, mother, sister or friends would be like if I haphazardly decided one day to move them to the bottom of the to-do list. Or, I decided, either temporarily or indefinitely, that they weren't important enough to acknowledge. Worse yet, what if they did it to me? What if I was at the bottom of their to-do list? What if they decided to leave me alone, and get back to me later, when it was convenient for their schedules? Would I forgive them and return to our relationship as normal? Would they forgive me?
I decided the distance I'd experienced with God the past few weeks was a good thing - at least in the sense that it forced me to think about the vastness of God's love for me, and how frequently and completely He forgives. He does this because He loves me, and wants to have a relationship with me, just like my mom and sister and friends do. It also reminded me that I'm primarily called, above any other task, to love God, and by association, His people. And when I'm not loving God, and valuing the relationships in my life, I can't possibly be doing a very good job of loving, myself or anyone else. Just so you know, that little nothing, thoughtless, thank-you prayer was the only nudge it took to get my heart back in a worshiping place, a place where I wanted to put Him first. And after a few long weeks, I think I'm finally beginning to balance out the scale once more.
Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.