I guess you can take this as a word of warning… This post is mostly about me. Sometimes when I write, it’s to explore a specific idea and share it with you in the hopes that perhaps it will help during your own journeys. Other times, I write to try and solidify the squirming mass of thoughts held captive in my brain. This post is going to be one of the latter. God spoke to me today. For the first time in a really long time he spoke to me like he used to… Before the Great Silence.
When I was young, meaning life prior to turning twenty-one or so, my primary method for knowing and understanding God was based almost entirely on emotion. I had never heard the word “hermaneutic” before, and was prone to reading scripture completely out of context and then shoehorning them into my own life. At that time, the Hunt for God was synonymous with the Hunt for Emotions.
I’ve spoken previously about ROFO and the impact that time had on my life. My friends and I would lock ourselves in my church after hours and crank ridiculously loud music and scream and weep and shout our prayers at God. And he met us there, on many many nights. Epiphanies were discovered, our relationship developed and it was good… But… At that time, the real crux of my Christianity was about finding the next spiritual buzz. I was a Jesus Junkie. If God didn’t scream a message at me or inspire me to tears, it was because I was doing something wrong. I believed that God was always speaking to us… But sometimes our lives are just turned up too loud to hear him.
My entire context for understanding God and who he was and how he spoke to us was based entirely on how I believed he made me feel. Then came the Great Silence. Suddenly, no matter what I did, I felt nothing. It seemed God had gone silent, and I didn’t know what to do. I was utterly lost.
I wrote a post last year about having difficulty with allowing myself to truly feel emotions… today I think God showed me why. During the Great Silence, I went into survival mode. I shut down. Shutting down was a choice driven by fear. I’ve been a Christian my entire life. Christianity is a central part of my identity. Switching off my emotions stopped me from feeling my perceived abandonment full force. I was scared that if I allowed myself to feel it too deeply, I might completely turn my back on God. I’ve never been without him before. The idea of being unanchored like that terrified me. So to preserve what I could of it, I chose to stop allowing emotions to affect me. If God wanted to speak with me, he could do so through logic and discourse like a civilized human being.
Fast forward several years, and I’ve come out of the Great Silence. Things are on the mend with God and I… And yet… There’s still distance. We’re not as close as we could be. Today I realized I never gave myself permission to start feeling again. In my haste to find a sustainable kind of faith, I swung from one side of the pendulum to the other. And that’s kind of scary too, because I think this means that I’ve never had a fully integrated faith. And I don’t know what that looks like. Or what that means for me. But I think it’s what God wants. And I think I want it too.
I wrote something earlier today. There was a time, when I would begin writing and at some point, it would cease being solely my own words being written. God used to speak to me through Xanga posts and Microsoft Word in this way. Today he spoke to me through a journal. There were a series of questions I was asked to answer: Where are you? Where is God/Where does God want to be? What do I need to do to help facilitate God getting to where he needs to be?
The following is how I answered:
-Where I Am-
A tree in winter. Barren branches. Hiding within myself in order to survive. To protect my faith I shut down. If I kill my emotions I won’t do anything rash that I’ll regret later. I’m scared to bloom. I don’t remember what that’s like. How it feels. I’ve made some attempts but they were on my terms. They were controlled. I gave God a box and, “Go nuts!…But don’t leave this box.”
-Where Does God Want to Be-
I want to be a flock of birds singing in your branches. I want to be the blooms that sprout from your old husk. I ill be the tumultuous storm that shakes your limbs and snaps dead branches but provides you the water you need. I will be the sun that warms your soil and smiles down upon the fruits of my labor. I will be the wind that spreads your seeds to others that they may grow.
LET. ME. IN.
Open yourself to me. And you will be like a garden.
I closed my journal more sure that I had just heard from God than I have been in years. When it comes to actual how’s, I’m not completely sure what Letting God In entails. Another post I wrote a while back, “All In“, talked about decision my wife and I made that we were going to let God take control of our lives and trust him to guide us one step at a time. I feel this is similar. I’m not sure what I have to do yet, but I know it involves making a daily decision to be open to whatever God puts in front of me.