You’ve probably been there. A while into your relationship with Christ, something comes along and you get sidetracked. And you keep getting sidetracked. The busyness never ends, and by the time it does, God has begun to feel distant.
This was me about two weeks ago.
It’s really out of laziness, but a sporadic work schedule didn’t help. Spending quality time with God is a hard thing to do in the morning when you have to be out of the door by 6:35, and every other day of the week you’ve been waking up at 8:30 or 9. It makes it hard to set up a routine. My internal clock gets thrown off, and I find myself lacking the energy or motivation to get up the first time my alarm rings, which results in losing the time I was supposed to spend with God.
I’d work two, three days in a row, always sleeping as long as I could before pulling myself up just in time to eat and head to work. Then on my days off I’d sleep, wake up and check a few things online, and having those ‘few things’ turn into two hours of wasted time. And then I’d get busy, and forget to spend a quiet time with God.
I hit a patch where I’d spend a day, maybe two a week where I’d actually read my bible, and I could feel myself drifting away. My motivation was gone. My fire was slowly going cold, and I was beginning to resent God for it.
I was in the place where I knew I should talk to God, but simultaneously I knew the things I wanted to say were completely based on selfishness and laziness, so I waited as long as I could before bringing it up.
I knew I needed to talk it out with God, but out of my pride, I couldn’t bring myself to admit my selfishness. After all, when you plan on becoming a pastor of some sort, you should be able to recognize and fix your problems on your own, right?
I think I was missing the point. I like to think of these moments as God face-palms, because I’m sure that’s what He was doing when He looked down on me.
It’s amazing the things we can validate telling ourselves when we’re being fueled by our selfish human instincts. When did I start to believe that I was good enough to fix my faults on my own? Whenever that started was the day I started questioning God’s plan, but it took far longer than that to really ask God about it.
It took about a week and a half. It started small – as the smallest trace of doubt – and as I spent more time away from God, the doubt grew and grew until one Friday night, I couldn’t sleep. I was too busy wrestling.
I finally brought my doubt up to God. I asked some simple questions, and I desperately needed some answers. I asked how my life is so much better than it would be without God, because without God I could be pursuing my degree, making 50 grand a year, and indulging myself in the pleasures all 24 year olds with some extra money can imagine. I could be living completely for myself.
Following God’s plan, I was spending my days working temp construction – which is basically doing the work that no one else wants to do, making just enough money to pay the bills. The rest of my time was spent either being lazy, or being involved in ministry. In reality, I didn’t feel qualified at this particular moment at all. I was basically waiting for God to reveal a little more of His plan to me day by day.
It pretty much all came down to me asking God the question every five year old asks when they get brussel sprouts for dinner. “Do I have to?”
Don’t worry, God answered.
The next day, I was randomly surfing the web, when I went to my blog and decided to look back on the past. I decided to read the first two posts I ever put up, and they were all about God’s purpose, and the work He’d been doing in my life, and how insufficient I felt I was in the areas He was working. Yet despite my perceived weaknesses, I was confident in His work.
And then I realized where I’d really be without God.
I’d be living a life at 50%. I’d be avoiding my purpose, and my potential. I’d be settling for a life of meaningless pleasures because of a fear of not knowing what God would ask of me. I’d be a coward.
My life is so much better than that right now, and I can thank only God. Because if it wasn’t for Him, I might have a job where I’d be making 50 grand a year, thinking only about myself, and not thinking about the students and people I have the privilege of knowing and meeting and serving each and every day. I’d be doing things that wouldn’t scare me at all. Thinking about that scares me.
I’d be making 50 grand a year. But what good is 50 grand when it’s only at 50% potential?
It’s amazing how all we have to do is ask Him, yet so often we feel like we aren’t qualified to ask, or we think we can fix it on our own. In our doubting, we must simply turn to Him and start talking. David wrote psalm after psalm while in moments of extreme doubt, but he was never afraid to ask God about it, and God always answered. Remember that David also wrote psalm after psalm praising God and His glory? I think part of that is because God answered David in those times of doubt, and nothing is as comforting as that moment when God answers.
Know that God is always there, and you can never ask Him a bad question. He simply enjoys hearing your voice and walking you through your questioning, until you recognize His answer. He is the Wonderful Counselor – let Him counsel.