Right now, I have a year's worth of thoughts and observations collected. This was from the very first entry, made August 1, 2006. It proves to me, once again, that this blogging break is a good thing for my soul. Blogging has taken so much of my energy, so much of my thought life, so much of me that I have little leftover to be mindful of God, to give Him my first and best.
August 1, 2006It was good for me to read that today. I feel like my spiritual life has grown fat and slovenly over the last 12 months. Much of it is due to the grinding mundane. As a stay-at-home mom, my days tend to blend into the other. It's easy -- oh so easy -- to slip into bad habits and get lazy and drift. I feel that deadness in my soul. Chuck Swindoll calls it "mind-clutter." I need God's help to clear my mind of the cobwebs and garbage.
If you’re reading my journal, there’s no way to tell this. But today, I’m starting a new document on my computer. Two nights ago, I printed out everything from November 1, 2005, to the present and carefully pasted it in my current book. Today, I have a fresh, blank screen in front of me. (Screen! Ha! It’s not a fresh, blank page anymore, is it?)
It’s always fun to print out my journal, because I end up reading a good chunk of what I’ve written over the past (in this case) nine months. My first thought? Wow, there’s not much here. My second thought? Wow, a lot of this is really good. God has taught me a lot of truth this year.
One of my most recent entries touched on the biggest lesson right now – learning to be quiet, alone and rest before God so I can hear His voice and yada Him.
Sunday, our senior pastor Glen preached on Col. 3:12-17, and he touched on this very thing. He talked about the difference between training and trying. You train for war, for the Olympics – for something that’s deadly serious and means a great deal to you. When you try to accomplish something – that’s a second tier. We try to lose weight. We try to exercise regularly. We try to get up early or spend more time with our kids or have a date with our spouse once a month.
It’s a big difference. When I train for something, I arrange my life to meet my objective. It’s not an “add-on;” it’s foundational. Everything else is structured around it. It takes precedence.
To that end – let’s look at the spiritual disciplines. Glen mentioned five Disciplines of Engagement: celebration, fellowship, prayer, study and confession. These are primarily outward acts that build our spiritual lives.
But, as Glen said, if you are an outward person, it might be better for you to practice one of the Disciplines of Withdrawal: servanthood, fasting, solitude, simplicity and secrecy.
And that’s where I am today. God is teaching me these disciplines and letting me taste the power they leave in their wake. When I do things in secret, I have a sense of intimacy with God. When I fast, I discover the continual presence of God always waiting to meet my needs. When I worship in solitude, I find God is deeply personal with me. As Beth Moore likes to say, “He delivers a ‘my’ Word – one that’s just for you.”
Glen defined spiritual discipline as “any activity that can help me gain power to live life as Jesus taught and modeled it.”
And wow – do I need that power right now!
A few entries ago, I alluded to the fact that the tide is turning in my heart right now. I always hesitate to say, “Aslan is on the move!” when I’m so deeply human and fallible. But truly, that’s how I feel. Something is changing. God is moving. I just don’t know exactly where He’s leading yet.
A few weeks ago, in the midst of all this learning about secrecy and fasting and intimacy, I felt God pull deeply at my heart. It was almost irresistible. In fact, at times, God’s nearness was so overwhelming to me I was moved to tears. (And despite what my husband may think, that’s not normal for me.) I would be driving in my car and suddenly I would feel this heavy, holy presence with me – and the only thing I could do was cry. It was too deep and moving to respond to with words.
This continued for a few days, and I felt strongly that God wanted to tell me something. I half expected – but never experienced – a “kablooey” moment, where God would burst onto the scene with a thunderous explosion and unshakeable message. But I certainly felt like his main point was this: Change is coming. Be Corey’s helper. I have a dream for you – bigger than anything you can even imagine -- and I will see it to completion. And my dreams for Corey are bigger still.
But I also needed the reminder about stillness and solitude and intimacy with God. I'm getting ready to move, which always represents a new chapter in my journey. I want my sail to be filled and powered by God's Spirit, so I will pilot this boat with purpose and direction. I don't want to drift where the currents take me.
As is so often said, the true enemy of the best isn't the bad -- it's the good. Blogging is certainly good. I delight in the wit, the camaraderie, the honesty of the bloggers I have on my Bloglines account. I'm encouraged by their love of our God and their focus on their families. I just need to make sure the good isn't throwing off my quest for the best.
See you soon. :-) For now, the break continues.
P.S. Two quick pictures. The first is from the recent wedding of our dear friend and babysitter Nicole. Both of my kids were in the wedding party; I got to read a beautiful fairy tale that's a parable about purity called "The Princess and the Kiss." It was such a God-filled ceremony, my heart was overcome with joy and awe.
The second picture is from my daughter's sixth birthday party this past week. I'll probably need to break my blogging fast sometime this week to dedicate a post to my precious firstborn. She's added so much joy and beauty to our lives.