Monday, April 10, 2006

Seeking A Purpose Driven Life


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I miss feeling close to God.
… He has proven Himself to me, where all other beliefs and notions failed. …
But I have isolated myself from Him. And I’m a little disoriented on how to find my way back …
… as I search for the trail of breadcrumbs I intended to leave for myself, it seems I either ran out long ago, or (more likely) the albatrosses in my life have eaten them all. …
I know I can find my way back easily enough. I know the things I need to do. … I’m sure He is sending me smoke signals to aid in my journey …
… if I can only get myself to look up from the ground.


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I wrote these (greatly edited down) words here in this blog last summer. Due to some events I and mine went through a few years back, I had decided to distance myself from God so as not to grow bitter towards Him for some unfortunate events that had come our way. At the time it made sense, though it doesn’t really now.

We have since traversed and lived through these emotional hardships. Yet I’m pretty much still in this same spot on the inside. Too busy looking inward, too self absorbed to look upward.

I’ll not rehash said hardships as they are really inconsequential to my thoughts today. And I have wrestled with whether I even want to blog about this. I had a political and theological website previously, and therefore generally keep those as subordinate topics here - though I do not hide my affiliations, this is my creative playground - just my place to come and have fun. But what do we write about but what’s on our minds? What makes us who we are but what we believe and what we live? This is what is forefront in my mind these days. And so I reflect upon it here now.

I have been a born again Christian for many years, but I have waxed and waned in my walk through life, as most everyone does. And I have layed in the rancid proverbial bed I'd made many, many times. I have always been most happy and content and at peace with things when I have a good and intimate friendship with God (FYI, my beliefs are 'Trinitarian' – and in my casual way I tend to use the words God, Lord, Jesus and Christ interchangeably). Yet I have so often found myself far away – just kind of wandering around on the edge of the pages. I develop feelings of aloofness towards spending time with God despite all I know about the blessings of being in His presence. That’s the Devil’s way though – subtle and stealthy at sidetracking us. He’s very good at what he does.

I’ve known for quite a while that I need to return to my closeness with God, but have not especially felt the want to do this. It’s hard for me to say that because it makes me feel terrible, but that is the truth of the matter. I have distanced myself for so long that I’ve lost current touch with the thrill that is a personal relationship with Christ.

I have never thought such a faith had to be stuffy and dogmatic and stick-up-the-butt – it’s never felt that way to me. While it's not always easy, it's thoroughly comforting and often very fun when you are truly in His care, not to mention much less nerve wracking. It is not a walk but a dance. Yet once you begin to get away from it - before you know it, it’s so far away you can barely see it in yourself. The heart grows stoic before you even notice. God becomes like an aged grandparent that you still love but don't think too much about anymore - despite the fact that they send you loving messages every day.

Recently the want of finding my way back is returning but the impulse has not quite accompanied it – until this weekend.

The speaking pastor at my church Sunday touched on some points and lines from the best-selling spiritual growth book, “The Purpose Driven Life”. I have heard of this book many times and many people I know have read it and sing its praises. Many would call it a self-help book, but that’s not really accurate, as you do not look to yourself for answers. It is a suggestive guide for living and achieving mental and spiritual contentment in the 21st century based on Biblical wisdom. The excerpts cited yesterday struck a deep chord in me. While out shopping for goodies for Incrediboy's Easter basket that afternoon, I decided to pick up a copy for myself.

I haven’t started the book yet, but I plan to in the very near future. It is laid out to be read in 40 days, but I see myself taking several days to chew on each excerpt – absorb what it means to me and allow it to saturate my heart. I’d really like to find my way back for good. I plan to record my thoughts and insights on this in my personal journal. I may or may not share them here – that remains to be seen. I hope that if I should decide to share, that it will be positive for my blog friends as well. A spiritual journey is a very personal experience and I won’t hold it against you if it’s not your thing. I hope the same courtesy would be extended.

In any case, I’ll still be blogging my usual nonsense either way. But tonight I just wanted to say, I am tired. I'm tired of being tired. Of being fussy, short tempered, and scattered. I'm sure everyone else in my life is tired of it too. My self imposed isolation has adversely affected every area of my life. I so easily forget that it doesn't have to be that way.

I still miss feeling close to God. But it's not He that keeps leaving me - It is I who leaves Him. And for that I am truly sorry.


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21 comments:

A Real Man said...

My Dear Sister,

After you read this you may want to delete it. I have been to the mountain top and the depths of the valley and places in between and I can say after twenty years of waxing and waining that I am in your shoes as well. I have found some purpose in this Blogging thing but I know that is not the be all and end all of it. I believe that God has some great things in store for you on you journey and I am looking forward to reading your thoughts and seeing you grow strong and sure of your dance with our Lord again. I have not picked up this book yet but like you I want one. Good for you for getting it. A counselor here had a copy of it and she was gracious enough to let me read a few exerpts from it from time to time and I believe that it will help you.

GBY
In His Service,

Craig

martie said...

"Oh for a closer walk with thee..."! Good for you for being so honest about your feelings....and good for you for wanting to get back the closeness that you want and need! I'm keeping you in my prayers, Clew! XOXOXO

Ame said...

They say that when where you are is worse than making the choices to move back Home to God, then that's when you begin your journey Home. It was certainly true for me.

The journey to where I am was long and arduous, but it was also fulfilling and enlightening and complete all at the same time.

I learned that when the Psalmist says, "Deep calling deep," that it doesn't mean me calling out for God in my depths, it means that God is already in my depths, ahead of me, waiting for me, calling to me, wooing me back to Him. I have honestly been shocked at the deep places in my life where I've found God already there.

Some say we're always one generation away from God. I don't believe that. I believe I'm always one moment, one choice, away from Him - veering off onto a whole different path. And the further I get from that one moment, from that one choice, the wider the gap between my God and me. The sooner I hop back over, the easier and shorter the distance; the longer I wait, the more difficult and distant the journey.

Our journey back to Him is the same - one moment; one choice, and you get to begin narrowing the gap from isolation to intimacy with the Creator of your soul. Welcome back to the journey Home :)

(I hopped over here from Cowboy Sunsets.)

McSwain said...

So often I miss the simplicity of the relationship I had with God when I was younger. I just simply trusted. I had to wander off and totally screw up my life before I found out just how much grace He has. It's still hard. I still often keep Him at arm's length, and I've been afraid to totally give it over. But the closer I get, the more peace I feel.

I'm proud of you, Clew, and I hope you will share some of your journey with us here.

Nelly said...

I think everyone has felt like this at one time or another. Unfortunate things happen in our lives that don't make sense to us and we naturally want to place the blame somewhere...I've done it.

I hope you find what you are looking for. I know you will...you have the love and determination to find it. Good luck Clew and thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts with all of us. It is very humbling to read.

It's Just Me said...

I think a relationship with God is very much like relationships with people in our lives.

When you feel like someone may not have been with you at a time in your life when you really needed them, sometimes you just have to build the trust back up. (I apologize if I've made an incorrect assumption in that statement. I guess I'm just going with my own feelings here. I realize that may not be your feelings as well.)

I'm sure you'll get there. It sounds like you are building the groundwork for that to happen.

clew said...

I hear your point, IJM - I don't feel He's ever left me though - it's always me. :) I corrected my last line to reflect that - thanks for the insight. :)

Cheryl, once again it sounds like we are SO on the same page. Thanks.

Everyone else, thanks so much for your kind words.

Bougie Black Boy said...

I think that for anyone to open themselves up, as you just did, is courageously amazing. And, you said you're tired of certain things in your life, and how you are acting--it takes moments of realization such as this for us to get back on track, where we personally feel we belong.

Rebecca said...

Clew -
In my humble opinion, the beauty of Gods love is that he doesn't begrudge you for ever straying - and will always, always welcome you back.

Unacknowledged Genius said...

Even though you've felt farther from God than you wanted to, through your writings here you've been a testement to how a loving person should interact and it's proof to me that maybe you don't have as far to go on your journey back as you think. I'd like to live up to your example.

Nunzia said...

wow, I know exactly what you are going through because it's something that I go through very often. Something I call "falling away" - like a cycle where I just don't "feel" or "want" to be draw close to God even though I know I should. It's a trap, I think, to go on feelings, but we do so often, don't we? I often feel like God is gone, but I remind myself that it's me that is moving away and not the opposite. I'm glad you are seeking Him even when it doesn't "feel" like the right time.
Keep your chin up! :)

God's Grace

speckledpup said...

Wow.
I've read you for a while now and had no idea we were at the same place in our "walk".
I could have written your post today.
I'm there.
PDL is great, and you'll enjoy it. It gave me comfort but I still find myself unable to pull out of my funk.

great post though...way to go

bare that soul.

jgf said...

"God becomes like an aged grandparent that you still love but don't think too much about anymore - despite the fact that they send you loving messages every day."

You said that so eloquently! It is true. I wonder how it is that I wso often just meander off the path. It is not like it is intentional; I just lose sight of the pathway where He is. Thank you, Clew, for speaking for me today!

naive-no-more said...

You know everything about me so I don't need to tell you how similar I've been feeling.

For me, it was when I was closest to God that some really awful things happened to me. I felt betrayed by God. To be honest, I still do sometimes, though I can see that it was because of my closeness with God that the devil tried to grab that foothold.

I guess in a sense, he has won though because I'm scared of getting close to God again.

I've read The Purpose Driven Life. We did a group study on it, but my heart was only half way tuned.

Your ping-ponging thoughts about what you know you need to do ring true for me too and reading your post wasn't an easy task.

But, thank you for it.
Love you!

Lainey said...

Wow! I'm like speckled pup. I too, could have written your post.
In fact, that seems to be a common thread in many of the other's comments.
I respect and admire you for your boldness in sharing.
As a fellow sojourner on my own spiritual journey, I find it encouraging and uplifting to hear about other 'believers' personal experience.
What better way to feel closer to *HIM* than this Easter Sunday!

He is Risen!

joy said...

clew,
it's amazing to see how everyone here has identified with your post. sounds like you've expressed what some people here have been feeling. myself included. thank you for showing vulnerability and taking a risk in writing this post.

i've been holding this particular verse close to my heart over these last few months - "I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving kindbess. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful." Jeremiah 31:3-4

God is loving you and building you up so you can join in the dance once again. Have faith my sister.... I'll be dancing along with you.

Sojourner said...

Clew, thank you for the post. While I do not know if I could have written this post, you could have written about me.

My heart broke as I read this. My heart yearns for the closeness I have seen and where I have allowed God to "lead me with His eyes."

Face to face confrontations do not often work well for the enemy against believers. It is the subtle whispers of the angel of light that always get me. Before I know it, the True Light is far away.

From the previous comments I see you have allowed God to speak through you to minister to many. You are definitely on the right road, young lady. Keep your eyes on Him; He is a faithful and loving leader.

God bless you. You will be in my prayers.

Bill Scott, Sr. said...

I miss feeling close to God.
… He has proven Himself to me, where all other beliefs and notions failed. …
But I have isolated myself from Him. And I’m a little disoriented on how to find my way back …

Those words that you started this blog with hit so close to home with me. I have been so distant from the Lord over the last few months and I too want thatintimacy that I have been so familiar with in times past. I do have to book that you mentioned but sadly, have only read 1 or two chapters. I am a flake when it comes to maintaining my relationship with the Lord and if it were not for him alone; I dont know what I would do. I am here with you and for you as I feel I am in the same place you are.

Together, lets seek the face of God and not stop until we are with Him fave to face. Is that a deal? Hold me to it and I will hold you to it as best as I can.

Bill

martie said...

Hey Clew ~ it's beginning to not be such a lonely place in there after all, huh? I can't believe how many times we have had the exact same thought! Are you sure we aren't related?

bigwhitehat said...

Hmmm.....

When someone tells me they used to be closer to God, I ask, "Who moved?"

I know you feel like you have missed out on a bunch. Well, you're right. You have. The question is: Are you going to make the most of life now? If so, you are way ahead of most folks.

HDT said most men lead lives of quiet desperation. He was right. Most folks never set a goal for who they want to be. They might set goals for what they want to do. But, becoming someone better on purpose is foriegn to them.

I love to hear you say these things. We are a kindred spirit. So go on. Break out of that thing. Spread those wings. You have places to be. I'm sure your higher calling is loud enough to hear.

LYS

Sissy B. said...

Although my post may get lost among the many...can I make a suggestion? Sometimes reading The Purpose Driven Life can prove to be a daunting task. I would get to Day four and had to go back to day one and re-read 1-4 several times.....God had a purpose to make it stick I reckon :)...Anyway, I read The Purpose Driven in conjuction with Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now..a combination I highly recommend. Though what works for one may not work for another...God will walk with you in the direction you need to follow...just open your heart and listen...our Christian walk is a process...we don't always get it right or stay on the same path...as long as you stay committed to the process.