It’s a life I don’t want to relive.
The weight of it all was just too much. Daily pressures. Broken relationships. Disappointments. Physical hardships. Mental battles. Hurt. Loss. That overwhelming feeling of living one day at a time because that’s all you can do.
Sure, everybody faces it. It’s simply the reality of life. What puzzles me is how I held on.
I lived a Christian life. I depended solely on God. I was bold about my faith. I would risk and sacrifice and fight and press on. I would devote my time to really great things. I looked like a leader and acted like a leader. I was the good girl. The godly example. The confidant. The mentor. I was the one who had it all together.
Somehow nothing swayed me. I didn’t give in to the worldly pressures I was calling people to forsake. I loved all things spiritual. Preaching. Church. Christian events. Good books and good people. A bubble of spirituality.
But the spirituality of which I boasted was dull and boring. I was spiritual because I was supposed to be. It was my duty. There was eternal life flooding my veins, but it was as though I didn’t even realize it. My smile conveyed some sort of joy. A joy I claimed, though the inside was dry. I attempted to feed and pour. But I was the hungry and parched one.
Where should I find my satisfaction? From where should a true joy flow? How could I be fed and filled? What should revive my soul?
The Bible, right? That’s what everybody said. It was supposed to satisfy me. It was supposed to be my Bread.
I was supposed to want it. But I rarely ate of it. And when I did, it was hardly appetizing.
I thought I was doing okay without it. I didn’t see the effects. I was starving.
Looking back, I don’t know how I managed to make it through. But today is a different day. And this year has been a very different year.
The joy I now wear is deep and full and overflowing. The pressures of life, though many and increasing, just can’t seem to shut it out. The bubble of spirituality no longer exists. Every inch of my being bursts with confidence and hope. I am full and satisfied.
The former days pale in comparison. They attest of a Christian life that is weak, sad, and far too common. Why risk your life for something you can hardly explain? Why say and do and be, when it gives you nothing but a checkmark on your list? It’s just a claim, not an experience. It is tasteless and bland.
This is not the glorious Christian life. It is a Christianity that stops short of knowing its God.
What changed for me?
I found my life and my breath. I saw, by simply opening my eyes and using my mind, that God could be known in a deeper way. I discovered that I could grow in my knowledge of God without a PhD. And when I made that discovery, I found that it gave me hope like nothing else could. It gave me satisfaction that could be realized in no one else and in no other thing. It revealed to me the One True God.
I was shocked to find that I barely knew him. No wonder I was dissatisfied and starving.
But, thanks be to God, I didn’t have to starve. Thanks be to God, I didn’t have to wander, or pretend, or get by, or manage to pull through.
Now that I’ve tasted of its sweetness, savoring Christ through His Word often draws me more than physical food. I am baffled by it.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.
His Word has become my life and breath.
When reality hammers down, I draw from the only well that never runs dry. When physical pain inhibits, I cling to the only peace that can calm my soul. When my words can’t express the ache and the longing of my heart, I gaze at the Word that revives.
When my heart is famished, I run to the Bread that satisfies.
This is how I survive.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Morever, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
[image credit: wikipedia.org, journeyoftheword.com]