It’s been a while since I wrote. These last couple of months have been extremely busy and stressful. Some of the busyness had to be done and some of the busyness I created. However, these last couple of weeks I have encountered this strong urge to just go away. A urge I can not really explain, but only describe as a “act of disappearing.” The presence of this feeling has been so strong I began to pray about it. Of course, I knew I couldn’t just quit my job, pack my bags and walk away from everything, but I sure felt the urge to go hide in a room. As, I tried to pray and seek God’s face for the unexplainable longing I was feeling— I realized that there were emails that needed to be sent, meetings I needed to set up, blog ideas I needed to think of, apartment searching I needed to do and so many other things that were weighing on my mind. I couldn’t focus my thoughts on God at the moment, I had to get up and do something. The more I tried to do and the more I accomplished, the deeper my longing became. I couldn’t understand. On one end of the spectrum everything that was being thrown at me I was successful, but on the other in I felt empty and not satisfied. Yes, I was excited that I was conquering mountains I never could imagine myself conquering or achieving, but I wasn’t happy and the more I did the more I thought I had to do. Throughout my day, I would sing to Jesus. I desperately needed to feel Him near me through all the busyness and clutter of my day. In those moments of my worship it placed my mind at ease and gave me a couple of minutes to bless Him in the beauty of His presence. But eventually the singing wasn’t enough. I still longed to disappear and to be alone, but where would I go.
A week ago or so I ran across this book I purchased from my church’s resource center. I normally buy a book only if I am led to by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes when I first purchase a book, I immediately read it , but most of the time I will put it away until I am led again to pick it up. This particular book was entitled ” Strengthening The Soul of Your Leadership” by Ruth Haley Barton. I had no idea why I felt the strong urge to read this book, but I needed too. And deep down inside was the confirmation every time I came across it in my closet. As, I begun to read , I came across a testimony of a Pastor who issued the statement that “he was tired and felt has if he had lost God.” This statement which I paraphrased placed a lump in my throat. I reread the statement over and over again. Wait, what does he mean he lost God. My immediate reaction was to judge him. “Wait, you’re telling me, you are a Pastor and you just announced that you lost God.” Why in the world is he still Pastoring? How could he have let that happen? If he didn’t have God then who was he following? At this point it was full blown judgement mode. I continued to read on with anger in my heart for this man who was leading people, counseling people and yet did not know where God was in his life at the moment.
Then, I stopped when I heard God say ” Is this not you? Are you not the one who has performed?” Before I knew it, my heart was shattered and broken as I reflected on the last couple of months. My little devotionals, half prayers, shallow revelations and quick fix worship moments were not what Jesus Christ died on the cross to give me. I felt the heaviness of my lost as I sat not knowing what to say to God. ” You left me” I heard Him say. “I called for You in the morning and You were to tired from your performance to come see Me.” ” I asked for Your time during the day, but you were to busy worshipping your gifts and talents to make time for me.” ” You forgot about US and you choose to do things by yourself.” “You left me.”
As His words echoed in my prideful, self-indulged soul, my eyes were opened to where I needed to go. The longing I was feeling to disappear was not to quit my job, pack my bags and move to another city or state. The place I needed to be, where I could disappear and get away from it all was in His Presence. My safe place and home was in the secret place of the Most High God—covered by His shadow and overcome by His love. “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). He was and is the answer, I realized. Yet, I still said “well what about this? and that still has to be done, God. I can’t just not do it.” And He did not answer. I know what I must do. I must return to the presence of my first love, the One who causes my heart to beat and feel. He wants me back, and I know this every well. My soul confirms that He is the One who can satisfy me—not my ability to succeed or stand under pressure, but the love of Christ who loved me in the depths of my sin.
One day as my dad was teaching me he said “Whenever I call you, come, and always bring a notepad.” So, from then on every time he called me into his office I would come running with a notepad, (sometimes I would forget the notepad because I was in such a rush to get there). I realized that the notepad was always because he wanted to give me specific instructions and I would need to carefully listen. As, the Holy Spirit brought this encounter back to my memory I heard the LORD say “Whenever I call come.” In that moment, I realized that whatever I’m doing when He calls does not compare to being in His Presence. He wasn’t impressed by my work, He just longed to be with me and my soul desperately longed to be with Him. So, I am answering again and I am running to my Father’s call. I fell short, yet He gave me mercy. I walked away and followed my own path, yet He is redirecting me, repositioning me and rebuilding me. I am not too late and I am not forgotten. “My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8)
there is something I wanted to tell you,
but there have been errands to run,
bills to pay,
arrangements to make,
meetings to attend,
friends to entertain,
washing to do…
and I forget what it is I wanted to say to you,
and mostly I forget what I’m about,
don’t forget me, please,
for the sake of Jesus Christ…
O Father in Heaven,
perhaps you’ve already heard what I wanted to tell you.
What I wanted to ask is
increase my courage, please.
Renew in me a little love and faith,
and a sense of confidence,
and a vision of what it might mean
to live as though you were real,
and I mattered,
and everyone was sister and brother.
What I wanted to ask in my blundering way is
don’t give up on me,
don’t become too sad about me,
but laugh with me,
and try again with me,
and I will with you, too.”
TED LODER, GUERILLAS OF GRACE