I figured something out yesterday.
It's like, God happens, and my heart understands it.
But, my mind has no idea what's going on and immediately starts scrambling around trying to make sense of it, and sometimes this takes me backward.
For example, recently I was trying to make this distinction between the stuff of life and God.
This meant that I was constantly categorizing my day.
Some things went into the desired "God" bin and others went into the necessary "stuff of life" bin.
I wanted to be near the "God" bin all the time, but that darn "stuff of life" bin kept getting in my way, which yesterday had me frustrated to the point of tears.
Finally, I called my dad and ranted and raved to him, and then I went for a walk.
"I don't want to find You in the things of life," I confessed to Jesus. "I just want You."
But I am in the things of this life, Jesus reminded me, with loving humor.
And I saw, all over again, the glistening stream as it poured, foaming and rushing, over the slabs of rock, and the oak trees, covered with green ivy, and the squirrels that ran, rustling over the dry leaves.
I remembered all over again that He created it, is in it all, and holding it all together and that it all speaks of Him.
I had to laugh.
And I am in you, Jesus added, lovingly, and tears welled up into my eyes at the simple joy of it.
I don't think there's a meaningful distinction between the life we are living and worshiping, knowing and loving God.
I think I knew this, but I guess I had to learn it all over again.
The second thing I learned was about the power of gratitude.
I'm not quite sure how this dawned on me yesterday, but for some reason, I started thinking in a new direction. I think I read something somewhere, another blog or something.
See, there's always been this part of me that doesn't believe a person is supposed to experience God in the way I do.
Therefore, my mind reasons, it cannot last. Sooner or later, I must go back to normal, which is feeling distant from Jesus and never hearing His voice or feeling His love and affection.
Increasing, I wonder if that was never meant to be "normal," but that's a blog for another time.
So anyway, because of this fear, my relationship with Jesus was plagued by a kind of persistent insecurity.
Yesterday, it occurred to me to thank Him for what is true, instead of anxiously reaching out for evidence that it was.
It was revolutionary.
Gratitude opens the heart right up to the presence of God.
It turns out that faith is all bound up in things like love, gratitude and joy. Faith is not apart from these things.
Last night, I was thinking back to the beginning of this whole journey, and how, on the second day, I went to Wal-Mart and was so deeply troubled by the upwelling of religious arrogance that I felt in me, in the presence of Jesus.
I remembered how I had struggled with the fact that Jesus was not suddenly and completely taking that out of me- He wasn't going to suddenly transform me as though snapping His fingers.
I had to learn to trust Jesus and His timing and His grace and His leading.
In fact, it was that night that Jesus gave me this passage, to explain:
"Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We're free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him."
-II Corinthians 3:16-18
As I lay there thinking this over, Jesus spoke to me.
Look how far you've come with Me, He said quietly.
It was as though He were kneeling by the side of the bed, His head close to mine.
Joy immediately filled my soul. "Jesus!" I cried. "So far! So incredibly far! Because You are faithful, always faithful! And You are the most faithful when I am the most confused."
I will continue to faithfully guide you along, even into eternity, Jesus assured me.
"Always," I acknowledged. My heart was too full to speak anything more.
This morning, my little calendar says this:
"Sing a new song to the Lord,
for He has done wonderful deeds.
He has won a mighty victory by His power and holiness."