Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Business of Growing Straight

So, I've been in Guatemala for a little over a week now. It's been an amazing trip. I'm so grateful to Rebecca Collins and Vida Ilumitada for inviting me.

I feel like I've quietly grown since coming here. I get up early in the morning, and when I take the laundry up to the lines on the roof the sky is beautiful. The world is so quiet, the only ones that seem to be stirring are the birds and the bugs. It's a chance for me to be quiet and consider my Father and His wonderful, gentle nature and goodness.

I've known from the beginning that part of this trip was about getting away and being alone with God. I love my church and my friends, but I've let the focus of spending time with God shift to getting answers for others and asking for wisdom for service. Good stuff, but my relationship with Him was refreshing and lively when I went into His presence mainly to enjoy time with my Father.

It’s so easy to say that God is the most important person in your life and believe in the idea... But it’s not really true. I used to spend a couple hours, just hanging out with God in my closet. Some times we’d listen to music, some times we’d talk, some times I’d just sit and listen. THAT was what brought growth in me. But more importantly, I was just loving God. I want my relationship with Him to be just that simple again. Nothing more, nothing less.

I could list all the benefits of those times, but I don’t want to. The truth is that God gives you gifts when you visit with Him. You’ll always come away with more than you had when you entered your quiet place. That’s just the kind of Father He is! He loves to show us things, delight us, and inspire awe in our hearts. You can’t spend time with Him without being changed. But if you’re always going to Him looking for the present, looking for the change, looking for the effect... Very quickly the quality of your times together go downhill. I know because that’s what happened to me.

There are any number of excuses I used to justify the change in my attitude when I came before Him. He was never mad, and always helped me with whatever I needed help with. And, hey, He still used me to minister to people. But I started to get sick-hearted. Very me-focused. Very stressed.

You know? Maybe you know what that feels like? It’s blehh. All I needed was time in a place where I had no excuses! That was all it took! (So I had to leave the country to do that... Those who love me say I’m dramatic!) No one needs me to pray for them in Guatemala; sheesh, most don’t speak English.

I pray this lesson gets way down deep into my heart. I pray that it so basically changes who I am that I’ll never be the same. I pray that I grow straight and strong, with motives that are pure, and priorities in the proper order. And may I never leave the shadow of His presence.