I am really good at answering questions at Bible study. I’m one of those people. I’ve had a Bible since I was a toddler. I haven’t always been consistent with reading it, but through some great Bible studies at my home church, in college, on mission in Haiti, and here in DC, I’ve gotten really good at being a “Bible study participant.”
Now, before you start looking up “humble” in your concordance for me, read this: most of the time I don’t feel connected to God. That’s the honest part. It’s not like I’ve never felt God’s presence or had that moment of transfiguration – I have. Several times in fact. But day to day, I don’t feel it happening a lot.
I often use my mad Bible study skills to disguise the fact that I don’t feel a connection to God a lot. I have a lot of head knowledge about God. I know all the Bible stories, even the obscure ones. I know all the songs and rhymes. I know the timelines. I know the Jesus stuff. I led a study on Acts, I know Paul, John, Peter. And I LOVE the Bible. I was just telling my group tonight how much I love I and II Samuel. I love the stories and the lessons to learn and the character of the people that God chose to highlight in His Word. The problem is…
I can’t seem to insert myself into the story.
I even went to Israel! I was there, where the stories happened. I walked in Jerusalem. I swam in the Sea of Galilee. I stood on top of Mt. Carmel. It definitely got me closer to the connection – the connection that this all in fact happened and God is the real deal and He loves me and wants me to be a part of this story. But I’m not there yet. Do we ever get there on this side of heaven?
Again, deep down, I know I have a connection to God. I do feel His presence a lot. I’ve had entire conversations with the Holy Spirit. I’ve broken down in sobs over a word from the Holy Spirit or a Bible verse or a song lyric. I guess what I’m saying is that the closeness I feel to God doesn’t match the confidence I exude. And sometimes I feel convicted about that.
At the same time, I know God can use us when we feel the most unqualified, He often does. So even if I don’t feel completely confident in my own faith, my knowledge gained through years of study of the Word might help someone in their own faith. And it’s about motives too of course. I don’t want to give all the right answers at Bible study just so people will say “she always has something interesting to point out.” ***I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but…I’m doing it now! All the right answers!! I’m writing exactly what I should be to see it all from another angle. This is ridiculous – I even know how to counter my own argument about this entire post. It’s disgusting!*** Sigh.
This weekend Pastor Mark asked what our Goliath is. I’m convinced that my Goliath is me. 90% of the time I feel like I’m getting in the way of God’s plan for me, due to my own need to be in control. And it’s easy to feel like God is in control when you know all the proper answers to all the dilemmas in your life – but you’re still in control, not God. I’ve created a Christian-sized box around me. It’s safe in here. You have all the right answers, so no one questions you. No one pushes you.
I can honestly say that I’m growing. I definitely jumped to the next spiritual mountain after Israel (and climbed a big one while I was there). My faith has grown immeasurably since I became a little Christian back when I was 7. And I know I have a long way to go. But I’m tired of looking at this beautiful story from the outside, and not feeling like I’m in it. I’m all “oh God is so amazing and loving and merciful and He is doing so many awesome things in people’s lives, how nice for them.” I honestly forget sometimes that God picked me too.
I’m pretty sure this is just faith-PMS. You know, insecurity at a time when it’s just a little bit darker, hazier. I have been really excited about where God is taking me right now. Reading through the Bible with NCC is helping EXPONENTIALLY. But this haziness keeps coming back, and for long stretches of time.
I saw the Alexandria fireworks this weekend, and they were fun, except that, because of where we were sitting, we saw them through the silhouette of tree branches and leaves. Really it was fine, but I sat there watching the fireworks go off through the trees, a little concealed, and I thought to myself “this is my faith right now.” I know the fireworks are there, I see the beauty, I hear the booms, but there are some things in the way that don’t show the whole picture. I am unable to grasp the absolute wonder of it because of the clutter. Most of it I put there myself, other parts are from the outside.
I’ve just felt hazy for so long. I need clarity again.
I just wanted to be honest. You ever feel like this?