Lean in Harder
About ten years ago, I was walking out of a Bible study with my father-in-law. He wrapped his big hand around my shoulder and pulled me in for a side hug, while asking in his Oklahoman accent, “You OK? You’re quiet this morning.” Silence set in between us.
“Yeah - I’m OK. I’m just… I don’t know. Confused? I can’t really explain it.” I mumbled.
“What do you mean?” He questioned back. “I’m confused. I just don’t feel God anymore, or maybe I can’t? I don’t know,” I stammered.
He thought for a moment in true Darryl fashion - this was one of his specialties - and then he gave it to me. “You know who John Wesley is?” He questioned.
I looked up at him. Was this a trick question I wondered. I definitely didn’t know who John Wesley was at that time, but should I have? I thought for a second and then replied, “No.”
“He was the founder of the Methodist church.” He added.
“OK…” I said, waiting for what was to follow.
“He struggled from time-to-time with what you’re describing, and you know what he said? He said keep doing the things a Christian does: read your Bible, pray, sit with God, go to church, and repeat, until it comes back. Give it a few weeks, and it will come back,” he added.
The thing about my father-in-law was that he was a hilarious man with a wild sense of humor. He’d often tape a fake cockroach under my classroom door handle or hide one in my desk. He had a container of “body parts” from his past surgeries that he kept in his desk drawer labeled “D. Crews’ Body Parts.” I’m pretty sure it was an old Altoid container that held an extracted tooth and a few kidney stones. He’d often pretend to eat bugs or goose poop for a laugh from the softball girls, but despite his quirky sense of humor, he was a man of wisdom. When he spoke into my life, I may not have always liked it, but I listened and heard because he was respectable and wise. So what did I do? I did what he said. I leaned in a little harder, and within a few weeks, he was right. My Light came back.
I think it was a culmination of things that caused me to feel confused: overly tired, work stress, the inability to get caught up on the day-to-day tasks, the busy-ness of life, the constant connection, yet isolation, and the fact that it all felt like one more thing on my to-do list to get done. However, the prioritization of my walk with Jesus, the consistency, and the rhythm of doing life with Jesus, over everything else, was what I needed. It saved me.
My point here: If you’re lost or confused or doubting or just feeling blah about your faith, “Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart – not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). When we give our time, energy, and effort to God cheerfully, He gives back to us in return. It may not be the winning lottery ticket, but it is His presence, His Light, and an abundance of His Love, which is better than any winning lottery ticket. It’s the peace and freedom we can only find in His presence. So, if you can relate to the silence or the overwhelming presence of darkness, girl, lean in harder. Give Him all you have and dive deeper. He desires that for us, and He leaves the 99 to find the one, even when that one is you. You are loved.
Praying you have a week filled with Light, Love, and Grace. Let’s preach it to ourselves this week: God sees us. He knows us, and He calls us each by name. Be well, friends!