I've been struggling in the past few months with the idea of a personal walk with God.
In the last ten years my relationship with Him has been intensely and happily corporate. I believe that God wants a people, a group, His children to know Him together. I have found Christ richly and deeply with others.
Now I am alone.
Before you slant your head to the side and say "awww," please realize what "alone" means for me. It means I have a husband who is pretty much on the same page as I am, spiritually (although our methods and approach differ.) I have adorable children who ask questions like "Mama, I just noticed something in my Manga Bible. God made light before he made the sun. How is that possible? And who made God?" and then (after I practically swallow my tongue and twitch in anxiety until I remember John 1) when I direct him to this, he goes "Oh, well that explains everything!" I have a believing family, extended family and friends.
What I had was more intentional than that. Ideally, our purpose was the Lord and His Church. It is why we gathered. To give Him something. It was why I gathered, anyway. I could say alot about that. I believe it. I miss it. It was, at best, the deepest I'd ever seen the Lord, and at worst, well, just all the bad things that come along with being part of a group with an absent (on purpose) leader, and an different opinion/personality for each person.
When I was a teenager I read a quote from Tennyson on the back of a Celestial Seasonings box about "Life piled on life" and I wanted that. You know what? I had it. Not "good piled on good" or "good piled on bad" or "good piled on life"(although if anyone finds that version, I would not be opposed to partaking of it) I wanted Life. Living. To experience the most that could be experienced out of every day. I experienced a lot of the Lord in the garbage of daily life. What more could I ask for?
But in all this corporate pursuit of the Lord, there was a letting go of my personal relationship to Him. I was always aware of this, and I know others were, because we would talk about it. But I would just let it go- thinking that it was all tied in to this higher thing of knowing the Lord together.
So here we are, the point of all this. I am alone in my pursuit of Him. I do not have people I can rely on to drag me back to Him on at least a weekly basis. I have tried going to regular old church and I can't stomach it, and don't invite me to yours unless you are prepared to handle a scene because I will probably start weeping uncontrollably. I can corral it into looking like "repentance" for the sake of appearances, but believe me when I tell you that it ain't.
The idea of "personal relationship" to the Lord became a lesser thing to me. This is no one's fault but my own. It was something I was shocked to discover in November when I realized that "personal relationship" was what it had all been reduced to. For a while there, I didn't believe it. How could a God, Who is corporate, put any stock in my individual love for Him? There's no adding, no expanding, just simple ol' tired-out doubting me. A dear sister told me "How can he not care about you personally? Think how much I care about you, and how much bigger His love is?" It's true, and yet...(shoulder shrug) ok, great. Whatever, man.
Truthfully, I don't think I was sure how to face him without an army of saints at my back. How to come to him empty handed, needy (shiver), banal, and above all else, solitary? And if indeed I did manage to connect, how could it do anything other than fall short of the glory I had known in the past, and simply serve to wake a thirst that couldn't be slaked?
Months went by, and I didn't do anything. I didn't talk to Him, didn't think of Him. And things were ok. Life was good. Not rich, but good. I've been in dry places before...I know there is an end to them. I don't panic anymore when they come, I usually just ride them out.
I can't say what it was exactly that brought me to the place where I wasn't afraid to "make eye contact" with Jesus anymore. Perhaps just time to let the wrench from the change settle and fade.
I decided I needed a "new" relationship to my Lord. One that fits my "alone" status. One that is, forgive me, mine. Not casting aside anything I've known or learned of Him, but letting it support TODAY's revelation of who He is and not determining it.
So far, I've discovered something major.
He cares about me.
My brain and soul start to splinter admitting that. It sounds so
a) basic, duh!
b) self centered and shallow.
But here's the thing. His caring for me is not the end of my story, nor the totality of my "new" relationship with Him. It's only a beginning. It may be a slow growth, but I'm not eager to rush into the deeper things, quite honestly. I'm savoring this knowledge.
Thank you Lord. You are sufficient for today.