Remembering Memorial Day

Gravestones decorated with U.S. flags to commemorate Memorial Da

Memorial Day is for those who have died serving our country, defending us from those who would want to hurt us. I know we get it mixed up with just honoring the military (which is always good to do anyway) or with picnics and barbecues and wearing red, white and blue.

I think it’s good for us to be hit with the reality once in a while that we would not in all honesty enjoy the freedom we enjoy today without all those brave soldiers who came before us–who still, though thankfully in smaller numbers, go before us–to fight and die to protect our freedoms and our way of life.

It often feels to me like our way of life is under attack, even from some of our own countrymen. Even from some of our fellow Christians at times. For instance, this article:

Pastor Takes Christians to Task for Owning Guns

But even with attacks coming from all sides, the United States of America still offers freedom to worship God, freedom many of us take for granted these days. It would be great to take advantage of that freedom tomorrow (Sunday), and then on Monday, to honor the fallen heroes that laid down their lives for us to have the freedoms we enjoy every day.

If you want to watch an uplifting, positive movie geared toward Memorial Day, here is an article from the Pure Flix blog with some suggestions. You can try Pure Flix for a month for free. It is like Netflix but with all Christian and family-friendly content. There are lots of great movies on there, so try it out.

http://insider.pureflix.com/movies/6-best-christian-movies-for-memorial-day

God bless you and God bless America!

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Are You on a Mission?

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I was listening to a song on Sunday morning before church, and it somehow (I’m still not quite sure how) impressed upon me something that had been escaping me for a while now. You can listen to the song below, and I’m pretty sure you won’t get the connection either. It’ s okay though: when something like a song, a teaching or a sermon gives me an interpretation I never could have gotten on my own, I can be pretty sure God had a hand in it.

Last week was probably the most unproductive week I’ve had in a long time. Try as I might, I had a very difficult time focusing on my paid writing assignments, and I ended up with four of them to complete on Sunday. I just didn’t feel like doing anything, really.

You see, while I enjoy my paid assignments, several book ideas have been on my mind for a long time now, and I am no closer to publication on any of them than I was a couple years ago when I began writing on a regular basis. These are book ideas that I feel have been in some way inspired by God, and that I think He wants me to write.

The night before, I had remarked to my husband that I had written the equivalent of about 3 full-length book manuscripts in the last year-and-a-half with these paid assignments. That’s 3 books I could have written, but no guarantee anyone would want to publish them or pay me a penny for them, while the paid assignments have been helping support my family and getting us ready to send my son to college in less than two years.

Theoretically, I have time to do both. Somehow though, I never seem to get to any manuscript writing. Sometimes it’s because I get distracted and fool around while writing my assigned writing and it takes longer than it should. Most often, though, I put “my own” writing last and find myself out of energy or time to work on my own projects.

My thoughts on Sunday morning had me feeling differently though. Suddenly I was gripped with the thought that writing these books was God’s mission for me. My next thought: was I living my life like I was on a mission from God? I realized that no, I often didn’t live my life this way.

What is the objective of our Christian life? I used to think that it was to know God as well as we could, to spend intimate time with Him, and to develop and grow my relationship with Him. And I still believe that my relationship with God through Christ, as communicated through the Holy Spirit, is of the utmost importance. Nothing else in life really means anything without that relationship.

But that morning, I had another thought. God didn’t just initiate and sustain a relationship with me so that I could cultivate and develop it for the rest of my human life. He did it so that I could bring it into the world and do something with it.

If having a relationship with Christ was the be-all and end-all of existence, then Jesus would have just gotten the disciples into a room and kept them, communed with them there for His entire ministry. But just a quick thought about his ministry as depicted in the gospels reveals that even before most of them understood much about Him or His ministry, He was sending them out to minister to others.

The disciples had a mission from Jesus–several of them, in fact. Whether it was taking care of widows, healing the sick, or telling others about how they could come to know Jesus as their savior, the disciples lived out their faith in real and tangible ways, even facing death for their beliefs.

Jesus’ kingdom isn’t just a static kingdom that eventually gets you to heaven; His kingdom starts here and now, and there is a lot of work involved. He doesn’t just save us for heaven; He transforms us and gives us a mission to fulfill in this life.

I believe that part of our life as believers should be spent in prayer, asking God what mission He has for us. If we live our Christian lives without discovering that mission, we will have missed something vital about this life on earth. And once we discover it, I pray that it colors our life and puts everything else in perspective so that we can’t help but work toward that mission with all of our strength.

So, are you on a mission from God? Share your thoughts below.

 

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The Problem With Rules

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A lot of people think that religion and faith are based on rules. If you do all the right things, you are living out your faith and following your religion, right? And when you mess up, then you have somehow failed to live out what you say you believe.

This way of thinking is based on some false assumptions and mistakes in theology. While it may be true that some religions are based on rules, Christianity was never meant to be this way. Over and over again in the Bible, Jesus says that He has transcended all the rules and regulations of religion that existed before. He shows grace and compassion to sinners who are stuck in their ways, while reserving his harshest judgment for the rule-keepers and rule-enforcers of the day, the Pharisees and Saducees.

Jesus even purposefully breaks many of the rules of the day–He heals on the Sabbath, He eats with the unclean, and he tells His followers to treat Samaritans and others considered outsiders as neighbors and brothers. Why does He do this? I believe it’s to show everyone from that time forward what’s really important.

Doing good is important, and doing the right things is also important. But Jesus knew that doing good works on our own strength was a mission doomed to failure. No one has ever been able to do it, from Adam and Eve to today, even with God’s help. To be human is to fail at the ideal of perfection. It has always been so.

I have come to believe that God made us with this inherent tendency to fail at following rules (on our own strength). Why? Because if we could follow the rules perfectly, we might begin to think we didn’t need a relationship with Him. We would be wrong, but what would prompt us to realize it?

Of course, God doesn’t want us to fail. But if we keep all of the rules perfectly and don’t pursue a relationship with Him, then we actually have failed in the very worst possible way. The fact is, we were made to be in relationship with our Creator. The rules are just supposed to show us how much we need that relationship.

Since Lent started, I’ve been pursuing a Lenten discipline. Some people of faith I know are doing so–giving up chocolate, or meat, or some other thing. Others don’t feel the need. After 3 weeks, I’ve noticed some things about these special Lenten rules I’ve imposed upon myself, and even about rules in general.

At first, the rules feel really good. Following them gives me a sense of purpose, and I do really well. But after a while, I get a little bit tired of the rules. I start to question why I’m following the rules, whether the rules I’ve made are really all that important, and whether they have any real meaning or not. That’s only the first step.

Next, I begin to find all the loopholes to the rules I’ve set up. If I want something enough, there are plenty of ways to get around the rules and convince myself that it’s fine, to justify doing what I want to do in spite of the rule I’ve set up to keep myself from doing it.

Pretty soon, I’ve effectively negated the rule. At this point I do one of two things: keep following the rule on the surface so it looks good, while using the loopholes to do what I want anyway, or just abandon the rule as meaningless and ineffective.

If you think about it, Jesus knew that these reactions to rules were built into the very fabric of humanity. When He gave us brains, he had to know we would use them this way! I’m quite sure that this is why rules were never intended to be the be-all, end-all of our faith.

So does this mean we should just go ahead and do whatever we want in life? I don’t believe so. Morality, right and wrong, are learned at a very young age, and they fill important needs in our lives. We just have to realize that we are going to fail at times in trying to live a moral life. Instead of letting our failures destroy us, though, we can turn to our relationship with Jesus to redeem these failures. Our only true failure is to turn away from our relationship with Jesus.

On the other hand, letting our relationship with Jesus change and transform our lives is the key to it all. Even Jesus boiled all the rules down to just one thing–love. Love God and love our neighbor. The more we do that, the more we will be doing what God wants us to do in our lives.

I’m not giving up my Lenten discipline. I believe it has a purpose, even if just to show me how much I fail and how much I need Jesus to be present in my life. To show me what a sham rules can be and how they fail me over and over again. And to show me how knowing Jesus is the way not to fail.

One of my favorite Relient K songs. Please share your thoughts with me and be sure to share this post with your friends. You can also like my Facebook page: Next Level Faith

 

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Are We a Christian Nation?

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President’s day is being celebrated today. I know some of my Christian friends like to say that we are not a Christian nation, while others claim that our country was founded on Christianity. I think that both of these viewpoints have some legitimacy, but both of them also miss the point a little bit.

An important part of how our country was founded included freedom to choose your religion. We still live by this today, as well we should. After all, God himself set up our existence to include free will. No one is made to choose Him, and I think it’s admirable that the framers of our country’s political system recognized this and emulated it when most of the nations they knew did not.

However, the founding fathers were not atheists. Although they had theological differences, each and every one of them had a faith in God that shaped their life and defined their beliefs and actions. The faith of the founders was specifically a Christian faith—this fact cannot be denied by anyone who studies history.

The faith of the framers and founders, including the early Presidents, was integral to how the country was formed and governed in the early years, and this country became a bastion of freedom and liberty, a place that people from other nations longed to come and be a part of.

Those who want to say we are not a Christian nation are playing a semantics game. Nobody has to be a Christian in this country, that’s true, but our government and framework were clearly formed according to Christian principles. That’s why it has worked so extraordinarily well (in my opinion).

Some people, including some Christians, want to move away from the faith part of the framework of this country. They want to change the way this country operates so that religion isn’t a part of it. Here’s the problem, though, the way I see it. Our country has been tremendously successful, and a big part of that is because Christian principles work for everyone who lives by them—even people who aren’t Christians!

Nobody has to actually be a Christian to objectively look at our nation and see that freedom and liberty are admirable, and also have created a society that works better than other types of governments. When politicians think about changing things, I would like to caution them to be careful about changing a system that has worked so well for so long (not that they are listening to me).

It’s easy to get theoretical about the way things should be. If our country was founded on freedom of religion, then we should eliminate any faith-based principles from the government, some theorize. But when you take away the framework that created such unprecedented freedom, you could very well be destroying the freedom that such a framework has created and preserved for over 200 years. I don’t think it’s necessary to do so to preserve people’s freedom to choose their religion (or not choose one, if they wish).

So are we a Christian nation? Were we created to be one? Maybe, maybe not. But our original form of government and our Constitution hold great value. I think it’s at least partly because of the faith in God on which it was founded. And I don’t think that necessitates changing things. In fact, I think it would be a grave mistake to abandon our founding principles just because they may be based on the faith of the founders.

I hope that gives you something to think about on President’s Day. Feel free to share your comments below. God bless you and God bless America!

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Does Ash Wednesday Mean Anything to You?

Today is the first day of Lent, which some call Ash Wednesday. If you grew up as I did, in a Lutheran church, you may have experienced going to church on Ash Wednesday and getting ashes applied to your forehead as the pastor said, “From ashes you came, and to ashes you will return.” My current church doesn’t give ashes, but we do have a service to commemorate the beginning of Lent.

Ash Wednesday is meant to be a time of reflecting on your sins, confessing them, and drawing close to God as Lent begins. Lent is a 40-day period of preparation for celebrating Jesus’ death and resurrection, ending with Easter. Sundays don’t count as days of Lent, which makes it exactly 40 days.

40 days is usually a significant time period in the Bible. Look it up—Noah was in the ark 40 days, Moses was on the mountain 40 days. When 40 days is talked about, it’s usually a time of meditating or being with God in a special way. I try to honor this during Lent each year, but sometimes life gets in the way and I fall away from it in the middle. Just being honest here.

During Lent, mention is often made of the 40-day time period Jesus spent at the beginning of his ministry in the desert, fasting. At the end of this 40 days, Satan tempted Him and He, of course, successfully resisted and rebuked Satan. This connection between Lent and Jesus’ fasting may be why people often give up something for Lent.

My family growing up would give up meat for Lent some years. I don’t know why. My parents didn’t even realize that Sundays didn’t count, so we went 46 days or so eating mushroom soup with tuna and peas, tuna burgers and fish sticks and a few other things I can’t remember. I still can’t eat mushroom soup with tuna and peas today.

Sometimes we start to wonder why we follow the traditions and disciplines we do, and they start to lack real meaning. I encourage you to follow a Lenten discipline if it has meaning for you and you feel led to do it. If not, this time can still be meaningful as you consider the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for you and all of us.

If you’ve never followed a Lenten discipline or given it any special thought, it might be a good “next level” step to try to do so this year. Reading a devotional or scripture and spending a few minutes praying will give your day a spiritual focus and help you feel closer to God.

Lent may not be the most joyful season of the church year, but it can be tremendously meaningful to spend special time with God and prepare your heart for the joy that is coming. Please share your comments or memories of past Lenten experiences below.

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Anyone else remember making these palm crosses during Lent and Easter?

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Attitude is Everything

Open Bible

photo source: Flickr

My son starts football doubles today—practice all morning, moms feed them lunch at the school, then practice all afternoon. Last night he appeared at the bottom of the stairs as he often does when he wants to ask me something. “Could you wake me up at 7:20?”

During the school year I get up at 6:30 to make our breakfast smoothies so he can have one before he has to get on the bus. I then proceed to get ready to go teach for part of the morning before I come home and write.

But it’s summertime, which means sleeping in until 8:00 and not needing to set the alarm clock. So I grumbled and asked him if he really needed to get up that early to leave at 8:15. He insisted he did, so I acquiesced, and here I sit at 7:44 a.m., until 5 minutes ago checking out Facebook and having a bad attitude about getting out of bed so early.

As I was sitting here checking Facebook statuses, I realized that this early morning time would be perfect for some prayer and devotions, which I had only done sporadically this summer because it is just rarely quiet when the kids are home from school. Getting up at 8 is nice, but does not give me much quiet time as I get to making smoothies and my 9-year-old wakes up and wants to chatter about the day and ask me questions.

I realized that when I get up with a bad attitude, I get on Facebook instead of reading God’s Word to start my day. When I grumble, I waste opportunities. I’m grateful that I could have these thoughts and will start to look at the time as a blessing rather than an unwelcome end to summer relaxation. I’m pretty sure those thoughts didn’t come entirely from me, so thank you, God, for the gentle reminder to always seek You no matter what is going on in my life. *

Now it’s 7:51, and I have some people to pray for and some scripture to read before I may or may not need to drive him to practice (depending on if his friend picks him up).

*This reminder also echoed my pastor’s sermon yesterday, so I want to give credit to him for helping me along in this as well. Although I’m sure he gives credit to God for the sermon.

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Answers to Prayer

Guest Post by Kathleen Wills

This is my first guest post for this blog. Kathleen is a dear friend of many years who attends church with me. From what I have seen, she is having a time of intense study and revelation from God after many years of raising 5 children (which is an amazing task to take on, in my humble opinion). She shared this reflection with me and it was so fitting for today that I asked if I could share it with all of you. 

She writes,

In my prayers today I asked the Lord why he did not answer my need. He gently reminded that the Father had to say NO to Jesus when he prayed in the garden. Jesus had asked not to  go to the cross. Three things I noticed about this interaction.

Number One:

Jesus was holy, righteous and blameless, and yet the Father said no anyway. The Bible says that the Father always answers our prayers; it does not state how he answers our prayers. We can not get in our minds that if only we were better, or more obedient that the Father will have to say yes to our request.

Number Two:

After asking three times, Jesus gracefully accepted the no and stated it was out of love. The Father is not like us; His wisdom and reasoning are so far superior to ours. So we can see that if the Father says no to our petition, He does it out of love and our best interest. Like Jesus we must learn to accept the Father’s no with love and trust.

Number Three:

The Father said no so that we would have salvation; there is a REASON the Father says no to our requests and its for our own GOOD. Even if we can not understand it now, and may never understand it in this life.

One final thought: Jesus asked not to go through the trial of the cross, which I can fully understand. He knew how painful it would be. Oh, how it must have hurt the Father to say no to His beloved son, but He said no anyway. He knows how painful our trials are, too. So let us walk through our trials in faith, knowing that the Father loves us and will always do what is best for us, even if He has to say no.

Hebrews 12:2: Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Thank you, Kathleen. I pray that this Holy Week finds all of you in the midst of a fresh experience of God’s forgiveness, mercy, and love for us. May our love and devotion be stronger than ever before as we consider all that He has done for us.

Jesus Praying in Gethsemane

 

photo source: Flickr

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Devotion

Music has been my Lenten devotions this year. Yes, it is Lent, but you wouldn’t really know it by looking at my life (other than going to Lenten services on Wednesdays rather than prayer meetings). When I have a moment to think about that, it makes me a little sad. But, I don’t have too many moments to dwell on it.

I’m in the thick of many things right now. Working with middle schoolers, writing, holistic scoring. Those are what I get paid to do. Keeping up with the laundry, cleaning, cooking (my part of it anyway), driving the kids to activities, feeding everyone, shopping, paying the bills. Those are what I need to do to keep the household running. Spending time with the kids and my husband, the occasional date night, teaching Sunday School, Women’s Ministry activities, Book Club, being a friend, blogging. Those are what I need to do for me and the ones I love.

I wonder sometimes how my life got so very full that I alternate between feeling completely blessed and completely overwhelmed. So full that I sometimes just want to run away, but other times full of joy that I get to do all these things. It’s not a boring time, that much I can say.

And it’s easy to think that God can get a little lost in all that fullness. I have to confess, I don’t get up and have devotions every morning. Sometimes, if I wake up early, I pray. Many mornings, I stumble out of bed and get right to making breakfast (high school starts early!) and packing lunches and finding uniforms. There are days when I don’t stop from the time I get up in the morning until well after dark. Where is God in a day full of work and family and maybe, if I’m lucky, a 20 minute nap? Am I all that devoted to God?

In thinking about this (and feeling guilty), I have realized something. An undercurrent of God runs through my life even when He isn’t the very first thing on my mind. Over the years of feeding and nurturing and growing my faith, God has permeated everything. He has done that because I have invited, asked, begged Him to do just that.

When I get up in the morning, He is there. I think of Him as I unload the dishwasher, check the weather, pour the cereal. I may not think of Him every moment, but my thoughts of Him are many: reminders to be kind, conviction when I fail, that still small voice reminding me to make good choices on how to spend my time, letting me know when one of my kids needs to talk, nudging me to rest or to work or to take a minute to just be.

As far as I can discern, He’s not miffed at me for not doing devotions every morning. Maybe that is something you need to hear. I believe that God accepts us where we are. Just read the gospels. Jesus didn’t tell Zaccheus, “Well, when you stop collecting taxes, then we can have dinner at your house.” He didn’t tell the woman caught in adultery, “Come see me when you are all cleansed and purified and you’re never going to commit adultery again.” He accepted them right where they were (while also encouraging them to go and sin no more, but that’s a different post topic).

I believe that we can let the guilt over where we are spiritually go. Just let it go! God accepts you where you are! Furthermore, I believe that often, the guilt we feel about how we think we’ve failed God drives us away from him in shame. Let’s agree not to avoid God because of shame. Jesus has taken care of all that precisely because God doesn’t want our shame to come between us and Him.

The truth of the matter is, I am devoted to God, and you probably are too. There is no particular way we have to express that, like doing daily devotions or spending a certain amount of time every day praying. I do practice my faith. I teach Bible class every day at school. I go to prayer meeting at church. I prepare for and teach Sunday School. I participate in Women’s Ministry and help coordinate it. I worship every week unless I’m sick.

And I’m not boasting about any of this. I don’t do these things to prove anything or relieve my guilt. These are things I want to do, ways I have identified that help me reach out to God and live in community with Him and other believers. These and many other smaller things–talking to my kids about God and faith in Jesus, posting stuff on Facebook and Twitter, reading Christian books, having a thankful moment, and singing praise songs at the top of my lungs in the car–are the expressions of my faith. They are imperfect, often lacking, but I believe God accepts them for what they are, while softly encouraging me to come a little closer to Him.

What are the expressions of your faith? Do you feel like you are not focused on God enough? Does guilt motivate your actions? Please comment! It’s lonely when nobody comments.

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4 Ways I Put God Last This Week (How Many of These Can You Relate To?)

Bible time

photo credit: Flickr

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. –Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

It’s smack dab in the middle of winter, and where I live, we are experiencing it all: snow, ice, extreme cold, wind and more snow. The groundhog saw his shadow yesterday, although it was cloudy and snowing, so I don’t know how. Although I am a strong advocate of hibernating until spring, I can’t exactly quit my 3 jobs and stop driving my kids to wrestling, basketball, Bible club, youth group . . . you get the idea.

So here I am. Under a blanket, curled up on the couch, praying for the groundhog to be wrong. Just a few more weeks, I’m thinking. If I can hang on through the next 2 or 3 weeks, the sun getting a little bit closer and brighter and warmer each day, I think the worst will be over. Slowly, the temperatures will creep upward and maybe I won’t wake up with headaches from the dry heat blowing over me all night.

Is all this supposed to be some kind of excuse for why my title is true of me? I think that may be how it started out, as a justification for putting God last. As if anything could justify that. Well, I hope you enjoyed my story about winter, because now I’m ready to get real.

So often, I really want to put God’s will first in my life, but it just doesn’t work out that way.  For many reasons, He ends up last. See if you can relate to any of these ways  I put Him last this week.

1) I didn’t take time to pray and read my Bible.

Sure, I prayed when I had to drive on the highway in that snowstorm, and I led my Sunday School class in prayer, and I prayed along in church on Sunday, and I prayed at prayer meeting on Wednesday. So there’s that. But I didn’t nurture my own personal relationship with God this week by going into my figurative prayer closet, shutting out the world, and spending some quality time alone with God.

My life suffers when I don’t do that. All the TV shows and housework and jobs and outings and meals–and even my kids and spouse, as great as they are–can’t be for me what talking to God and hearing from Him can be in my life.

2) I argued with people I love.

When Jesus told his disciples that they needed to love one another as He had loved them, He made following Him so simple and yet so very hard all at the same time. How many times and in how many ways did I fail to lay my life down for the people who are the closest to me this week? How much time do you have? We could be here all week.

3) I worried about my life.

The verse above, if you read it in context, is all about worrying. That chapter talks about how God takes care of the birds and the flowers, so how much more will He take care of us? When we worry, we are failing to trust God. I worry about things every day. It makes me anxious and irritable and controlling. It takes my mind off God and firmly on the things of this world.

I do better with worrying than I used to. I give myself internal lectures about it, reminding myself that God’s got it under control and that He has good plans for me. I can let things go a lot more than I used to, but still, I find myself asking what if and becoming anxious far too often before I remember to relax and trust God with my life.

4) I did too much and breathed too little.

Did you ever notice that when you’re rushed or under stress, your breathing changes? I find myself holding my breath. Sometimes I don’t even notice it until I start to feel lightheaded or physically ill. I can’t even remember to breathe sometimes because of the ways I have filled up my life with too many things and activities and stuff to get done!

It only stands to reason that if I forget to breathe, I would forget to pray, to just BE with God in those busy times, too. How many times do I give God’s place to something else in my life? Those times never turn out well.

This is my confession. I believe we need to confess our wrongdoings and shortcomings to God and other people. It may not be fun or make us popular but I think it’s important, for us and for other people. Confession is becoming a lost practice in many churches, and I think that we lose something when we don’t do it.

I’m not beating myself up about these things. I know I’m not perfect. I make a lot of mistakes and get a lot of things wrong, but so does everyone else I know. I just need to acknowledge these and other things to God, and He forgives me. What a wonderful thing, to be forgiven.

 

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When You Have Nothing to Say to God

worried or praying

 

photo credit: Flickr

I have had a vicious case of “blogger’s block” for over a week now. I fully intended to post a new musing last week, but no topics presented themselves. Instead, I did a few small sewing projects and kept thinking about what to post.

Finally, I decided to just be honest and admit that I’m struggling for new ideas at the moment. It’s not that I don’t have thoughts about God or faith issues I’m dealing with. I have a constant internal dialogue about God and my faith. It’s just that everything seems so tired, so cliche, or so personal that a topic for the blog was not forthcoming.

Maybe I am getting too used to being assigned topics to write about. Or maybe I’m being mentally lazy, succumbing to the January blahs that are so common this time of year. See, my internal dialogue isn’t really that interesting a lot of the time. Lots of maybes and speculating about my psychological makeup and motivations.

Anyway, my lack of post ideas for this blog led me in the direction of writing about those times we have nothing to say to God. Why might someone feel that they have nothing to say to God? What does that say about their faith? And how can they overcome this feeling?

Having nothing to say to God usually comes from one of two things: something traumatic that happened in your life that you just can’t understand, or being in a state of spiritual apathy.

People who have experienced trauma in their lives often feel anger toward God. They question why God allowed the traumatic event to happen and why God didn’t rescue them from their suffering. I’m not going to get into the answers to those questions. That would be a lot longer than a blog post!

However, I believe strongly that God wants us to be honest with Him no matter what. If we are angry with Him, we need to express that to Him rather than give Him the silent treatment. Keeping the lines of communication open even when we are angry may help us to process and deal with the trauma we have experienced. God comes to us in our suffering and helps us, even if He doesn’t prevent every bad thing from happening to us. We can experience God’s love and peace if we keep talking to Him even when we are angry and sad.

Spiritual apathy is something I believe we all deal with at different times. At least, I know that I have slipped into this state unawares more than once before. Although my heart’s desire is to be aware and growing spiritually every day of my life, the reality is that other realities of life can take up my time, energy and attention some days (or weeks) and push my relationship with God to the back burner.

At these times of spiritual apathy, I sometimes feel like I have nothing to say to God. Maybe no new thoughts are coming to my mind, or I’m just too busy with deadlines and kids’ activities and keeping a household going to think about God much, let alone talk to Him.

I don’t like being in a state of spiritual apathy. It doesn’t take very long before life begins to feel meaningless and like a heavy burden to bear. When these feeling start to come, I know I need to find some time to get alone with God to talk to Him and read His word. Even listening to Christian music is a tremendous help in banishing spiritual apathy from my life, since much of the music I enjoy praises God and “talks” to Him through the song lyrics (yes, I sing along). More about that in this post.

I encourage you to keep on talking to God even when you think you have nothing to say. I would welcome your thoughts in the comments section about your experiences with having nothing to say to God.

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