I think most of us, at one point or another, spiritually believe that if we do “A, B, and C,” we’ll get “X, Y, and Z.” That, if we act a certain way, God will give us what we want. We may know God’s love for us isn’t performance based, but it’s easy to get in the mind-set of acting as if His love is earned through our thoughts and actions.
For many years I’ve felt that I’ve been in a harvesting season. Makes sense, I’m in my 20’s…I’ll probably feel this way until I’m 67. Until now in my life, college was my busiest and fullest emotionally. I vividly remember leaving work at midnight, driving home knowing I had a paper to write, a shift the next morning, and an exam directly after that shift. Tears streamed down my face driving, hands shaking, eyes puffy. Exhaustion overwhelmed me and getting home I would pull my oily hair in a pony tail, heat up the latte I took home, blast Enya, and knock out a paper.
At that hour it wasn’t rare to get a text saying, “hey Mare, me and [boyfriend name] had a huge fight and I’m seriously depressed. I know it’s late… can you talk?” In these moments I would think ,“Jesus would call” and call my friend, blowing off my paper. Do I think that was the wisest? For me, yes, because I am stubborn when it comes to my friends and being there for them. Wise academically? No.
If I told my friend I was busy and would call her tomorrow she would love me the same. If I called her then she still would love me the same. Now, did she feel more important because I called in the moment? Yes. Because, when we’re having bad days we feel important and loved when someone stops whatever they’re doing to listen, despite their busy life.
Before I called my friend I sighed deeply, smacked my head in my textbook and reluctantly dialed. Would Jesus sigh and smack His head in a book if I said, “Hey Jesus…I’m depressed. Can you talk?”
No He certainly would not.
In this scenario my friend, despite me calling her immediately, is more like Jesus than I was.
[allow time to let the cheesy analogy to soak in]
When we tell Jesus we’ll talk to Him tomorrow, He will be patient and wait. He loves us the same then as much as He does now. He wants us to call on Him when we need help and stop whatever we’re doing to talk to Him. He is jealous of our time and takes delight when we spend time with Him. That has always been hard for me to have confidence in– that God delights in me when I’m being a ranting rat and venting off about my life. He does though! He wants me to go to Him before any of my friends with my worries and cast my problems before Him.
1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
Psalm 55:22: Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
And that is why, even when I seek to be like Jesus, I will never be anything close. I’m sinful by nature and even though it was selfless and kind to call my friend, my heart didn’t delight in talking to her that night. I was tired, had just worked 8 hours, had a paper to write and would have much rather spent the sacrificial 20 minutes to take a warm shower than listen to yet another fight my friend and her boyfriend had.
Some say I talk to Jesus in a non-traditional way, some say they’ve done the same thing…who knows, we do what we do. During those times when I cried on my drive home knowing how much I had to conquer I started to imagine Jesus in the passenger seat asking me how my day went. I would out loud talk to my empty seat as if He was physically present. God is everywhere and I knew I could pray or simply cry, but I would pretend He asked how my day went and I would, still do, talk my day out, out loud, alone in my car. I’ll go all out with, “I feel manipulated! I’m not superwoman here who can just conquer the world!” The filth in my heart comes out. Since I talk directly to Jesus and not to a friend, my heart usually churns as I’m talking. I’m talking to my Father, Best Friend, Savior and Lord about problems He DOES care about. My heart becomes more calm, more loving to those I’m bitter towards, more grateful, more full.
I challenge those to silence themselves and talk to Jesus as if He asked how your day was. Go in detail, don’t cover anything up. He already knows more than you about your day, so give Him your perspective and I guarantee He will give you His in return.
But, it’s tough.
In our day and age, specifically with technology and the pulls of society, to shut off all distractions and sounds and silence ourselves before God. For me it’s easier to get in my car, turn on the radio and allow my brain to go numb until I hit the pillow. I know praying and inviting God to spend time with me will always end with feeling better….so why don’t I consistently do that?
My personal answer changes regularly. Either I’m too tired, would rather have a tangible response from a friend or I don’t want to pray and talk to God because I know my sin will surface and I’m not ready to repent. Knowing to repent and not repenting is sinning again so, the cycle for me easily can start going. I grow so upset with myself for not being disciplined or doing what I know is right. At that point all I can think is, “I’ll come back to you God when I have everything together.”