Posted by Lisa Mason on 17th January 2021
Each of my children relate to me in completely different ways, I love how unique they are and how rewarding it is for me when I take the time to know and understand the complexities of their hearts and frames. But there are many times in their weeks or even days when my children don’t reach for me in their distress. Their feelings of anger, hurt, guilt, fear or shame cause them to push me away and seek their own solutions for their problems. There’s not a huge amount I can do to help them when they feel this way, except to keep loving them faithfully on my own terms, refusing to be the monster they have made me out to be in their heads, persistently reaching for them and demonstrating my love, even when my actions and words are ignored or rebuffed.
Chris preached at the Oak Church this morning about the three ways we relate to God as a church family. We relate UP; towards God, growing up in him and allowing him to deepen our faith and fill us with his Holy Spirit. We relate IN; towards our church family, encouraging one another towards Jesus, serving and blessing one another. We relate OUT: towards the people all around us, seeking to care for everyone we meet and demonstrate the love of God to the entire world. During his talk, Chris asked the question ‘What stops you from growing up in God?’ and it got me pondering. It’s not an easy question to answer and possibly one that we all need to spend some time thinking about this week.
Perhaps the most obvious way to respond to this question is to attempt to fix ourselves by looking at our schedules and trying to spend more time with God. Maybe you heard it and felt guilty that your quiet times with God should be longer, you might have made a mental note to set your alarm a little earlier on Monday morning. There is nothing wrong with that, but when your alarm wakes you up and you sit with your bible open on your lap, you might find that the barriers between you and God are all still there if you don’t let him pick a little deeper.
What things in my heart are getting in the way of my relationship with God? What is stopping me from reaching for him? How do I see God right now? If I was being truly honest, what do I really think is his attitude towards me, his opinion of me in this place?
Do you have ten minutes today to take yourself for a walk or sit in a quiet place and ask yourself these questions? I can’t tell you the answers. But I do know that God loves an honest conversation with your heart, more than all the pretence and putting on a brave face that we often try to get away with. If you hate him right now, he would much rather you told him to his face than left that hurt inside. If you are angry or confused, he would rather you brought those feelings before him, instead of trying to press on and hold it all together.
I am not a perfect Mum. Too often the pain that my children are experiencing has been caused by my own mistakes in the first place. But I know for certain that God is a perfect Father. His love for us does not fluctuate or change. His presence never leaves us. His words and promises hold true. Through the awful things that you may have encountered recently, he has been right there with you, weeping with you, compassionate towards you, desperate for you to know his love, comfort and goodness.
If you have been feeling far from God or disconnected from him in some way, don’t rush to the point where you try to move on and be OK with God again. Try to sit with your honest thoughts and questions for a while, ask God what he thinks about them. We can feel naked, dirty and vulnerable when we come before God just as we are, how much more would we prefer to be perfect when we enter his presence? But that responsibility falls on him, not us. He washes our wounds and dirt away, gently with his words, he clothes us with his own robes, radiant and clean, he sees our fragility and promises not to crush us or snuff us out and he does this in his own perfect timing. When we truly see and acknowledge our own weakness and pain and accept that we have no physical way of saving ourselves, then we can constantly receive his love and mercy with gratitude and joy.
1 Peter 2: 2-3 ‘Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.’
Originally posted on Lisa's blog.
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