I’ve been a bit numb these days. I think we all have that in our spiritual walk time to time.
I think at this point in the game, I know what to do when I’m not “feeling it.” I just try harder. I shift my mindset. I make the right choices. I die to myself and take up my cross daily.
We are constantly taught that the spiritual way of life is one of peace and joy. But, let’s be real… sometimes it’s just easier to be indifferent. Perhaps, it’s because being indifferent is one step more acceptable than being angry, discouraged, or anxious.
It is true that our emotions should never be in the driver’s seat of our life, and, yes, a mature Christian would know how to follow spiritual conviction more than one’s transient feelings. Consistency, discipline, and perseverance are all necessary components to grow in Christ.
However, walking the spiritual journey while constantly ignoring how you feel is also a lie.
I was dropping off my firstborn at school the other day and when we approached the school entrance, she sheepishly got out of the car and said, “I forgot my snack bag…” Instantly, my heart was filled with rage. This girl knew better! I reminded her about 3 times before we left for school to go grab her bag. In order to fix this situation, I would have to weave through school drop-off traffic, go home, grab the bag, weave back through even more traffic, and go through the front office. In that moment, being that I was livid and trying not to react, I stalled. Moriah, being a quick one to discern that Mommy was just not having it, quickly said goodbye and ran out of the car.
Oftentimes, I’ve heard older moms advise, when appropriate, allow your child to learn the hard way and not go back to pick up what they forgot. So, instinctively, that was my first thought. I was going to allow my daughter to endure the embarrassment and regret of not remembering her snack bag as a way to become a more mature, independent six-year-old (I know… not my finest moment).
But, as I was driving back home, the Lord immediately pressed upon my heart this word, “Faith, that is not like Me.”
My immediate response to that was, “Of course that’s like you, God!” It’s important to learn our lessons, isn’t it? It’s important not to be spoiled, right? It’s for her own good! This is love—tough love!
But, again, He said, “That is not like Me.”
And, in that moment, I was reminded of the times in Bible history when God rebuked and taught His children. Was He firm? Yes. But, He never neglected the needs of the soul.
When Adam and Eve committed the first disobedience, God could have allowed their nakedness and shame to teach them a lesson for the rest of their lives. Instead, He clothed them.
When Elijah could not bear the weight of his ministry anymore and asked to die, God gave him rest and gentle instruction.
When the crowds came to hear Jesus speak, He did not turn them around to learn how to take up their cross and pay the heavy price of listening to His precious words. He fed them.
Our soul has needs. We want things like a sense of safety, acceptance, assurance, order, etc. And, yes, the lessons are important. Doing the right thing is important. Accomplishments, goals, standards… all of that is indeed important. But, with all of that, we cannot deny that the state of your soul is crucial.
The irony about Scripture is that God frequently compares Himself to the shepherd. The reason why that is ironic is because shepherds were not highly esteemed in ancient Jewish culture. But, Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” Why wouldn’t it be, “The Lord my overseer”? Why not just, “The Lord is my instructor”? The Lord is my “boss”?
The shepherd’s purpose wasn’t to refine the sheep’s behavior or to help the sheep attain its goals in life. Rather, the shepherd’s purpose was to simply meet the needs of the sheep… its need to be protected, refreshed, and guided.
God wants you to grow in maturity, yes, that is true. And, He does want you to be fiery, anointed, and wise. Yes, and yes.
Yet, you are not called to pay for it, because Jesus already paid for it on the cross.
Instead of killing ourselves to perform for Him, He would much rather we give ourselves to be with Him.
To attempt to grow in our Christian walk while denying the cries of our hearts would be trying to grow while lying to oneself.
So, how did I come out of my numbness? I ceased to despise that I was numb in the first place. I stopped judging how I felt and became honest about it instead. I allowed myself to admit that there was bitterness and frustration within. I began with truth, and I gave that truth to Jesus.
And blessed am I, for He did not reject my soul… my tainted, broken, and fickle heart. I remember sitting in my closet, allowing the truth to unravel through my prayers, and I felt the Lord draw closer still. I’ve been numb because I did not allow myself to be human, and I despised my inability to pray in sorrow and love in the midst of offense. I rejected my weaknesses. So, instead of giving them to God, I just buried them deep inside… without realizing that God died for those weaknesses. There is literally nothing in me or in my life that is enough to push His Presence away from me.
So, here I am… writing my little confession in this post… just to declare to the world that because of Jesus, it is well with my soul.