Fear Anger Lonely
What kept me today from opening my Bible or turning to today’s reading in my favorite daily devotional, Jesus Calling, or checking in with myself and with God by writing in my journal (the place where I most often hear what is going on inside me, where I write my prayers to God, and where I write down what I hear Him saying to me)?
What makes it so much easier to look at my phone? Check headlines on my computer? Check my email? Update a Facebook status? Read a twitter feed? Or check off the next item on my to-do list?
I think it’s because I am afraid.
Afraid after admitting I am in want and in need, that God won’t meet my needs. Afraid after I bring my neediness to God that I will still be lonely. Afraid I will still be hurting. Afraid I will still be sad. Afraid that I will still be . . . afraid.
If I knew every time I turned to God to meet me, hear me, speak to me, answer me, comfort me, or touch me, that He would -- I don’t believe I would hesitate to employ the disciplines of prayer, meditation, or devotional reading that can be ways of stopping long enough for these relational connections to happen.
Truth is, I will seek out and find whatever or whoever I ultimately believe will meet my needs. Which is what I did this morning.
Turning to God with the expectation that He meet me in my turning creates fear because it requires risk. Risk? Yes.
What if God doesn’t meet me the way I want Him to, expect Him to, or even believe I need Him to? What if God cannot be controlled or manipulated . . . and what if He doesn’t change my circumstances? What if He doesn’t change the way my child is acting? What if He doesn’t change the way my spouse is acting towards me? What if all He does is listen to me and tell me He will never leave me or forsake me? What if all He does is tell me He loves me and He cares? What if all He does is delight in my need of Him? What if He just stands there!
What if He doesn’t give in to my demand for some measure of relief so I don’t have to be lonely, afraid, hurt, or sad? What if all He gives me is Himself? And what if that’s not enough? And what if that’s not what I think I need.
The answer is an easy one. I will do whatever I ultimately believe will meet my needs. If I believe what I need is relief, then that’s where I will turn. Which is why I will look to my phone. I will check the headlines on my computer. I will check my email. I will update my Facebook status. I will check a twitter feed. Or I will check off the next item on my to-do list. All of those things guarantee me (without risk) what I most want.
For a minute or five or thirty minutes I get what I most want: by way of the magic of distraction, I get relief.
Yes, I will do whatever I ultimately believe will meet my needs. Which is what I did this morning. Now how do I stay distracted so I don’t have to face life on life’s terms . . . so I don’t have to need God . . . so I won’t have to wake up tomorrow morning still in need?
I think I will start by admitting to God just how afraid I am that He won’t be enough for me and how often I choose the predictable power of relief over the vulnerable possibility and promise of His presence.