Do you ever have those days where you rethink every decision you've ever made and wonder how you ended up where you are?
I just had one of those days.
I realized those times where my mind takes me every which way and I start to second-guess every decision I've made from coming to Taylor to my major to my friendships to my dating decisions to my faith (thank you, Contemporary Christian Belief. But for real, I love Contemp and I've thought "I would've liked being a philosophy major"--which goes along with my second-guessing why I decided on El Ed)...is this still one sentence?...I've realized that in those times, my mind is taking over. Satan starts feeding me lies. I realized that what I see and experience in this world is becoming my ultimate reality. That my foundation is crumbling.
Do you know what's really great? What I've finally realized I've been seriously lacking in my life is the very thing that this week's chapter is about in the Henri Nouwen book I'm reading for my small group at The Mercy House. How perfect is that.
And that "thing" I'm lacking is prayer.
Seems pretty basic. "Like, duh, Julie" is pretty much what I think God is saying to me right now. (I am not at all alluding to the fact that God would talk like a Californian surfer dude...but maybe Jesus would)
I have been feeling a desperate need for closeness, for intimacy, to be known and loved deeply, to feel like I matter, that I'm heard, that people desire my presence and take time out of their day to just spend time with me. I have a lot of good friends and a lot of what I have just said I've expressed a need for, I do get from friends, and often daily. Yet, I still desire more. And I've felt selfish wanting that. And I've felt like there's something seriously wrong with me if I am not satisfied by the love people are giving me.
And then lo and behold, I get hit with a ton of bricks (those bricks being different speakers/the Holy Spirit/Nouwen) and I realize oh yeah, I am in need of serious intimacy with God. I need more solitude. I need serious meditation on Scripture. I need to learn that human love cannot fill, and no matter if I'm upset that a friend isn't paying much attention to me or I don't have a man in my life to feel close to or whatever the case may be, God's love can fill if I choose to receive it. It's hard to grasp when we often define our own human love as being God's love shown through us...so then it's easy to say, when human love is lacking, there is no evidence that God is loving me fully. Yet, this isn't true. Yes, we are vessels of God's love, but God's love is shown through nature, through events in our lives, through his provision and faithfulness...through so many things if we just stop and meditate on it. His promises are proof of his love--that He is always with us and will never forsake us, that we can trust in Him, that He is good and just. And ultimately, we cannot experience God's love to the extent he wants us to experience and receive it if we are not in communion with him through prayer.
So, in an effort to get grounded, stop letting my mind get away from me, stop feeling like I'm not loved enough, and stop feeling this desperate need for intimacy, I am committing, starting tomorrow, to pray for at least half an hour every morning before I start my day. And then continuously through the day as I go about my daily activities. This seems especially appropriate since we are nearing the Lenten season as well.
So, since I am making this public proclamation, I have some accountability now...And I will update all you that read my blog with the results of my very intentional prayerfulness.
"Without the discipline of prayer, the world retains its illusions." -Henri Nouwen