Lately I have felt disconnected from God. I know the saying goes ‘when you feel God is distant, who moved?’ and I remind myself of this often. Yet this is not the first time this has happened for me in my life and the usual things that ‘close the gap’ have not been as effective for me this time around.
Sometimes reading a good book will light the way to my steps back to Him, or the lyrics to a new song will move me to tears and back into His arms. I’ve been reading plenty and listening to music and nothing has caught my heart like I’m longing for.
In years past I would get myself to start reading His word more, and that would bring that closeness I desired. But over time, I’ve gotten to where this is a regular part of my daily routine now so I am already doing that.
I used to be able to sit at the piano or with a guitar in hand and play as an act of worship. I now play regularly in the preschool ministry at church, so that too has become routine for me.
As I thought about all of this, I realized that I am always trying to find ways for Jesus to fall fresh on me. Ways to make our relationship new and exciting and leave an impact on me. And the fact that I haven’t been moved in new ways by the same tried and true old ways should be no surprise. After all, we live in a consumer culture- we rarely create anything at all, but spend each day consuming what others have made. From packaged foods that are nearly ready to eat from the box, to watching prepackaged reality shows, sitcoms, and dramas on TV. From listening to
music, to reading books, to coming to church on Sundays and being entertained and taught by the staff and volunteers, everything is laid out to us on a silver platter to consume and enjoy.
And the results of this are painfully obvious. Have you read the reviews of apps in the App Store lately? People will complain that a free game didn’t have enough levels or hours of enjoyment- a free app that some one or some company poured out months of development time working on!! Have you seen the comments on Youtube? They will find something negative and hateful to say about anything! Have you seen the reviews of movies lately- I could go on and on.
It seems as we continue to consume and consume, we continually raise our expectations and standards, trying to get the response we once got but can no longer get. And just as a drug seems to wear off in its effects on us, requiring more and more to elicit that same high, we find that nothing can scratch that itch the way it once did when it comes to finding passion in our relationship for God.
Even when I try to create and not consume, the evidence of this is clear. I wrote a song recently with these lyrics:
I will sing a new song, to you my Lord, to You my Lord.
I will find a new way to say, Lord I am Yours, Lord I am Yours.
And with each day, my words will say, what this truth is all about.
With my whole life, I will strive, to really live it out.
Would you fall fresh on me, as I fall at your feet.
So with every breath in me, I’ll sing it and mean it.
You deserve more than trite old words, I can sing with my heart closed..
On the surface, I thought I had a great song with a strong prayer- asking God to find a new way to inspire me to worship Him. It’s a noble cause after all, wanting to be closer to him and wanting to glorify Him better through it. But how is this any different than the person who stops going to their church home because they feel like they’ve heard those songs, heard those messages, seen those same people before, and want something different?
These issues are not new with us- even when God was feeding the Israelites in the desert by raining down Manna from heaven for them to eat, the response was the same. Can’t we get a little variety here? Something a little more exciting? God was raining bread from the sky to feed them in the middle of the desert and the reaction was ‘meh, I give it a 1 out of 5 stars”!
Wish it tasted like Chicken?
And so it is this that beckons me back, back to the simple act of prayer and communion with our Lord and Savior. I have decided that what I need is simply time with Him in my life- alone and in quiet with no distractions or expectations of miracles or causes to be wowed. He’s already shown that to me in my life and I have much to reflect on and be awed and grateful. And that should be more than enough!
For me personally that may mean actually reading less of his Word in the bible since I spend a lot of my quiet time hoping to hear from Him that way, and more time in conversation with Him, and listening.
So what about you? Have you become a consumer of Christ, waiting to hear from Him in new and impressive new ways and finding fewer of them with each passing day? If so, what are you going to do about it? Let me know in the comments below!