Today's post may be a bit rambling, but sometimes, a girl just needs to ramble a bit.
I'm thinking about holiness, and what it means to live a holy life. This was an idea that hit me not that many months ago in a powerful way, as I came to understand some things about myself, my story, my calling, and my God. I think we've all had those moments. And back then, it seemed so easy. If God could just keep feeding me the way He was, then it seemed fairly clear to me that I would never lose track of Him again.
Right. So what happened?
I think I did what we all do - I think I oversimplified things and lost the wonder. I lost the awe and that humbling feeling that God is so much bigger than me. Because here's what happens: God does something powerful in your life, and if you're fortunate, it's a feeling sustained for quite awhile. Day after day goes by, and you just feel incredibly blessed. You sense the holy in your life. You have an inkling of divine purpose and most importantly, divine presence. Things are just right, and you "could do this forever." Except that when such a feeling becomes your forever, you forget how special it is.
The sense of holy in your life, and everything that God is doing, becomes a part of you. As it should, or so it would seem, if you'd ever hope to live a life worthy of His presence. But when all that He is becomes a part of you, something weird takes over and it doesn't take long until you look in the mirror and see you...and forget Him. It's so routine, so normal, so day-to-day that it just looks like you. The awe, the holy, the indwelling is gone.
Indwelling has become intermingling. Somewhere in the middle, you've lost both of you.
You've lost yourself because you don't feel like anything any more. The sounding board in your heart, the Spirit off of which you bounce your prayers, has become so much a part of you that you just feel like you're talking to yourself...and you're not hearing the words you say. You'd have no answer for your life anyway; you don't know who you are any more. And you wonder how this happened. You remember God, in a weird sort of way, and you remember what it meant to know what He was doing in you but it's been a long time, you suddenly realize, since you felt that. You thought you were doing it, that you'd moved from feeling to doing, but further reflection reveals that perhaps you've not been doing anything at all. It's a defeating moment.
So you turn to God, as you've always done, but it seems He's difficult to find. The voice you once knew to be His now sounds like yours, and you're not that encouraged by the things you tell yourself. Your words lack something... Authenticity? Authority? You're not quite sure. You only know that where God used to be, there is now awkward silence and you wonder where it is that you lost Him. You cry. You pray. You beg. You scream. Nothing. You're not even sure you know how to hear Him any more.
I'm not really sure how it happens that we come out of moments like these. By grace, that much I know. It's just that one day, many agonies into the silence, God's voice breaks through and you understand that it's Him. Just a whisper confirms it, and you breathe a little. Then you start to wonder how all of this happens, and you realize it is simply as I've already said - that somewhere, indwelling became intermingling and in the midst of it all, you lost both of you.
And you start to think about what it means to have the spirit of God in your life. You start to realize the power of His voice speaking into you.
It's cool when God speaks into your life. It's amazing when you are indwelt by His spirit. But it's also a powerful temptation. Everything inside of man that desires to be God has its invitation in that still, small voice and it's all-too-easy to turn His whisper into your roar. It's at that point that things start to crumble.
I'm thinking about holiness, about what it means to live a holy life. I'm thinking about the awe that infuses my being when I hear God speaking into my life, the humility that sends me to my knees in His presence. I'm thinking about the wonder...and praying I never lose it. As much as we think it's our oneness with God that is the aim of all devotion, the truth is much harder to navigate: it is our separateness - God being God, our being man - that keeps us both in our place and allows Him to dwell in our temples in the first place.
The goal of all holiness, then, as best I can figure, is to embrace being nothing in order to enjoy being one.