you don’t know what you don’t know until you do.
hindsight is always 20/20.
while these quotes are cliché, they are still true. i look back on my life and i wonder HOW IN THE WORLD DID I EVER MAKE IT?! and not because it was so terrible that i shouldn’t have made it. there was definitely a lot of pain. i don’t actually remember a lot of my childhood and probably because it was traumatic in some senses. but when i look at how i live life now, i can’t imagine ever going back to living it any other way.
one of my favorite people to listen to is Kris Vallotton. God is often highlighting something to me as he talks. one time i was listening to him talk about living a prophetic lifestyle, not simply living in the prophetic. he explained that living a prophetic lifestyle is all about what God is saying…not merely what He once said.
then he used the example of Abraham, so of course God got my attention. he went on to say that if Abraham had been merely paying attention to what God said, he would have killed Issac. but because he was listening to what God was saying, he stopped before he completed the sacrifice.
i began to really pay attention. just because God said to do something different than He previously said, doesn’t mean i heard Him wrongly or that i misinterpreted what He did say. He is merely saying something new.
and that is i think part of the importance of doing life with God, not simply for Him. if i am doing life for Him, i am really only concerned about what He said and finishing the task or whatever the “thing” is. BUT if i am doing life with God, then it is a constant conversation. then i am really engaging with what He is currently saying.
i say all that to say, i look back on my life before knowing that i get to talk to the King of Kings because i am His and He is so so so good, and wonder how in the world i ever made it.
how do people do it without Him? how do they do it without the peace that goes beyond comprehension? how do they live without a constant and perpetual source of perfect joy in the midst of pain and suffering? how do they handle loss or betrayal?
i know i sure didn’t do it well. i had my own coping methods which then took me years of wrestling through to find some semblance of up. THANK GOD that isn’t where i still am. not of my own doing, that’s for sure! what an honor to walk with Him day to day, minute to minute.
this past year in my spiritual direction class we went through the Ignatius Method. a series of meditations on prayers and scriptures and ancient christian ideas. one of them was “spiritual freedom”. essentially it is the ability to respond to God in any way that God might desire and ask of us.
that could look like a million things and some perhaps even opposite what we think He would want.
at first, i balked against this idea of indifference. He is a passionate God, how could He be so delighted in indifference? but the more i studied and listened, it wasn’t indifference in the way of “i don’t care.” the indifference being described is one of i would be happy to be rich or poor, in pain or pleasure, in power or service, etc simply because God is there.
what if God asked you to go into debt…would you?
what if He told you that what you really wanted, wasn’t what He was doing…would you still do it?
would you choose poverty because He was there? would you choose wealth because He was there?
this idea of being spiritually free is a game changer indeed. it allows me to exist in a daily communion with Him and be where He is even if it isn’t where i would have chosen. and as i look through my life, i see it is those places that i don’t want to be but He is there, that He is doing a great work in me. whether we like it or not, the truth is that we grow more from pain and discomfort than we ever do from beauty and delight.
Graham Cooke once said that “God is the author of our pain.” oddly enough it brought great comfort. it was comforting to know that He sees me, and i trust Him and His intentions for me, so there must be something here, in the place i long to escape, that will leave me better than i was when i went in.
but all of this comes out of a place of day to day with Him. not a 15 min quite time in the am then off to work and forget Him. it is the constant conversation with Him that changes things.
what has your experience been?