If you've ever met me you already know I'm paper thin. I wear my emotions on my sleeves, discord hurts me deeply, and it doesn't take much to emotionally drain me. My physical body is pretty weak, so when the emotional energy is gone the physical follows.
For the last seven weeks - since we found out about Mabee's physical problems - I've been a shell of myself. Emotionally exhausted, I've become a hermit and have let the guise of rest become my passport to self pity. Rest does nothing but perpetuate the problem, because my struggle isn't physical it's mental and emotional.
After three hours of television tonight I finally decided to start moving. I thought about going running (another way to ignore the real problems I'm dealing with), but it was too cold outside so I went to the book store in search of good reading. I wanted something along the lines of, "Lost in the Dark: Finding God When You are Literally Laying Around the House Lost in the Dark", or "When God Comes to Find You Because You Are Depressed and Won't Try Hard Enough".
As you can probably tell by the book titles I was looking for, but never did find, I've been convicted recently of my impish efforts towards a real relationship with the Living God. Preparing for what is to come, could possibly come, or what could be taken away from us has forced me to take a rigid inventory on my faith and the way I look at God. I'm not surprised by what I've found.
Until 7 weeks ago, through 27 years of life my faith had never been tested with doubt, and I've never REALLY turned over control of my life to Him. I believe in Him, but that's not enough. I talk to him throughout the day, but I think it's hard for Him to hear half-hearted prayers from a man who rarely falls to his knees to experience true communication. I need to offer more. Not for any benefit that could come to me, but because I'm grateful for the grace and mercy of a glorious God who loves me.
When anxiety and stress overcome me I nearly always use the same outlet. Knowledge. I LOVE to learn about new things, and it's nearly a perfectly guilt-free distraction, but it's still an avoidance from real issues. Tonight at the bookstore I came across "The Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis. Reading through the first few pages convicted me almost immediately with quotes like:
"Esoteric words neither make us holy nor righteous; only a virtuous life makes us beloved of God. I would rather experience repentance in my soul than know how to define it," and "If you are looking for knowledge and a learning that is useful to you, then love to be unknown and be esteemed as nothing."
This took care of my thirst for knowledge that was keeping me from addressing real issues, but it was the opening passage of the book that really grasped me.
""Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness," says the Lord. These are Christ's own words by which He exhorts us to imitate His life and His ways, if we truly desire to be enlightened and free of all blindness of heart. Let it then be our main concern to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ."
And there it was. I wanted a book for when I was "Lost in the Dark" or one that counseled me on "Letting God Find Me", but Kempis had the answer in the opening verse of his book. Whoever follows me.... I knew what I was lacking, and I've always known the scripture, I guess I just needed to hear it from a man who has been dead for 540 years. Maybe I should have listened to the man who originally said it, a man I know personally, a man whom death could not hold 2000 years ago.
Pretty powerful stuff. So this is where my journey begins with my main concern being to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ. And it's all thanks to a little girl I haven't met yet. Thank you Mabee for being such a strong conviction and connection to the God who made you just the way you are. You're sharing God's blessings with me already.