Dangerous Drifting

Recently I’ve been feeling somewhat flat. I’ve been waking up with a vague sense of discontent, surreptitiously feeding it and then feeling sorry for myself and wondering why it’s still hanging around. I have, my friends, been coasting.  Treading the water of life and persuading myself I’ll be floating in the same place a few weeks later.

Except that it doesn’t work quite like that.  When it comes to my relationship with Jesus, (perhaps as with all relationships), I’m either growing to love him more or I’m moving away from Him.  There’s no neutral: partly because we don’t live in a neutral environment, but also because my heart acts like an idol-seeking missile. Left to its own devices it quickly abandons the living water for diet coke instead.

The warning signs probably look different for all of us.  Here’s a few of mine;

I see my time with God as a box that needs checking, a chore that I can tick off with the minimum possible effort.  This is partly because I’m not working on any big projects at the moment:before Christmas, when I was working to a book deadline, I was painfully aware of my need for God’s inspiration and grace. But my heart’s exactly the same today as it was in December.  I’m writing now. Yet somehow I figure I can manage this post and this day on my own.  Er, no…

I start looking to other  avenues to bolster my sense that things are not right. My heart’s made to worship.  If it’s not worshipping Jesus it’s going somewhere else. Warning lights include:

…pottering around shops for an item of clothing I don’t need.

….stockpiling groceries, (I do this when stressed and feeling the need to look after myself)

…becoming more obsessive about cleaning or daily rituals: Just this morning I informed Glen that my ‘love language’ was hoovering and hanging up clothes.  I was trying to ask him to hang up his coat nicely but ended up foaming and gesticulating like a gibbering idiot.  Similarly, if  my favourite chair isn’t free in a coffee shop I feel genuinely outraged.

…pimping my exterior: e.g; costing hair and eyelash extensions.  Worrying about my (revolting) toes. Seeking extra reassurance about the quality of my cooking.  My conversation.  My sense of humour.  Am I funny?  How funny?  Did you like the sandwich I made you?  HOW MUCH?

…comparing myself and my life to that of other people.  Not just any people: the top .000000001% of the (Western) population. Celebs who feature in the pages of Grazia or Vogue.  Who’ve got all the things I deserve.

Underneath these things is a sense of entitlement allied to a desperate desire to be okay. I’m owed a better deal: those new trousers, that latte, more time with my husband…whatever it is that I want.    Why am I owed this?  Because I’m better and worse than other people.  My chest isn’t big enough.  My stomach hurts.  I didn’t get enough sleep.  I haven’t got a baby.  I dropped my new phone. I’m going to die one day.

And as I feed myself these lies, Jesus becomes smaller, less attractive and well…kind of irrelevant.  I still send up the odd prayer, but He doesn’t seem to be replying.  At least, not in the way that I want.  Not in the way I deserve.

Image: KelliAnne

8 thoughts on “Dangerous Drifting

  1. Yeah, what was I doing only half an hour ago? Googling ‘Hair Extensions’.
    I don’t deserve anything God’s promised but I’m logging off NOW and going to thank Him for it all.
    Thanks, Emma :)

  2. Yes. Very powerful truth. Thanks Emma. My greatest enemy is always the lies that I tell myself rather than teaching myself the truth that is in Jesus. We’ve been feeling tired and not-quite-up-to-speed for 2012… so perhaps we need the gym or a weekend away or hire some cleaners to do the place over… or something like that. Yet, this morning we sat down as a family and read the Scriptures and prayed together… Things look different and fell different when we listen to His truth, when we put on His mind. Sure, there are no spiritual fireworks for us and we still need to go to the gym, but not because it’s the answer to everything… just so we can lose a bit of weight and get a bit fitter… just that and nothing more.

  3. I also stock pile groceries when I’m on a downer… and become obsessed with organizing everything: classifying my books and papers and files… even clothes and toiletries! Yet, as you say, these things become an idol, a Baal, that gives me tiny bits if pseudo-comfort to guide me away from the real comfort and rest of Jesus.

  4. Birdbrain and Sarah – thanks for the reminder that I’m not on my own. Let’s keep praying for each other..

  5. Hi Paul – great to hear from you. Love how you put it ‘just that and nothing more’. This helps to shrink both the fears and the idols. Or rather, Jesus does, when I see Him for who He is, instead of caricaturing or running from him. Step away from the filing cabinets..

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