Ever tell your kid or your friend something really incredibly wise…and later realize you’re not applying that wisdom for yourself?
That’s how I felt this week as I finished up my “Gray Walk” video. I recently bought a new 18 month planner and frankly I’m obsessed with it. I love the inspirational cover.
I love the peppy quotes on the cover tab of each new month.
I adore the little stickers it came with.But I’m also alarmingly addicted to the rapidly growing to-do items I’m filling that planner with. Whether I’m taking the kids to the dentist or sending out important emails, I’m finding a bit too much satisfaction in checking off my boxes and making things happen.
I went on vacation last week and actually struggled with my unplanned self in a major way. Not a pretty fight. I’d rather run than walk, (in a purely metaphorical way, thank you very much), because running gets you there faster.
The point is I’m not terribly good at resting, especially with God. I so want to live a meaningful life, driven by Him and His kingdom, that I often forget the greatest things I do in life aren’t measured by numbers, checks or tasks.
My most glorious moments are when God is producing something in me, in His presence, in His time. And that requires a lot less of me and a great deal more of Him. It’s what He’s doing in me as I wait, as He walks with me, as He weaves a story through His presence in my life. He’s interested in shaping my heart before my planner- which might require me to lay that planner aside every now and then and just be. Just find out who He is. Just let Him speak His beautiful words and be silent for a minute in awe before Him.
So when you watch this video of me going on and on about walking with God…know that He is currently throwing me a life-raft out in the deep end of my own business and fruitless productivity. (There’s one to mull over.) So I hope it inspires, but if you’re feeling like you’re having a hard time slowing down with God to rest…you can come over and we’ll practice together.
Perhaps you’ve never talked to God and expected Him to interact with you. No matter where you are in your walk, I challenge you to try spending time with God in a new way this week. We will all experience God in different ways and atmospheres based on our personality, so begin to notice the things and places that you love, because those are the areas where you may be most likely to connect with God. Even if this feels strange, try at least one of the following this week:
Try to be more interactive with God during your Bible reading. Before you begin reading, take some time to pray that God will show you a passage or verse. You might want to keep a phone or computer near so you can look up verses if a word or phrase pops into your mind: biblegateway.com is a fantastic online resource that lets you search for key words/topics in whatever Bible version you prefer to use. Even if you don’t feel that God is impressing you with anything specific (which is OK!), ask Him to speak to you personally as you read any passage in the Bible. If you need a place to start, you might try one of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) which tell about the life of Jesus. If anything sticks out to you, write it down or pray about it.
Sometimes being aware that God is interacting with us personally simply begins with expecting Him to. Act on a nudge to give to someone, call someone, go somewhere, or do something God might be directing you to do, even if it feels silly. Don’t overthink. You may even find that God works through something that felt like a “coincidence” because God is always at work behind the scenes. Write about what happened when you took your baby step of faith this week.
Spend several minutes listening to worship music or sitting outside alone, etc. (You can use online worship from Pandora or make a playlist on Spotify if you don’t own worship music.) Focus more on listening to God and being with Him and His presence than in talking to Him. Maybe try kneeling, lifting your hands, or even dancing if you feel like it. Experimenting with our posture and the different ways we can worship helps us to step outside of a plastic relationship and routine. It might feel strange and that’s OK. Reflect on how God may meet you, speak to you, or lead you to worship.
Do something that you love- playing music, going for a walk, working out at the gym, painting or creating through art, writing, dancing, hiking, ________ (insert your own). As you do, consider that God is with you in this activity, and that He enjoys this about you because He made you to enjoy it. Reflect on how it feels to know that you can meet God anywhere- even in things that don’t feel “spiritual”.
Chapter 7 Study Questions:
1. How has “should” controlled your life or kept you from enjoying your journey? What would you let go of or do differently today if you weren’t so concerned about what you “should” do?
2. A friend once told me that God is like a good parent. As parents we don’t expect our kids to ask us about every little decision they make; we enjoy watching them create and make decisions on their own and be themselves. Does this change the way you view your relationship with God?
3. Share a time when God met you in the details of your life.
4. “I don’t know why I fight for control so much, when the end of my control is so often where I encounter the living God.” Can you relate to this statement? Explain.
5. How do we trust in God “in the middle”: after the promise but before the miracle; after the prayer but before the answer?
6. Read Psalm 139. How does this passage give you understanding of God’s view of you and the details of your life?
7. Does following God feel routine to you or has it felt like a bit of an experiment? When do you feel most alive in your interactions with God?
8. How can we learn to embrace our possible “mistakes” in our attempts to seek God? Discuss the importance of having godly friends (who don’t all think just like we do!) to challenge us along the way and keep us balanced.
If you’re enjoying the online Gray Faith study, feel free to comment or pass this along to anyone who might enjoy it. Thanks so much for being part of the gray discussion. 🙂