Feeling Like I’m Failing

I don’t feel like my morning quiet times with the Father are working out like they are supposed to. I’m not really sure how I think they are supposed to be but somehow what I’m experiencing doesn’t feel like “it”.  I’m doing the 40 Day Prayer Challenge from the Draw The Circle devotional. I am consistently reading through it but most days I feel convicted because my faith doesn’t feel big enough for the things he is telling us we need to be doing/thinking/believing/feeling. Mostly I feel like I’m not really “there” yet. I’m showing up every morning but some days, to be honest, I’m so tired, it’s all I can do not to fall back asleep (I don’t care how early you go to bed, 4:30am comes way too quickly). And then other days, like this morning, I feel like something’s missing. I want to hear God’s voice but all I hear is the traffic outside my window, or the wanderings of my mind from one topic to other, or the random song running through my head (usually one or the other of Adele’s songs which is completely random since I don’t even own her album). It’s frustrating! I want this time to be meaningful and all I get is the consistent feeling that I’m missing something or doing something wrong. I bought Jesus Culture’s latest CD for this prayer challenge but every time I try to play the CD, it just doesn’t feel right. It feels forced, like I’m trying to create a particular type of environment so God can show up.

“…religion will always feel bad when we define our relationship with a supreme God by simply trying to perform spiritual things really well.”

I read those words by Lisa Whittle in her book {W}hole and I realized this might be my problem. I’m trying to connect with God using tactics and tricks that have worked in the past; trying to recreate something, using some sort of “magic” formula: slow melody worship music – check; quiet atmosphere – check; praying in the spirit – check; journal and pen at the ready for when that inspirational thought lands in my spirit – check; straining to “listen” for said inspirational thought – check. I’m doing all the “right things” yet not getting the results that I want and maybe that’s what’s really failing here.

Maybe, just maybe, the formula is the problem. What if I stopped thinking I had to follow some script for God to be present and instead realized that He is ALREADY present everywhere at all times? (I’m convinced most of the time He’s just waiting for us to acknowledge He is there, instead of trying to “get Him to show up”) What if instead of forcing a connection, I simply ask the Father how He would like for us to connect? What if, instead of Him dropping some profound revelation into my spirit man, He just wants me to share my heart with Him? My heart that I’ve kept under lock and key, tucked away even from Him. What if, even though He already knows, He just wants to hear me say what’s going on with me? Like a friend, sharing with another friend, maybe the Father just wants time with me. Time that isn’t shaped by some prescribed set of rules, but rather is shaped by the uniqueness of my relationship with Him.

My relationship with God changed last year and oddly enough I’m okay with the change because it feels more real now, more transparent. It’s fragile and feels tender but it also feels deeper, stronger even. Like the tree that held up against the storm, my relationship with the Father held up against the blows it took last year and perhaps we are the better for it. Better and different. And since our relationship is different now, perhaps the way we connect has also changed. Maybe it’s enough that I show up every morning, ready to be with Him whatever that looks like for that day. No formula, no script, just an open heart ready to share. And maybe in the showing up, I’ll discover rich, new ways of engaging with the One who is still wooing my heart to His.

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