Saturday, September 03, 2005

I Am Struggling

After reading my friend's blog (http://whatismymission.blogspot.com) and seeing the honesty she puts behind her posts, and the lack of fear of not holding back, I have felt the need to be a little more like that as well. Oh, don't get me wrong, I have been honest in my posts but I generally direct them as more of a "general" sort of writing. In otherwords, I will direct it as "as Christians, we should/need...." instead of "I am struggling with this myself". So, here is my attempt at my admission to a struggle I have been facing lately.

I am struggling with feeling close to God. Oh I know that He is always with me, that He never leaves me. I know that when there is a lack of closeness it is on my part. I have not been reading my Bible the way I should (I read it but don't meditate/think on it), my prayer life has been lacking (in my opinion) and I have not been the servant that the Lord wants me to be. It feels more of a head knowledge rather than a heart knowledge...if that makes sense.

Bible reading: I read my Bible, though there are days that go by when I don't. Sometimes it can be many days that I don't get into it, and other times it is only a day or two where I don't pick it up. Now, I am told in the Bible that I should be meditating on scripture. My understanding of this is that rather than just read and put the Bible aside and not think about what I have read, I need to mull it over in my mind. I need to think about the words and what they mean. I need to examine the text to see how that can apply to my life, my situations. And this is where I am failing lately. Now, there are times that I do this but that is usually when it is something that really stands out to me. As of late however, I seem to just be reading and not applying what I have read (or even just thinking it over).


Prayer: Yes, I do pray. I have been praying so much for little Rebekah (http://rebekahspage.blogspot.com) as well as when I see another prayer request in a blog I will pray for that. I am part of a prayer chain at my church and when the requests come in I pray for those. I will also pray for other people/things/needs, etc. However, my problem with prayer seems to be in that it all seems to me as though it is coming from the head and not the heart (though rest assured that special requests such as Rebekah's ARE from the heart!). What I mean, is that often times I feel as though I am saying the same words over and over and they have lost any meaning.

When I pray, I like to give praise, give thanks, ask forgiveness, pray for others and pray for myself. Some days it seems as though I do more praying for myself than others. While I know this is ok because I am allowed to pray for myself, I feel as though I am being a little too selfish in this respect. My praise to/for God seems to be the same words echoed over each time (God You are awesome and wonderful, mighty and magnificent...), and while I do mean them, it seems as though there are other things or ways I should be doing to praise Him. Same thing with thanks. There is so much to be thankful for but I seem to thank Him for the same things...other things will escape my mind as I think what I am thankful about (unless something happens that day that I can be thankful about).

I also seem to do more talking in this area than listening. Part of a conversation (with God or anyone) is to talk AND listen. I mean, when I talk to someone on the phone I don't spew out all my news and stuff and then say goodbye and hang up without letting them speak...so why do I do that with God? If I want to hear Him speak to me, I need to be quiet and listen. I try, I really do...but I don't think I am hearing Him.

Servanthood: Jesus tells me in His word that I need to become like a servant, become humble. He did this, and I am to imitate Him. It's a hard thing to do. I try. I attempt, and I can succeed...but often times I shy away from it for some reason. It's not just in the area of me doing for others, but it's also in allowing others to do for me. But, I need to focus on being a servant to others. I know these sorts of things is not what earns me eternal life. But out of obedience to Him, I should be wanting to do these things, for Him (not for me).

I guess it comes down to obedience. I had felt very close to God at one time, about three or four years ago, for a period of time. Then, I went through a great period of depression or something where I couldn't even find it in me to pray. God and I have talked about this many times. It has been since this episode about 2-3 years ago that I have been finding the struggle great in obtaining that closeness I once had. It's hard, and I know that no one said it would be easy. I have moments when I feel close to Him, though.

Maybe I am experiencing a satanic attack, a spiritual battle or maybe God is trying to break me and humble me and mold me into what He wants me to be right now. There have been a couple of things that have been on my mind that I am seeking what He wants of me in these situations and I just don't know what He wants. I just can't seem to hear Him, I just don't know what I need to be doing for these situations (if I should be doing anything at all). It's hard, and one of my "fears" (I guess you could call it), is that I am going to backslide...which is something I do NOT want to happen. I have spent time away from God and it was hell, literally. I don't want to go there again. That is why I need to do something about it.

I know that I am not perfect and will never be in this lifetime...but that shouldn't stop me from wanting to be obedient in what He says I need to be obedient in. As I said, this is something I am struggling through lately. I just long for the closeness I once had, and to be even closer. My desire is to be a godly woman, strong in the faith, willing to be obedient to the Lord, etc
. I fear that I fall greatly away from this...I just feel as though I am failing at what I attempt.

14 comments:

Nettie said...

Wow, I am amazed by your honesty. Really.

Jess411 said...

Wow Shelley..you definitely have my prayers.

Be blessed,

Jess

Jot said...

Shelley... I can surely relate to the struggles you speak of, as the evil one constantly attacks those who seek to follow Christ with all their heart, soul and mind.
I agree with what you say when you speak of not just 'reading' the Bible, but letting it sink in and become part of living. (In James 1:22, it teaches not to be a hearer of the Word, but a doer of the Word.)
I can also relate to what you write about prayer. There are days that I feel my prayers don't make it past the ceiling, and it does bother me. We're taught to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17), as God does indeed hear every word we speak and knows every thought that flashes through our mind. (Psalm 139:2) The wonderful thing about God is that His Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we don't exactly know what to say. (Romans 8:26)
Obedience and humility are the things God is working with/on me strongest of late - as, after reading my blog, you probably know. Pride is hard for me to recognize, and harder to swallow - but I can tell you from experience, humility brings much blessing! You're right when you say that none of us will be perfect in this lifetime. That's a fact. But believe me, God won't let us fail in our attempts to be obedient. He won't make it easy all the time, but He'll never leave us without Him. (Hebrews 13:5) Satan, however, will surely make us doubt that fact. Like we're taught in Ephesians 6:12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Don't fear, my new friend - we're all struggling in this fallen world. Just remember, we're not struggling alone!

Peace, love and blessings...

not1jot

"If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
- Frederick Douglass

Joe said...

The Apostle Paul wrote, "The things I should do, I don't and the things I should not do, I do. Wretched man that I am."

Our struggles are common to us all.

Take heart! Jesus has overcome our wretchedness!

Please pray for my mother.

She has been taken to the hospital by ambulance with suspected acute pneumonia.

What's my Mission said...

Hey Shelley:

Because your heart is so grieved by the separation you feel from God, I wonder if you are as far away as you think. I praise Jesus that you feel the separation and every part of you wants to bridge the gap. I think that has got to be the first step. You are in my prayers and don't forget I am always a phone call away if you ever want to talk... Love you girl!

Suzii said...

Shelley,

The part of what you said about...

"It feels more of a head knowledge rather than a heart knowledge...if that makes sense."

That is what stood out to me most. I feel completely opposite of you. I have found myself in sobbing tears wishing I had more "head knowledge" than I do. I feel my walk with Jesus is all heart knowledge. Maybe if you could tell me how to get more "head knowledge... I could be able to help you out with the "heart knowledge". Maybe we should knock our heads together?? LOL... but seriously, I know what you are feeling, only in opposite form.

I, at times, feel desperate to know things in my brain. I want it so that I can back up what my heart feels. I can read my bible and apply it to my own life and situation... but I cannot seem to grasp the concepts of the era that it was written in. Does THAT make sense? I am not "book learned" about God things. I feel as though I am a child when it comes to how I love God. I don't come to Him in prayer with structure... I just talk to Him like He was my best friend sitting beside me on a park bench. I have always been this way.

Joe @ http://scogginsnoggin.blogspot.com once commented on my blog asking me if I had ever thought of being a "theologian"... ((I had to go and look up what that meant!))

Shelley, Just know that if you ask anything, In Jesus name, and BELIEVE it in your heart... then you shall have what you asked for. Just ask Jesus to open your heart like that of a child. A child has a pureness, an innocence, and is truly loving and completely trusting in their hearts. You will be in my prayers my friend.

Suzii said...

"I fear that I fall greatly away from this...I just feel as though I am failing at what I attempt."

Jesus, I ask you to take the fear out of Shelley's heart. Let her know that she is not a failure to you. Open her heart up like that of a child. Bring a peace to her soul. She is not a failure! That is a lie of Satan. There is no fear where you are. I also ask, please help her to know you in a more personal way. Bring to her your friendship. Open her heart's ears so that she may hear from you. Your words are so comforting... let her feel that comfort in her daily life. Let your words be meant "just for her"... as you do for me. Just love on her a while Jesus! In Your mighty name... Amen!

meljkerr said...

I don't know anyone that doesn't feel the way you feel at some point in their Christian life.

I think it is almost easy finding the holes in our walk with God. The real victory is repairing them. What you have writtn on your blog, you just need to say that all to God in prayer and ask him for creative ways to put things right.

Any changes that need to be made to your life need to be Holy Spirit inspired.

God has his own specific blue print for our lives and knows exactly what needs doing and when. Ask him to direct your paths - towards the one thing that is needful right now - and focus on that one thing, otherwise you will just end up chasing your spiritual tail!

Paula said...

I don't think you're as far from God as you believe. I was feeling so detached from everything this weekend and realized it was an attack by Satan. Just keep on, keeping on. I'm praying and thinking of you. Thanks for the compliment on my new design.

Shelley said...

Thank you all for your encouragement and your prayers. I am feeling much better since I wrote this post. I am thinking, as Paula has also said, that this was some sort of spiritual attack. God bless you all!

Sparrow said...

Shelley, I agree with what the others have said--these are struggles we each face in our Christian walk. For me it is the Bible study time that is the hardest right now. Everyday I waking up thinking "I want to make sure to set aside some time to read my Bible today" and go to bed thinking, "Oh, I didn't read my Bible, but it is too late at night now, I'll be sure to do it tomorrow."

I've been thinking of starting an on-line Bible study. Maybe that would be a help to many of us.

I have had times in the past when I would spend time each day reading my Bible and then sitting on my bed crocheting as I just talked with God. I remember feeling so close to Him, and I want that now, yet I don't take the time to do it. "The things that I want to do, I don't do. And the things I don't want to do, I do."

I'll pray for you, will you pray for me, too? :-)

Amy

Katie said...

Shelley - I've been there friend and it is the hardest place to be. There are those moments when we know we are in direct opposition to God and we hurt from it but we are also so filled with self that we can ignore the hurt, and then there are those moments when we feel so close to God it's almost like we are there in His presence. The tough times, which unfortunately is most of the time, is found somewhere in between those two extremes.

It's in that time when we question, when we doubt, when we fear, when we think about just giving up. I also think it's in that time when we are most teachable and when God is going to do the most in our lives. Sure anyone can praise God for bringing them out of the pits of sin but how about when He just pulls you a little bit closer to Him, shows you some nugget of truth in His word, or blesses your heart with a short time of authentic prayer. Those are miracles too, my friend, those are moments that He rejoices that His child is obedient, those are moments when we are closer to Him. Life is made up of moments so don't discount them, no matter how small or insignificant they are.

Know that you are not alone. None of us have "arrived" this side of heaven and we all struggle with the day in day out living of the Christian life. That is what makes us dependant on Him, that is what makes us listen for His voice, desire His embrace, and hunger for just one more moment in His presence.

I went through a point in my life where I felt that God has left me behind (or better, I had fallen behind). I remember the emptiness I felt in knowing that I was so far away from my Lord. In one moment of grief I called out to Him and pleaded that He not leave me in that place, and to my mind came the most blessed words. "I love you my child, and I will never leave you." It was in that moment that I knew beyond anything my emotions or my mind could tell me, that my Father, my Lord, my Saviour, my Love loved me and no matter what I felt or I did (or even what I didn't do), I was never far from His embrace.

Thanks for your honesty and openess.

BHGA said...

Thanks for leaving the comment on my blog. I understand all you wrote as I have much turmoil in my life right now....this past month has been one of agony for me, so I know I need to get closer to HIM....I shall keep you in my thoughts and prayers also.

Blessings,
Donna

Hezel said...

I agree with what all the others wrote. You know, I've been a Catholic all my life but I felt I need something more...I have been searching...I have been reading the Bible...and I have noticed God has put Christian people and friends, in my way to help me know the truth...I really like your blog. I'll try to check out the other blogs you recommend...Can I put yours on my Links? ...can we be friends?