How do I stop finding myself getting away from God?
How do I keep close to God?
Nothing good ever comes from getting caught up in a flurry of activities and thoughts while forgetting to pray and read the Bible. Yet, I do it time and again. It’s almost like breathing. I have to exhale because I have converted the good oxygen into carbon dioxide. But then, I forget to inhale. So, I start to try to gasp for air like a fish out of water or a person under water. And then, there God is, to put me, the fish, back into the water.
One of the most prevalent things that comes forth when I am no longer with God, is the anxiety. Anxiety primarily about the future and how things will turn out, and am I doing everything I need to be doing to prevent something good from escaping me? Shouldn’t I be up attacking a to-do list instead of sitting here writing, and listening for God as I write?
It’s not like I am going off an utter deep end away from God anymore like I used to. I am not waking up months later from a hundred benders and a dozen creditors knocking on my door. It’s more subtle than that, but perhaps in some ways more insidious, because I am fooling myself into thinking that I can put God aside just a tiny bit while I get some important things done.
I always feel better when I realign myself with God. I mean, of course, my own personal relationship with Jesus, and the desire to drink from the deep well of life. I begin to perceive again a kind of renewal, a profound satisfaction colored by something more than mere progress.
There is this increasing understanding of how I can begin to align my will with God’s in such a way where the two are not at odds with each other. God doesn’t want me to be completely miserable doing something I’d rather not do. And, the fact of the matter is, so many of my short-term, instant-gratification choices really aren’t things that have made me happy in any measurable way. How many vacations have I forfeited due to all of the booze and dining out (and all of the interest paid on the credit cards that took the hit for these activities)? It has never really been something I want to think about, but the important thing to understand is that God may not be actively trying to prevent me from living abroad or living in a place like NYC, but I am the one who is doing the preventing.
Beyond this, I may also be coming up with endless declarations of how it is utterly impossible due to this or that obvious reality. There is, of course, a difference between living in a fantasy world all the time and dreaming of something bigger while full of faith that God will bring about a way to make it happen. After all, a year ago I was very skeptical about how this whole seminary thing would actually work. I am still walking around with some disbelief–I am suppressing scenarios of getting down to Austin and discovering that all evidence of being accepted at APTS has been lost, or someone sent them a letter strongly recommending not to admit me, or some other thing comes up that prevents it from happening.
All of that kind of thinking is what inevitably causes me to end up thinking and doing only the ordinary. There is nothing wrong with the ordinary for a little while. The ordinary is an excellent cure for ungrounded fantasies that have no chance of becoming reality. But, the ordinary is the place where the bulk of humanity remains. The ones who achieve greater things, and leave behind lives that are more interesting stories are those who are always seeking something beyond the ordinary.
Can I see presently how I could possibly get from seminary to NYC in five years? Of course not. I don’t even see, with the way our finances will be, how we could even spend two nights there over a weekend. Do I stop belieiving that it could happen? I suppose I could, but I also know that I have pocketed this dream many more times than I can count, and yet it always resurfaces.