Archive | 4:00 pm

Craving fellowship

24 Jan

I am amazed at God right now, at the way He validates what I’ve been learning about Him and life through experiences.

I’ve been enjoying my new days of freedom after discovering why I can trust God to run my life. But Satan is a sneaky little devil. He never gives up. Instead of conceding defeat, he will use other circumstances and get me to do the exact same thing as before: take responsibility.

Once I felt freedom from the guilt of needing to do more and to make my life look like I thought it should in the big picture, I started having a battle with the everyday things. Specifically watching TV. Again, it started with a good desire. I had been convicted that TV watching, with a few exceptions like Bones and The Office, is a huge waste of time. The majority of the time, I watch TV not because it’s exactly the thing I want to do and it makes me feel good but because I am tired and don’t want to think. I just want to veg out. And as I turn off the TV when it’s time to go to bed or out somewhere, I almost always think, “Well, that was a waste of time.”

So I desired to cut back on the TV watching and to find other activities that are as soothing and relaxing as TV, but more productive. That way I would still get to relax but with things that would add to my character instead of detract from it. But Satan took that good desire and distorted it. I could no longer watch TV at all, even my favorite shows, without feeling guilty. It was wasting precious time! I could be doing so much more – like writing that book I’ve been dreaming about or accomplishing tasks on my to-do list. Once again, my freedom to do whatever my heart desired evaded me. I felt trapped, pinned down by invisible forces.

I knew I was missing some truth. What was I not believing?

The more I thought about it, I realized that my struggle wasn’t really about watching TV. I was bored. And lonely. I was sick of finding stuff to do on my own – I wanted to spend time with someone else. Maybe that was why TV appealed to me – it was an impersonal form of human contact. I didn’t feel alone with the TV on.

Lucky for me, I had a bridal shower to go to last night, where there would be lots of Christian women to fellowship with. Even though I expected that I wouldn’t know most of them, I was excited. I usually leave events like that feeling energized and reinvigorated. And that’s exactly what happened. I met some great women, was very encouraged by 2 of them, and left the shower feeling so loved and blessed by God.

As I drove home, I connected the dots of things God has been revealing to me over the past several weeks. I love people – the time in my life that I’ve been the happiest and most fulfilled was as a part of Campus Outreach in college. I felt like I belonged there, I had some amazing friends, and I was around people all the time. I’ve always thought of myself as a loner, as a person who prefers solitude to being around others. Now I see that I love being around others, but I need solitude to recharge. And at this stage in my life, I have so much solitude that I am overly charged and need to seek out places where I can deplete my stores.

Whereas a year ago, I would have praised the value of fellowship and said that I wanted to be more intentional about spending time with friends, it would have felt like another thing on a to-do list. When I thought about how much I failed at spending time with others, I felt condemned and guilty. I didn’t feel inspired to change. But now, I see my own need for fellowship, my own heart craving for it, and it is something I want to do – need to do. So far, I have asked 2 friends to hang out (one of whom I had lunch with today!) and I have plans for more. I am so blessed!

The best part about it is that this has been the desire of my heart for the past 2 years and now that I’ve finally surrendered my dreams for my life to God, He is doing in me that which I had so long tried to do, but failed at. A. W. Tozer says it worlds better than I can:

“The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ, the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do.”

This is the blessed truth of the gospel – that we can rest from all attempts to prove our worth, to earn our salvation, to redeem our lives. We can rest in Christ’s sufficiency because of His sacrifice on the cross. Like the song says, “I am changed in the presence of a holy God.”