Uncensored Prayer #2
So, wow. It’s been a really long time since I last talked to you. (Like a real conversation, not just spontaneous Oh God thank you so much for this gorgeous baby.) I’m pretty sure that if anyone at my church knew how long it’s been, they would question whether I’m even a Christian. And they would say that that explains why I haven’t been to church in forever. And that last time I read my Bible? I don’t want to think about it, or I might start questioning whether I’m even a Christian.
The trouble is, God, it seems like you talk to other Christians way more than you talk to me. This was the case even when I talked to you every day.
The other day our pastor asked a group of us to share what you’ve been telling us lately. When no one answered, he wrote us off as being too shy, and told us we ought to be more open about these things. He didn’t imagine for a second that we hadn’t shared anything because there was nothing to share. What God has been telling us lately? Does God speak to individuals more than once or twice a decade?
I do feel like you’ve spoken to me a couple of times in my life. I can think of at least three distinct occasions. Twice in university, and once in my married life.
I once told some of my university friends that I was pretty sure you’d spoken to me a couple of times before, and they were in awe. The Creator of the Universe spoke to you? They seemed to think I was incredibly privileged, like Julian of Norwich, whom we studied in Medieval Literature.
But according to my Evangelical friends, I should be hearing you at least on a weekly basis. If I’m not, I must be doing something wrong.
So which is it? Am I not a real Christian if I haven’t heard from you in over a year? Or if I haven’t read the Bible or been to church in who knows how long? Are those the things that make a person a Christian?
The thing is, I still believe you are all the things the Bible says you are. I believe Jesus is the only hope for our ruined world. I believe that you’re there, that you like me, that you love everyone, and that you want all of us to care for each other. I try to live out your wishes by remaining faithful to my husband, caring for my daughter, recycling, donating money to the poor, being friendly and patient with the other people in line at the grocery store, growing vegetables, eating organic, buying fair-trade or second-hand, reading books written by your followers, and offering to babysit our friends’ kids for free. And I do all these things because I believe this is your world and you love everything in it and you want us to treat them well. Are those the kinds of things you’re looking for?
They feel right to me, but all my life I’ve been told that it’s all about prayer, Bible-reading, and church attendance. I should be having all these spiritual feelings, singing these certain songs, and exchanging all these words with you.
Honestly, God, writing it all out, I’m feeling less and less guilty for my lack of Evangelical-y behavior and more and more okay with what I’ve been doing. I hope you agree, since it’s your will that really matters in all this. But how do I know you approve? Will you let me know via guilty conscience, or do I need to sit in a quiet place every day and just listen for an answer?
I guess if I think about it, Jesus often went off to be alone and listen to you in a quiet place, so I should probably do the same. And I might be able to find answers in the Scriptures if I read them more often.
Wait a second. Just now, when I said that “writing it all out, I’m feeling less and less guilty…” was that an instance of you communicating with me? I took some time out of my day to quietly reflect, and by the end of it I felt peace about the way I’ve been living my life. Was that you? Or just me?
That’s the frustrating thing about talking to you, God: I’m never sure if it’s you talking back, or just my imagination.
I guess I’ll never know for sure, and that’s where faith comes in, et cetera, et cetera. I guess I’ll trust that that was a God moment.
I guess I should do this more often. Thanks for having Justin ask me to do this. It’s kinda cool how you work sometimes.