God Is Where You Left Him

I hate to admit it, but I read almost no fiction. I am so imbalanced. I read mostly Christian self-help books. I think they’re called Christian Inspirational, maybe. But really, they’re the type of books you read when you want to avoid reading the Bible but still feel like you did something spiritual.

You know the kind. Yea, I’m always reading those. I read them because sometimes I want to reconnect with God, but not right now. I want to read about God, not actually talk to him.

I’m reading one of these books right now, Soul Keeping, by John Ortberg, and I’m growing downright uncomfortable because the book is calling me and my bad habits right out.

The thing is, I want to read about and talk about God instead of talking to him because it’s easier. But it’s a sure sign of disconnection, evidence of a person who used to be friends with God, but now can only tell stories from the past.

Being a friend of God changed after I got married six years ago. Since then, it’s like I forgot how to stay in touch, forgot about all the places I knew I could find him. It was easier when I was single. I woke up in the morning, propped up my pillow in my bed and there it was: Quiet Time.

Apparently they found a photo of me from pre-husband days, diligently practicing my quiet time. Look how good my hair looks when I wake up. [click photo for credit]
In the circles I ran in, Quiet Time was one specific thing: you and God, assuming he showed up, with an open Bible and a journal so you could write down prayers and profound mysteries revealed to you during your 60-120 minute God-meeting. It earned the name Quiet Time because, I think, I was supposed to be quiet so God could talk. That may not have happened as much in my God times, but I assume he knew what he was getting into when he showed up. He did make me, after all.

Anyway, my very narrow definition of this quality time with God proved detrimental when my marital status changed. I was alone a lot less, and definitely not in my bed. So my old habits were right out. The dialogue between God and I grew few and far between, mostly in regards to major life decisions or praying for other people. God and I became the friends who used to be friends. Eventually it feels kind of awkward trying to reconnect.

In Soul Keeping, John Ortberg reminded me that care of the soul is my job only. And what becomes of my soul is really my greatest investment in my life. My soul will either be sturdy, flourishing and strong, generous and intimately acquainted with heaven, or it will be shriveled and bony, obsessed with scarcity and hanging on for dear life.

I want a strong soul, but I wasn’t doing the things strong-souled people do. I’ve been reading about God long enough, I figured. So I went to go find him.

I didn’t really want to go. I didn’t want to walk the overgrown path to find a God with his arms crossed sitting next to my dying, skeleton soul. The reunion didn’t feel too inviting.

It always feels like the walk back to God will take forever, but then I start the journey and it’s like I’m there in seconds. Because God is always where I left him.

I used to meet with God near oceans and lakes, on long drives or trail runs, in new cities, or layovers in airports. I found him when I was writing and when I got quiet and listened. Pretty much anywhere.

lake

So I went to a lake and tried to get quiet. I thought maybe God wouldn’t come, but I always think that. I think he came anyway. Nothing neon or fancy, but we both showed up. And he reminded me he still goes to all the places where we used to hang out. God seems to think I’ve been making it too complicated, and I have. He’s right.

So I made this list of all the places we used to go. Because he is still there. Right where I left him.

journal

Do you need to reconnect with God? Think of the last place, or places, you know you found him and go back there. I bet he will be there. And not only that, you’ll probably find the road back isn’t so long after all.

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4 thoughts on “God Is Where You Left Him

  1. I really like this. It’s convicting and encouraging all the same. I used to go to Tuttle Creek for my quiet time as a single person, so it was cool to see that picture. ha

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    1. Thank you, S’ambrosia. I appreciate that. Tuttle is such a great place to get away. I just love being near the water. 🙂 I will have to post more pictures for your nostalgia.

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