God Get Away (Part 2)

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Can you relate to the Southwest Airlines “Wanna Get Away” ad campaign? Ever feel like life just needs to slow down or maybe even come to a screeching halt? It happens to all of us but the question is, what do you do when that emotion comes? Do you fight through like a responsible adult? Or do you run? And if you run, where do you go?

I have varying responses to stress and struggle. Sometimes I fight and sometimes I find myself in flight before I even realize what’s going on. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that I need to intentionally create these rhythms in my life. If I hit the release valve regularly, giving myself time to breathe, I am much stronger when everything goes sideways. When I refill my tank, even when it’s not that empty, I end up having so much more to offer everyone in my life.

So I live in a rhythm of retreat and engagement. Every Monday, I retreat. I escape the office. Drink coffee. Read scripture. Sit. Reflect. Pray. Write. Dream. And invite God to have his way. It’s incredible medicine for my heart.

In addition to this, a couple of times a year, I disappear. I step away from everything. My family. My work. My football obsession. Everything – and I escape to be alone with my God. During this time, I will often spend two or three days without saying a word to anyone. Just me and God at a beautiful ranch.

For the past several months, I’ve been reflecting on what God is doing with me and with the people at Journey. This recently brought me back to a journal entry I made at one of these retreats in May 2010. The entry was entitled, “God Get Away.” In the first part of that entry, God led me to reflect on Jesus’ prayer in John 17. The following is my entry from the following day:

I slowly and methodically read David Platt’s book, “Radical” yesterday. It was an amazing day. Everything that began stirring in my heart during my time with God as I dealt with John 17 ended up resurfacing as I read the book. It was as if God scripted the day for me. His protection and power and fatherhood and partnership with me in the advancement of his kingdom became a consuming reality for me. At one point, late into the night, I hung out with him in prayer. I can’t remember the last time I prayed like that.

I felt known and loved and accepted but also a sense of fear at the potential of being exposed to the presence of God. I’ve never known him like that. I feel like such and infant in front of him. I feel like there is so much about him that I don’t understand. But this doesn’t push me away – it draws me closer. I want more of him.

I have spoken before of a dream or a picture that God has given me about the man he created me to be. I feel him emerging in a way that I never have before. And it is not work! It is simply submission. It is a letting go. It is freedom and peace. I truly don’t know that I have ever felt what I feel now! It doesn’t even feel like a quote/unquote “spiritual high.”

I’m not afraid of coming down off the mountain top or returning to “normal” or losing this experience! I am simply being made new. And I can’t wait for what’s next. This isn’t about my call at Journey or my dreams for ministry. This is all about God. I want him more than I ever have. And what’s crazy is that I expect this longing to increase. I feel like the more I know him, the more I will want to know him and the more I will realize that he is too big to know.

Oh, the consuming greatness of my God! There is no love like this. It is for this I was made.

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Reckless Pursuit: Ch. 9 – You Won’t Believe This

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Can you identify with this? Sitting at a broken desk top, trying to create but feeling as fragmented as the surface you’re working on.

When was the last time you sat down to write but the words just wouldn’t come. You crumple up your paper, clear your head and start again. But this time it’s even worse. You pick up your pen and there’s nothing. No words, no thoughts, no ideas, nothing but frustration. What do you do?

Do you get up and go for a walk? Do you quit for the day, knowing it’s just not going to happen? Do you let it get the best of you. Does the tension begin to rise, starting in your hamstrings and climbing ever so slowly up your back and into your neck?

This is a choice, right? We have the ability to step away, don’t we? Whether we’re frustrated because of writers block or because that home project that was supposed to take twenty minutes has now moved into its third hour – we still have a choice, right? We don’t have to allow it to overcome us, do we?

But what about those times when we don’t have a choice? When life suddenly spins out of control – and not by our doing! What about when our dreams are crushed and there’s absolutely no way to reclaim them? What then?

Where do we go in our hearts? Do we rage? Do we retreat? Do we look to self-medicate? Where do we turn for relief?

And what about God? What do we do with him?

The following is a snapshot excerpt of the upcoming book…

Reckless Pursuit: God’s Story of Relentless Love – Chapter 9: You Won’t Believe This

How difficult it is for the people of God to objectively view the story when we find ourselves in the midst of it. We sit in our lives, surrounded by the love and blessing of the Father, asking, “Where are you? Why don’t you…? You said you would…” We echo the ancient forerunner of our faith, Abram,  and cry out saying, “What good are your blessings when this is where I find myself?” Whether we say the actual words or not, we find ourselves in the position of putting the Father’s love on trial. His character is questioned and for so many of us, he becomes unsafe.

What a tragedy in view of Yahweh’s story! Especially in view of his reckless pursuit of us. Yahweh understands the struggle in our hearts. He understands our hurts, steps into our pain and responds with unbelievable dedication.

Reckless Pursuit is currently being prepared for publishing. It will be made available to the public early this fall. Keep coming back here for more updates and teasers.

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