Life is a journey that is to be lived one day at a time. When I started the journey of developing my Christian meditation ministry, it was created out of pain and emptiness. Pain over an ending relationship and the emptiness of attending church week after week and feeling hopeless and depressed. Something was missing from my life. Through separating myself and learning how to be still before the Lord, I found out that what I was missing most was an interactive and intimate relationship with God.
Of course I had a relationship with God prior to all this, but it really was more intellectual than it was experiential. It was during this time that I began to rebel against the church. I felt pastors weren’t teaching us what we really needed. I was tired of the cookie-cutter sermons each week that led us to believe, if we just do this, we will be righteous before God. For me, if I even remembered what the minister said after I walked out of the church doors, how do I put it into practice?
It was as though many were teaching transformation from the outside-in, but does that really work? Doesn’t true and lasting transformation begin from within, from the inside-out? Yes we know we should be …, but just knowing isn’t enough. If we can deem anything from scripture, living a victorious Christian life is about God living through us and not trying to live for God in our own strength. We’re making it too much about us and not enough about God. God says, we are the vessels and he is the clay. Our only requirement, in essence, is to be willing to be molded. And that requires learning to be still, to listen, to contemplate, and to surrender.
If I wanted to emphasize one thing about life in general, it is that we cannot define our whole life by one single moment or time frame. Life is like one long rope climb, up one long mountain. Right now we may be at the halfway point but there is still a lot of climbing ahead that includes a lot of uncertainty. As we continue to climb, we face many different types of terrain. At some points we’re hanging on for dear life, at other times we resting or relaxing on a comfortable ledge and at other times, we are taking in the beauty and the awesomeness of the surroundings. If we try to stay at one point for too long, a big avalanche may come storming down the mountain making us lose our grip and we start climbing again. It is erroneous to believe we can camp out in the same place forever. The climb must go on.
But for many of us, we need to stop climbing. We have made life one endless activity. We haven’t learned how to be still, to wait, or to listen. Because of this, we are taking our cues from the world or our circumstances and not from the internal leading of the Holy Spirit. This is probably the most difficult part of the climb. The times when God has seemed to put a big boulder in our path. We may try to push it out of the way, climb over it, or even blow it up, yet is just won’t budge and the more we try to move it, the bigger it seems to get. It’s as if we continue to put money in bags with holes in it. We just can’t seem to get ahead. That is a clear message that we need to surrender and ask, what is God s trying to say to me? What do I need to learn? Where am I really putting my trust? When God moves the boulder, we will know it. Until then, it is paramount that we learn to embrace and get comfortable uncertainty.
God uses all situations not only to guide us but to grow and mold us, and they are extremely valuable. Through them we gain new insights and perspectives. God said it so perfectly, “All things are working together for our highest good.” That is so true! Just because we are encountering a difficult situation or struggling in a certain area doesn’t mean we have missed the marked. These are all learning experiences that God is using to create us in his likeness and image. They are to help us not hinder us, not in the short term, but in the long haul. Therefore, we should make it a point to not resist but to persist in what is presenting itself at this moment. A good scriptural reminder is “the race is not given to the swift but to Him who endures to the end.”
When we perceive things are going badly, we must also resist the temptation to berate or belittle ourselves. We are where we are suppose to be to learn whatever it is we need to learn. Some learning comes through just going through it. It would be wonderful if we could just get it by reading a book or mimicking others, but that’s not always possible. New truths or concepts don’t become a part of us until we experience them for ourselves. We each have our own set of bents, backgrounds, and experiences and God must reach each of us in a way that we can comprehend or get the best results. Family and friends may criticize us for the choices that we make, but they don’t see the big picture and most often, neither do we. We don’t see what God is really doing. We don’t see the outcomes.
I’ve never really been the type of person that plays it safe. I am a risk taker. Not only that, I try to follow my heart. When Christian Meditation and Relaxation was birthed, most Christians didn’t even know it existed. In fact, other than the World Community of Christian Meditation (a Christian Catholic organization), I had the only Christian meditation site on the web. Most people found me by accident or just by chance by typing the search terms “christian meditation” to see what showed up. My online survey still shows that, even eight years later, the vast majority of site visitors have never even heard of Christian meditation. Yet, something in their heart caused them to seek it out. Perhaps they are also at a crossroads in their Christian walk, desiring something more than church attendance and quick fix sermons. Or maybe the deep heartache and pain they are experiencing hasn’t been cured through the religious protocols of our day. That is why I believe Christian Meditation and Relaxation is here. The testimonies I receive prove it. While others might believe I am misguided or misdirected, the proof is in the lives that Christian meditation (being still, abiding in God’s presence, and seeking God from that inner place) have produced.
The past year has been a hard one for me. There have been many changes in my life as well as with Christian Meditation and Relaxation. Although much of it has been difficult, I am continuing to do my best to thank God for this journey, live one day at a time, and embrace contentment. I believe that God is showing me that He is all that I need in bite-size increments. It so easy to get attached to our present circumstances, especially the good ones, but the climb of refinement never stops permanently. We can either surrender and acclimate ourselves to what God is doing and receive his peace or we have the option of fighting him all the way. I choose peace. Whatever God is doing it is for my own spiritual growth and development. And you know what, this will not be the only journey I will take. There are many more to come and I will try to embrace them just the same, for I believe God creates the journeys that we need to grow, not outwardly, but inwardly.
As a result of my experiences, I am even more cognizant of the tenets and history of the new age philosophy, demonic deception, and the evil forces so prevalent in our world today. 2 Corinthians 6:17 tells us to “… come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” There are many counterfeit ways in which we can be lead from the truth of God. I have never been more convinced in my life that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. I have learned how deceptive the enemy can be and if he can, he will lure us away from the faith getting us to believe that we need something more that Jesus. Jesus and this or Jesus and that. But it is all a lie. Everything that we need is in Jesus Christ, which is cultivated through a deep and intimate relationship with Him. And where do we find or cultivate this deep relationship? Jesus said “you will know me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart.”
As Christians, it is important that we do not separate God from his nature. “God is a spirit and those who worship him but worship him in spirit and in truth.” I interpret the Spirit as God’s presence and the Truth as his Word. We need both. A Word or intellectual experience with God will leave us spiritually bankrupt and missing out on God’s love, peace, joy, and internal guidance. On the contrary, seeking God’s spirit alone neglects the power of God’s Word to renew our minds and purify our hearts. But together, God’s presence mixed with His Word is a power combination for internal and life transformation.
Yes, I have come full circle. I have even found a new church home. I believe that God does not want me to be a lone-ranger in the kingdom of God. We need each other for support and accountability. I needed to be healed, and I believe that healing is taking place. I also have a new outlook and a new agenda. Not only will I be there to be served, my mission is to serve as well in the areas that God needs me most. It’s time for me to get rid of any gray areas and go full force ahead. In Revelations, God said he want us to be hot or cold.
I share this testimony today to let you know that your journey is not in vain. Whether you are depressed, frustrated, hopeless, or upset about life’s circumstances at this moment, just remember, you are hanging onto on section of your rope of life and it does not define what the rest of your life will be. Now is the time to dig into God with both heels and surrender. It is a great time to be still as well as to ask those pressing questions and then wait for the answers. Use this time to enjoy and embrace the things that remain. Take your focus off of you and put it on God through prayer, praise, lingering in his presence, meditating on his Word, and living in the present moment as if it is all that you have. You are not lost. God knows where you are. Trust Him to lead you where you need to go to become who you need to be.