So I had kind of a revelation today. It’s a bit of a long and rambling story, so bear with me.
I started bopping on over to (in)courage sometime over the summer, thinking I needed more positive influence in my life. The day-to-day wears me down enough as it is – what with having two kids instead of one, which has been a huge transition for me, and other things going on behind the scenes. So the more positive, encouraging stuff I get into my head, the better. Am I right, ladies?
Today’s post was about community. And the author said something that rocked me to the core: “Community doesn’t happen when I’m seeking community. Community happens when I’m seeking Christ.”
I mean seriously. It was like a good, classic smack up the back of my head from God. It got my attention. And it suddenly snapped a ton of things into focus.
I have had that principle totally reversed. I have sought community before I have sought Christ. I have made the concept of community into an idol. And in that process, I have squelched my relationship with God. Because I have thought that the community would be what caused me to draw closer to God. And that hasn’t happened – I’ve been kind of at a standstill spiritually for a while.
Confusing? I know. Because I had the equation completely backwards! And a backwards equation is totally confusing.
As I was talking about this realization with my husband, the conversation took an interesting turn. Then my mom told me a story later about a dream she had about someone else and it clicked things even more.
I began thinking about battle strategies. And it occurred to me: The Enemy is a master strategist. His attacks are not always blatant and frontal. Sometimes, they are slow. Quiet. An insidious infiltration through avenues we do not expect. It creeps up on us, until we are entirely neutralized.
That is what you do with a threat – you neutralize it.
The Enemy has been slowly neutralizing me and I didn’t even know it. Whispering lies to me as I viewed these communities of women – You don’t have that. You will never have that. You will never fit in. You don’t have anyone to talk to like that. You don’t have anything worthy to contribute.
Slowly, quietly, I began withdrawing. From others. From God. Believing I couldn’t be closer with God without community.
Community became an idol. And it distracted me from what I really needed.
Furthermore, if the Enemy has been working so hard and so long to neutralize me, what that that mean?
It means I’m a threat.
And I kind of like that.
It’s something my husband and I have talked about before. He sees things in me I don’t always see in myself. He has told me before that when I’m tuned in to God, I’m a huge threat to the Enemy.I remember those conversations.
Here’s another thing we realized today, sitting in my dermatologist’s office waiting: We’ve been stuck in a pattern where whenever one of us has a spiritual breakthrough, it’s almost immediately followed by us having some kind of a fight that leaves us both in a sour mood, and we forget what happened right before it. It happened today! Not kidding! It really started happening about a year and a half ago – I came home from a retreat totally infused with the Holy Spirit, and the next day we had what I refer to as The Nuclear Marriage Meltdown. Long story. Anyway, it seems the Enemy discovered a new way to neutralize us after that experience. Push our buttons, get us bickering, distract us from what God just did, get a foothold back in there to start whispering lies again. That became clear to both of us – God totally showed us the Enemy’s battle strategy.
And my husband and I said “Oh, HECK no!” Not anymore. We are so not putting up with that garbage. With the Enemy’s plans exposed, we’re strengthening our defenses. We’re sending in additional troops. We’re blowing up the underground tunnels that sneaky little devil has been digging while we were looking for the blatant attacks on the surface.
So yeah. Today was a lot. I’m still kind of trying to wrap my head around it.
So what next?
One step at a time. First, I’m finding my groove with God. My relationship with God is MY relationship with God. Not someone else’s. I haven’t yet found what works for me to get that daily connection with God. But I can stop being so darn hard on myself. Just as my relationship with my husband is unique to us two, so is my relationship with God.
I got that concept from a book I just started reading, called “The Contemplative Mom”. I acquired it really randomly almost ten years ago. Never cracked it open until today. And it’s exactly what I need, right now, in this moment. Amazing how God works that way. One of the first things the author does is establish that she’s not going to give you a step-by-step for intimacy with God. She says very clearly “I’ll give you some suggestions, but it’s up to you. If something doesn’t work, try something else! No big deal!”
What. Amazing. FREEDOM.
*insert deep inhale and exhale here!*
So that’s what’s going on with me right now. I know people are probably hankering for baby pictures and birth stories and things of the like, but honestly, I really feel deep in my soul that I have God’s permission to take a break from things like that and focus on other things for a while. So if I blog sporadically, so be it. I have to release myself from this sense of trying to keep up with others. I placed it squarely on myself, nobody else did. I’m going to give it all to God and let Him lead me to the unique voice He created for me. To where I thrive. To where my soul comes alive.
This is sure gonna be an interesting journey. I can’t wait to see where it leads.