I have experiences where I feel like I am right there in the presence of God. He surrounds and fills me. I am hitting on all cylinders.
But most of the time, I am struggling. I read bloggers who share "what the Lord taught me this morning during my 2 hours of quiet time with Him" and my eyes blink. I'm excited that I read the devotional "Jesus Calling" and prayed "Thank you for your blessings to us today". It's hard to believe I should get the passing grade compared to the spiritual giants who spent hours on their knees.
I attended Beth Moore's simulcast this fall on "Grace" and learned that some of my problem is the legalistic "law based" doctrine that I still FEEL chained to.
I grew up in a denomination of laws. I was 10 years old when someone at school asked "what does your church believe?" I started the list..."We don't believe in swearing, drinking, dancing, movies, having tv's, wearing pants, wearing shorts, exposing the collarbone. We don't believe in gambling or playing with cards, we don't listen to secular music, we don't use crude language. We don't believe in sex outside of marriage" (actually it was a totally taboo subject so I didn't think it was supported INSIDE marriage either)...and my list continued on. Like the good little Sunday school attendee I was prepared to espouse the evils of embracing the "world".
When my friend asked, "So what do you believe in?"
I had to think a moment. "Well, we believe in the Triune God. Um...we believe Jesus is God's son born in a virgin birth to die and that He arose to save our sins." I paused. "Uh, we believe you have ask forgiveness for your sins to be saved and you go to hell if you don't get saved."
Even I realized my list of what I believe IN was way shorter than the first one I pounded down. I didn't add that "we believe if you don't follow all the rules of the church, you will lose your salvation and still go to hell."
About 8 years ago switched from that denomination to a grace based non denominational church. After a time, I began to see that Grace was much larger and so much more than I had been taught formerly. I began to shed some of the "rules" I had been following.
The simulcast showed me that I still had a lot of shedding to do.
I spent so many years trying to measure up to the perfect "Good Christian woman" that had been laid out for me. I tried to toe the line and follow the rules. Most of the time, I fell short of those expectations, I felt a Christian failure. I no longer consciously follow those rules, but in reading this morning I still FEEL the failure when I can't meet the expectations of others.
The good news is that I believe God is MORE than happy that I took 2 minutes to spend with Him with thankfulness and pleasure than if I had forced myself to spend 2 hours with an open Bible, a pen and a journal. He is thrilled that I shared the time with him and went on instead of pounding my fist against a table insisting I would NOT leave my quiet time until I had learned some spiritual truth.
Yes. I still struggle with the rules. Though no longer governed by the church, the lack of them makes me feel like drifting flotsam. It's a little scary to live Christ likeness by the law of God and not falling onto the laws of "me" or the denomination. Realizing this means I can lean back, close the cover of my "Jesus Calling" and rest in the grace of knowing I will never "do" enough to earn God's approval.
I've had that since He created my life.