As I wrote about in January, I started this year taking a weekly "spa" bath, and just like other rituals of restoration I worked to make habits of in January...this one has taken on a life of its own. What I mean by that is that I need, I MUST take the time for one every week...It has become an uninterrupted time of conversation with God...It soothes me mind, body, and soul.
This morning before church, I was laying in the tub having a VERY intense conversation with God about all the things I don't understand about my life...why I am in this season here and now...why it feels so hard...why I can't control my emotions, questions, yearnings for answers...why at times I have felt so very dry spiritually in the midst of Lent no less...why I can't stop myself from allowing the world to make me numb from time-to-time...why I just can't hang onto the JOY that I know is mine in him..Oh the questions...the water grew lukewarm.
As I sat up to run more hot water, I suddenly started thinking about Jesus' own baptism. Why water? Why did God have us baptized in water?
I started thinking of a mother's womb, how a child grows for nine months, all that fluid, the immersion of life in this cocoon, the water breaking, and the bringing forth of life into the world fresh and new...
Is baptism the closest we can experience to a physical re-birth?
I was reading a post this morning by writer Seth Haines entitled "Take. Eat. Remember" and it moved me so much I shared it on my own writing page (I heard about Seth via mutual friends, so I guess I am now a stalker...That said, check out his work; very good.). I guess I was still marinating on his words because I am suddenly struck by how beautifully God intertwines the body, the spirit, the earth, and our minds. He takes such a holistic approach with us, marrying these things so beautifully...it really is like poetry.
I think I needed the reminder by God (and Seth) of the beauty of the processes...the water, the wine, the bread, the LIFE.
It is so easy for me to get numb in the searching and the studying of God's words and in my walk through it. I truly loathe that about myself, but didn't God know that I/we would be that way? Didn't he provide for us the rituals to remind us of the meaning? Didn't he know we would grow weary and numb? Didn't he know that after years and years of watching his people ebb and flow out of following him with great fervor only to deny him in the next breath? Didn't he send Jesus, his own son, to make it so intimately personal that even our jaded human hearts could recognize the sacrifice? Doesn't he crave our sacrifice and our pursuing of him because he knows that where our treasure is, there also is our heart?
Doesn't he simply..Know. Us.?
During this season of Lent, I am learning the very HARD about having a daily walk with Christ. The intimacy of it feels like any other relationship...overflowing, dry, weary, joyful, nourishing...it is a RELATIONSHIP. I am not necessarily the very best at those. I am not necessarily the very best at one with God. I think Lent has been a reminder of what I am not good at, but the water is a reminder of how much God loves that I continue to go to the well. I continue to seek him...to seek the relationship....to dig into the healing I need...the healing that is mine...God sees my pursuit of him even at the cost of my own comfort....emotionally, physically, and relationally.
The thing is that even when I was not pursuing him, he was always there...waiting. Patiently. I think of the years I spent trying to go it alone with little more than a half-ass relationship with him, and it is hard to bear. Even now. Especially now. Lent reminds you of that. Ugh.
Yesterday I was reminded in one of my tribes how we are all at different places in our walk...and I was also reminded that many of us have guilt and shame associated with the feeling that we are not as far along in it as we should be. I was reminded too that I bear that shame and sometimes, unfortunately, I act from it. There is no set timeline on when you should get saved, be here or here spiritually, hear from God, know all the rules...I mean, for the love of all that is good and holy....shouldn't we the church be the one place where there is no ladder, no tick marks of who is where, no competition? I think so.
I have had to lay a lot of shame down at the altar. I have had to lay a lot of my "competition" read that as competitive heart down at the altar. Know the most Bible verses...win the Bible for saying the books of the Bible...read the Bible all the way through...how many books have you read...how many Bible studies have you done....and that competition wasn't always external, in fact rarely so...it is inside. The enemy knows I like to win...to be the best.
...and then here Jesus comes with the water.
Be made clean. All who are weary, find rest. Give up the idols. Follow me.
My worldly heart that resides in my worldly body is at war with my good good heart.
My God is fighting for me...Every. Single. Step. Of. The. Way.
He is fighting...and cheering...and loving...Me. All the while, I resist that love.
It is the irony of ironies that what we crave most in this life...Love...is what he is offering...and what we fight against.
I am never going to be the same post-Lent. (BIG ugly crying now)
Thank you God.
Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)
Labels: Lent, Seth Haines, Water