Psalm 145: 18 NLT "The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth."
As I read that verse tonight, I couldn't help but reflect on the many times I felt that God was far away from me, that He had forgotten about me and was giving everyone else intimate encounters with Him but me. I would go on fasts and dig deep into the Word looking for answers, like "God, why can't I feel You near me anymore?"
This verse has brought clarity to my hindsight, more often than not when I felt far away from God it was because I had changed in my heart. You see beloved, sometimes we feel far away from God because we get to a place of insincerity, trying to be everyone else in our prayer life, but ourselves. We use fine, captivating speech trying to impress God with the flow of words forgetting that He can see behind the mask on our hearts and knows that in that moment we are fake.
Has LaShonda, who has been saved since she was 13 years old been fake with God? Oh Yes I Have!! There were days when I would pray mindless prayers and read the Bible just to be able to say I was consistent when asked. I would be in church hands raised, but head and heart many moons away daydreaming. I had wanted to appear to be as Christian as the next young person on fire for God, but my fire was dying because my heart was masked from God. It was like when someone wrongs you and they apologize using, "If I have done anything to hurt you..." or "I am sorry for what you feel I did to you..." I had wronged God and studied the words of repentance from the Psalms but did not mean them in my heart.
I say I wronged God because I let the intimacy dissipate from our relationship, it's like being married and faking your care and passion for your husband. There I was, hands raised to heaven, praying and praising like everyone else but I didn't really want an encounter with Him that would change my life, just my bank account and the labels in my closet. Other times, I wanted a Word from Him like everyone else was getting, so I tried to qualify myself for a Word by acting deep when I was drowning in the shallows.
It is a beautiful thing to realize you are drowning in the shallows, and I know you must think that such an absurd way to put it, but if babies can drown in an inch of water, a Christian can drown in a shallow relationship with Christ. When we begin to drown on the shore, we become afraid of the water, and I was becoming afraid of a true encounter with Christ.
So how did I overcome this? I took off the mask on my heart, and to avoid the temptation of putting on a poppy show for Jesus during my prayer time, I began to write my prayers. You see writing inspired honesty because I didn't have to listen to myself say anything, I could just purge and move on. The more I wrote my prayers, the more I would read them aloud when I was done, to inspire courage and invite God to saturate my time with honesty rather than be repelled by my facades. I wanted to be present when He showed up, after all I had stood Him up enough, too much. Sometimes you have to really ask yourself, "am I being real with God?" And if the honest answer is "no," God wants that honesty through and through and never wants you to trade it in trying to make Him feel comfortable with who you are and are not. He's God beloved... He knows who you aren't and He has designed who you will be. Sometimes we think we've already done too much wrong and become t0o filthy, but all that wrong was nailed to Calvary's cross with our Christ, and He has declared us worthy of an honest and intimate relationship with The Father.
Grace & Peace.