Thursday, March 1, 2012

Experiencing The Unexpected

Something happened the other night that quite frankly shocked me a little bit. I was invited to attend a ladies' worship group. During the prayer time, we were asked to visualize God with us. Now, good Southern Baptists have not been taught to visualize anything. If we've been taught anything, it's to stay away from vision-talk and such. So, admittedly, I was a bit freaked out. I decided to sit and pray as I usually do, not attempting to visualize anything.

What I realized during the prayer time was that when I pray, I always imagine myself at the throne of God, head bowed at His feet. I began doing that several years ago, not necessarily out of a conscious decision, but just as a reflection of my humility before Him. It began after the first time I was so humbled by His love and grace. Much like the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and dried them with her hair in Simon the Pharisee's home, I felt unworthy, yet longed to be in His presence. I've prayed that way ever since, without even thinking about it.

So as I was praying the other night, imagining myself bowed at His feet, it was as if He lifted my head. The words to an old hymn ran through my head: Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. I was momentarily overwhelmed with the awareness that He has made me worthy to be in His presence. I sat there for a few minutes, stunned. And immediately began to question: Is this real? Am I making this up? Was that really God? And I've been questioning ever since. You see, although I was seeking God, I wasn't expecting to experience Him in such a personal way the other night.

But last night, as I was reading blog posts from a couple of my favorite authors, God showed me something. If I continually question His work in my life, I won't grow. I have to trust Him in this journey He's leading me on. Serena Woods, author of Grace Is For Sinners, says in a recent blog post, You have to trust God enough to lead you in ways that your spirit will understand even when your finite mind cannot. She goes on to talk about seeking people's approval for what God is doing in your life {which I am prone to do}. She writes, I’m telling you this because if you don’t understand what is happening, then you’ll question your relationship with God and your spiritual life to the point of sucking all the life out of it.

Because I struggle so often with wanting approval {and let's face it, there are just some people who are never going to approve of anything I say or do or experience}, I tend to question every encounter with God. What would my family think about this? What would other church members say if they knew? Would my friends think I'm crazy? But what it all boils down to is that my relationship and experiences with God are just that: mine. And because we're all different, our relationships and experiences with God are different.

I wonder how many times I've discounted intimacy with God because the experience with Him was different than what I'd been taught to expect...

Read more of Serena Woods's post:
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  1. Oh this is so beautiful, that perhaps is why God met me in such a personal way when I was a teen because I had no expectations. I had no idea who or what HE was and therefore HE could show power and gentleness and I would SEE and believe for the first time and never question.
    Hold fast to what the Lord has shown you and never doubt. It is real.

    1. You know, I often wonder what it would have been like to not have had preconceived ideas of God. I'm thankful for growing up in a Christian home, but I think I took Him for granted way too often.