My Unastonished Heart - Backstory
I started this post on awe 3 years ago. Couldn't finish it. It felt too artificial. Sterile.
Like a lovely song about a beautiful land I haven't seen. Or a person I've never met.
Something was missing. Not just in my post. In my soul. What was it? The very astonishment I wrote about. What I knew in my head never made it to my heart. The same was true of other posts. It was obvious. I'd lost sight of the God I wrote about.
I am 'called' to write. But I can't fulfill any 'call' as God intends unless I first fulfill His primary call. Which is a call to Himself. A calling I ignored in pursuit of another.
I pushed ahead with plans for a blog. And God in His kindness pushed back. I now realize I wasn't ready. It’s true that we never really are. On the other hand, who wants to eat bread taken out early? Or be that bread for other hungry souls?
What God does in us matters so much more than what He does through us.
And what He does through us will only be as life-changing as what He does in us.
So for 3 years, every attempt to launch this blog has been met with setbacks and delays. Both His doing and mine. I spent more time frustrated than fascinated.
One day, I read a story by Pastor Rick Mckinley. He told how duty replaced desire in his walk with Christ. Ministry crowded out intimacy. Joy gave way to ambition. But then a wise mentor spoke the words his heart (and mine) so needed to hear.
“God didn’t call you to himself to use you. He called you to love you. God loves you.”
I argued at first. God wants to use us. But He wants my heart even more. My desire to be used grew stronger than my desire for God. I must serve. But not at the expense of intimacy. I thought 'I can't just 'rest in His love'! I'm too busy in His work! Problem is: His work is loving people. Through me. And I can’t give love I don’t have.
I also can't touch a heart with a truth I only know in my head. What comes from the mind reaches the mind. What comes out of the heart touches the heart. It''s out of love that God works truth into my soul. Love for me. And for those I touch.
I now realize that a setback in God's hand doesn't have to set us back. It can expose issues I'd never see otherwise. God has used disappointments, delays and that first post like an MRI. Exposing a giant gap between what I know and how I live. Between the kind of man I appear to be and the man I actually am in the deepest part of me.
I'm glad I saw this gap. And like cancer, I hate it. So I'm declaring war on pretense!
I want to be real. Even if it means I write about awe and admit I'm bored. Or write long when short is better. Life's too short to not go long if it takes me longer to find my voice. And the heart behind it. I’m sure I’ll still write sterile posts. And lose sight of God though I don’t intend to. The good news is: He won’t lose sight of me.
I’m starting to look at God Himself more than I used to. (Thanks to an unfinished post and the mercy of unanswered prayer.) And every time I catch a glimpse of Him, I find Him looking at me. With eyes of love. Despite my preoccupied heart.
In fact, He's always looking. We notice what we love. But I don't always notice. My attention is elsewhere. And wherever my attention goes, my heart tends to follow.
Prayer: God, my mind is often captured by treasures other than you. So is my heart. Help me pay attention to what I pay attention to. And should anything other than you become more important than you, help me see it. Help me tear down this idol.
And in this journey of writing about your beauty and your presence, should I ever stop gazing on your beauty or treasuring your presence, then for my sake, frustrate my plans. Ho. 2:5,6 No ministry is worth giving my heart to if it pulls my heart away from you. I don’t trust my heart. But I trust yours. Whatever the cost, keep me close.
“If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.
May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.” Psalms 137:5,6