Yesterday we talked about this idea that our interpersonal relationships can have an impact on our conscious contact with God. This is obviously a problem. How do we get around it?
I have a suggestion. First a verse…
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:6
Stuck in the middle of this lovely little psalm of praise to God, this writer is feeling safe and taking refuge in his God. He remembers that apart from the Lord, he has no good things. He believes that God has assigned him a decent lot in life. He feels close to God, secure in his presence, receptive to his counsel. He is glad and at rest, fully confident that God will not abandon him. It’s a lovely passage. You might want to read the entire chapter.
The psalmist, David, has other psalms that sing a different tune. Cries of desperation, guilt, shame and fear-filled lyrics of lament are also part of David’s repertoire. But this sixteenth song is a lovely one to read. And I think it has something to teach me too, for it has helped me re-member (as in, reconnect). It has helped me re-orient myself toward God in a season when most days all I really wanted to do was climb into bed with my blanky and watch reruns of Law and Order. It reminds me of what I have known in the past, that place where I not only know God is present in and with and for me, but I feel his pleasure.
So my suggestion is this: do stuff you aren’t in the mood to do. Especially the stuff that aligns with your core values. Given my druthers, I would have laid my bible down and picked up a People magazine. And yes, some days I made the choice to pick up a mindless distraction. But not all days. I kept wriggling around until I could find a way to get comfortable again with my spiritual disciplines. It is a lot like a yoga practice. Instructors tell us in the middle of a tough pose, “Wriggle around until your body gets settled into that pose.”
When reading passages like Psalm 16, I caught glimpses of past memories and present day realities. I kept reading other books to, books from writers who had experiences with God or studies about God’s word. And I kept talking to my friends – not just the ones who were in the same space I occupied, but especially the ones who were not. Friends who were in a great space. People who were happy.
Starting tomorrow, I will share some things I learned along the way and other things I remembered.