“my soul is dry and thirsts for you, true God, as a deer thirsts for water.” – psalm 42:1, the voice
one of the things i hear a lot when i am talking to my friends who have shifted in their faith is how much we miss God/Jesus sometimes. it’s an interesting mix. some people miss church and some people have never looked back. some are fine with a distance from God and need some space to get their heads and heart a little more together after a lot of church-craziness, while others feel the deep loneliness that sometimes comes along with changes in how we do our relationship with God. what used to work doesn’t.
and so for some of us, there’s this weird feeling of “missing God.”
we long to feel some of the connection that used to come more freely. we need some inspiration that fuels our empty tanks. we’re lonely. we need to feel extra peace and hope and joy in a deep place in our heart that comes from that wild & mysterious whisper called God. we’re tired of spending energy on all kinds of distractions and just want to feel God again.
in our bones.
in our heart.
in our souls.
this formation friday i have no easy answers for that. sorry. so many of my old tricks don’t work, either, and gone are the days when i could quickly conjure up some kind of discipline that would help me get the big fat shot in the arm i needed.
i get to experience God in all kinds of crazy wild ways each week at the refuge; so many little reminders of God-at-work-through-people. and while i am thankful for that, i was thinking this week how despite seeing God in all kinds of ways, i miss him for myself all the time. i’m so busy sometimes focusing on what’s “out there” for other people and for my family that i neglect the thing that’s deep inside my heart that i need to keep going–my longing for God just for me.
so the other morning as i ran out of the house in my pajamas and flip flops in the freezing cold to pick up a gallon of milk at the local gas station because my children had empty bowls of dry cereal desperately waiting for me, this thought flashed across my brain: “i really miss God today.”
and then this was my next thought, no kidding. “and damn, i don’t want to miss God. i like being fine without him.”
here’s why: i hate being vulnerable. as much as i know it’s holy and the key to so much transformation, i sometimes really don’t like the reality of needing anyone, including God.
my default is to get by on my own.
and as much as i am so grateful for the shifts in my faith because they have led me to such a free-er place in my life and relationship with God, i do miss some of what used to come so easily in my former days–that inspiration that was so tangible, so real, so sustaining, so accessible.
as i came home and fed my starving children i began thinking about what i would do in a friendship that changes, where disconnection happens, where life takes us over, or where crazy stuff happens that makes us not be able to connect like we used to. the way out in good friendships starts with these four simple words: “i really miss you.”
then the next thing that i would do with my friends is “let’s figure out how to get together; it’s just too hard to go another week without seeing each other.” and then in certain relationships, it depends which, i sometimes have to live with that initial awkwardness where we try to reconnect & catch up after an absence.
often, it’s far easier to do that with a flesh-and-blood friend than it is with God but i think it’s a starting place.
God, i really miss you. what’s a way we can get together? i’m prepared to feel awkward at first.
[quote]is it a hike, writing in my journal, painting a picture, writing a poem, sitting in the silence, reading a psalm, pouring out our heart in prayer, offering one word in prayer, walking a labyrinth, listening to beautiful music, staring at the sunset, putting our toes in the sand, drinking a cup of coffee at the kitchen table, meditating on a verse or a phrase or something that brings hope, weeding in the garden, sitting in the park, lighting a candle.[/quote]
there are so many other possibilities, no matter how big or small, but i didn’t add “hanging out with a friend, caring for a person, giving, loving, or meeting a person eye to eye” for a reason. i think it’s so incredibly important and for me, that is by far the primary way that i connect with God–in the rub of relationship with human beings.
but i sometimes think it’s incomplete, too, and we have to also develop another pathway to refresh our souls with God that is something in the quiet, in the stillness, in the aloneness with God.
that’s my challenge for myself this week.
it’s not for everyone. some of you are feeling good with God and don’t miss him a bit. others aren’t feeling so good with God but “miss” isn’t quite the word. for those who connect with this idea of “missing God” i wonder if we can just start with this:
1. i miss you
2. how can we get together?
3. for that little sliver of time, open our hearts up to hear, receive, engage, listen, notice, appreciate.
and if nothing happens in that moment, which it might not, maybe look for another random weird moment it does. God can be sneaky like that.
have a great weekend. love, kathy