Thursday, September 8, 2011

Running to God

This marks my 31st blog post since I returned to Japan (which has been less than 31 days). I love writing, and it has been tremendously energizing to me to start writing regularly again--I enjoy working with words, of course, but beyond that, writing helps me to process what's going on in my life more deeply than I could otherwise.

It has also, in a lot of ways, challenged me to be more serious about my own faith. Having grown up in a Christian home, and consistently Christian settings, I have a tendency to be spiritually lazy. Coattail syndrome, let's call it. The logic, however faulty, is as follows: I don't have to be Christian all the time because there are so many Christians around me who will pick up the slack.

Okay, so my thought process about this has never been that crass, but at any rate, the fact remains that I have struggled my whole life to truly make the faith of my parents, mentors and community my own. Earlier this year, in the wake of an earthquake, then another earthquake, and then some fairly major losses within the community, I realized just how empty I was. I also realized that I tend to seek my escape, my respite, in things other than God and just wind up more empty.

So, my challenge to myself for this school-year is to pursue God, and pursue Him with every ounce of energy that I have and every spare second that I can remember. If a man is thirsty, does he slake his thirst by eating 20 packets of senbei? Certainly one would hope not... but that's what I've been doing, that's what I'm inclined to do. It's so illogical, so destructive, especially in light of the fact that there's a Fountain more refreshing than any mountain spring and it has been offered to us in spite of who we are. So I now run to the fountain and drink, again and again.

Writing helps me to do that. It reminds me to think about how richly blessed I am, about how big and how good God is. It reminds me to praise Him and thank Him, even on days when I am feeling tattered and drained. It's not a perfect process. I'm easily distracted... call it spiritual ADD. If I get the least bit stressed, or if something doesn't go the way I wanted it to, I complain about how bad I have it. All of my talk about God's mercy and blessings evaporate from my mind and my lips. So, I seek to remind myself again and again of the Joy that I have in my life as one of His creatures, as one who has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Seriously--to be loved that much? It's overwhelming when you really think about it. To forget this truth is inexcusable. To forget this truth is also distinctly human.

That's why a vast number of my recent writings have revolved around faith. I'm not trying to look super-righteous, or just trying to talk the talk, and I hope it doesn't come across that way. If the content of my head and my heart were to be projected onto a big screen, you would see just how imperfect I am. It's scary sometimes. I write about faith as a challenge to myself, as a means to praise God and as a way of constantly reorienting the compass of my heart to seek Him. If others read and are similarly challenged and encouraged, so much the better.

"Find rest, my soul, in God alone, amid the world's temptations! When evil seeks to take a hold, I'll cling to my salvation." Alleluia!

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