When you talk with any Christian about their testimony, you’ll most likely hear words like “walk” or “journey”. These are fitting to describe this companionship we are privileged to have. In my opinion, a more honest definition of this relationship is something closer to the word cycle. When we are at our most vulnerable with God, in the middle of the rawest prayer, in the sweetest seconds of communion, we feel home. It’s a series of moments where we hit the refresh button on our hearts, come home, fall short, try again, then immediately turning to a different idol.
Sometimes, it’s the spirit tugging our heart strings before a tough conversation, or the words you pause on while worshiping. It’s the little and big moments where we come back to God, no matter where our heart was 30 seconds before. These moments are what make up our walk with Him. Even at our most desperate for constant communion with the Lord, we will fall short. As we strive towards “prayer without ceasing,” we will be distracted by a hundred things, but we need to, and get to, come back.
The Way has a beautiful tagline: “no perfect people,” and if that’s the case, put me on the billboard! I was already a hot mess (and not in the cute “bless this hot mess” bumper sticker way), then life-bomb, one of my closest friends was in a tragic accident and went home to be with sweet Jesus. I felt a new meaning of brokenness over the fact my world could change with a phone call, over missing an important piece of my life, and over everything else I had ever pushed aside. I saw that sometimes it is more than just a distraction that pulls you away from these moments of coming back. Sometimes it’s the comforts of people, addictions, or simple numbness that, in our shortsightedness, feel closer to comfort than coming home.
There are a couple lessons that have been weighing on my heart these past couple weeks, from which I pray you find even an ounce of something helpful to your journey.
1.God’s grace, the fact we are blessed beyond what we deserve, and His mercy, deliverance from the judgement we so deserve; they are not in increments of Sunday sermons, or the week, or by the day. His mercy is by the minute. At any given moment, we can come home. There is no “you should have done this a month/year/decade ago,” no strings attached; 15 years or 15 seconds. The only punishment we receive is sitting in the consequences of the decisions we’ve already made. He is ready for you, whether you are at the bar, on hour 13 of work to avoid home, or driving to church. Then, 30 seconds later when we fall short again, His mercy is onto the next moment and ready to take us in His loving kind arms.
2.There will be seasons where you will need to live moment-by-moment, coming home in order to breathe again. There will be seasons of anger, seasons of grief, seasons of desperation. They can be set off by anything in this fallen world, from the sins of our neighbor, to the chemicals in our brain. In the words of our pastor, Scott, “There is a good gift in desperation.” I’m not going to write here that this whole season has me feeling closer to God, I wish something in this foggy mess could feel that linear, but it doesn’t. What I can say confidently is that this has shown me how many moments I can come back, just how far I can feel and still come home to the same gift, the same grace.
3. When we have any conversation with anyone about anything, grace needs to be center. The gospel is God’s grace, the epitome of giving us what we do not deserve. The people that are pulling me out of this dark spot are those who sit with me, moment by moment, day after day, reminding me of this gift to come to back again; no mess. They meet me where I am at in the worst moments, and I’ve not seen more Christ-like love than their running towards vulnerability. Although, an unbelievably heavy part of this time is navigating the opposite, the bold judgement of others as I learn this new normal. We cannot convict anyone of anything, the Holy Spirit has got that covered and doesn’t need our help. We have the scary power to make the most beautiful, simple gospel, a gross mess full of if/thens, and buts. Instead, we can offer them even just a fraction of the same grace, the same love, and lead them home.