There was a time, not too long ago, when I would stand in church during worship service and envy those who had their hands raised to God, eyes closed, worshiping God without care of what others thought of them. And even though I envied them, I couldn't seem to bring myself to be so open and to let go of the care of how others would perceive me. I wouldn't let myself be bold in worship.
It was also during this time that I would hear people speak of their relationship with God, with Jesus and I was completely lost. I couldn't understand a relationship like that because I'd never had one. I'd been in church most of my life, gone to Youth Group, church camp, asked Jesus into my heart with the sinners prayer, and got baptized. But for me, God remained elusive, just out of reach. That intimate relationship with Him seemed unavailable to me.
Most of the time it felt as if God himself was unavailable, aloof, out of touch. He lived in outer space and we lived here on Earth. Everyone spoke of His love for us but I had to wonder if maybe He had loved us once but grew bored with us and moved on to something new. Kind of like when I was 8 years old and desperately wanted a new Barbie doll. I finally got her and loved her and played with her but by the time I was 10, she lay forgotten under my bed with a whole slew of long neglected toys. I felt like Barbie, forgotten, while God was out in the universe creating new words with new and maybe less disobedient creatures to amuse Him.
Yet I continued to search Him out. I wanted what I'd heard others speak of. I wanted that close intimate relationship with God! But for years I couldn't figure it out and for awhile I quit looking. I quit seeking. I stopped knocking. Don't get me wrong, I never lost my faith that He was out there. I never stopped believing in God, I just quit trying to have what others had because I was tired of always ending up at a dead end and still coming up empty.
And then one day, out of the clear blue, it occurred to me. I can't have a close relationship with someone I don't know.
I'd been teaching Sunday school, volunteering with the Youth Group, going to church every week, praying for those who were sick and in need, taking clothes and food to the needy during the holiday seasons...and nothing. I was doing it all wrong. I was looking in the wrong place.
Last December I loaded an App on my IPhone called You Version. It has lots of different versions of the Bible on it as well as Bible studies and a 'read the Bible in a year' program. You can set it to remind you to read each day and it tells you what to read and checks it off once you've read it. I started the "Bible in a year" but my head kept telling me I'd quite after a week or so because that's the kind of person I am. I rarely complete things and that's sad.
Well, it's May and I'm still going. Each day I look forward to the reminder telling me it's time to read God's word. It's day 135 and I've read 37% of the Bible so far.
AND I FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT ALL THIS TIME!! I'm learning daily about God, who He was, why He created us, Why He continues to fight for us.
WHY I'M HERE! What my purpose is on this earth. I'm learning so much and it's so amazing! I'm no longer a discarded toy, I am a child of God! I am an heir to His kingdom! WOW! Can you even imagine such an amazing thing? My heart feels like it's on fire for the Lord and now when I teach my Sunday class I do it for a new purpose. Instead of it being for me, I do it for Him.
And when I stand in church during worship service, I no longer care what others might think of me and I lift my hands to the Lord and worship openly. I surrender all to my Lord and I'm completely okay with it.