If I’m perfectly honest (and why not? Lying is so pedestrian.) I haven’t been feeling close to God these days, and it’s probably because I haven’t been sticking to my schedule of Bible reading.
There was no good excuse, I wasn’t lost in the wilderness of Isaiah, or down in the dumps with Ezekiel, or battling the never ending out of order poetry of Psalms. I had just finished Daniel. DANIEL, of all books. Daniel in the lion’s den! Daniel and the diet! Daniel the woo woo prophet! Who doesn’t love Daniel and want to keep going, right? Next up is Hosea. I’ve been DYING to read Hosea again! It’s the freakiest book in the Bible – God telling Hosea to marry a prostitute who continues to cheat on him and give his kids names that will get their asses kicked on the playground! What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I just stop typing right now and start reading Hosea?
It was the dogs. Pembleton and Pepe’s human pets came home yesterday, cutting their vacation short due to some unforeseen complications, so I am officially released from caring for them. Yes, I did indeed wake up every morning for over two weeks and run something close to a mile if not more every day with them. I got used to it, but I definitely did not enjoy it, and the morning routine of caring for the dogs and watering the hillside of plants usurped my Bible time. (It also usurped my evening writing time, so all things are equal in secular and non-secular pursuits.) Last night was the first night in over two weeks that my sleeptime wasn’t interrupted by a lonesome 1am bark, or a 3am scratch on the back door. (It’s a good thing I don’t scare easily like apparently the last tenant.) I woke up this morning on my own and I didn’t have to stumble outside in the dark to walk two crazy Dalmatians. I’ve never been happier.
So THAT’s why I didn’t get to Hosea sooner. I’m shooting for tomorrow. Hopefully.
I know all the rebuttals for why not reading my Bible shouldn’t give me guilt pangs – God doesn’t want your routines to become route, and there are other ways to get close to Him than reading His word, and He doesn’t want you to read it if you feel like you have to (and I haven’t figured out what He thinks about reading the Bible primarily as research for monologue collections), and it’s a good idea to shake things up once in awhile, so you don’t rely on the ritual instead of Him.
There’s more going on. I didn’t sign up for a small group through my church this year, I’ve missed my monthly prayer group for three months straight now, though I’m part of an informal group of awesome peeps that meet once every other week.
But I didn't like the aspect of small groups when we present a list of things to ask God for, because it feels like we’re reducing God to Genie In A Lamp time. And I didn’t feel good about that at all.
I’ve talked about this feeling before (I am aware when I start to repeat myself.) I don’t know how to talk to God. Just start talking, why don’tcha. Oh ho ho, very easy to say, when you’re the only one talking.
One thing that I’ve heard said from multiple pastors at church is “Talk to God about (whatever you don’t wanna talk about.) He’s a big boy. He can handle it.”
How do you talk to God?
1. You ask Him for stuff. DING, you’re doing it wrong. He’s God, not your personal Santa Claus.
2. You thank Him for stuff. I actually do this a lot of the time, perhaps more than asking Him for stuff, since that leaves a bad taste in my mouth currently. I’m the master of Thank You God, Thank You. I can breathe it 24/7.
I was at Disneyland on Sunday. It was super awesome for a number of reasons: Agatha and Mr. Agatha had sent me free tickets, I was with fun people who don’t mind goofing for pictures, I had done my Fast Pass research on how to get through the most popular rides with minimal wait time, and there’s a store on Main Street that sells the most yummers Cinnamon Tea Latte IN THE WORLD for under three bucks.
All through the day, I breathed Thank You God, Thank You. Thank You God, Thank You. Thank You for this company. Thank You that this Fast Pass strategy is working. Thank You that my friends didn’t get sick on Space Mountain, though it was a close call. Thank You for the Cinnamon Tea Latte. Thank You for It’s A Small World (yes, nobody else likes it, but it brings up very vivid memories of me when I was five or so, and flipping through the book that came with the song.)
True, I can get snarky with my Thank You God, like yesterday when Pembleton and Pepe’s human pets’ car wouldn’t start: Thank you God, for giving me the most AWESOME reason in the world to trust You to give me the tools I need to fix this situation. (those tools came in the form of the human pet’s handyman and his jumper cables.)
But there’s gotta be more to the conversation than me groveling with gratitude. Maybe He doesn’t get tired of hearing Thanks, but it can make for a little one sided conversation, like you know He’s thinking, Enough already! You’re welcome! What else is going on!?
3. You tell him what you’re thinking. That usually veers into dissatisfaction (I don’t have x,y,z, if only I had x,y,z in my life, I’d be so much happier,) DING, you’re doing it wrong, because you’re blaming God for your circumstance, which He has placed you in for purposes of His own, mainly to teach you something, like maybe STOP WHINING.
4. You ask Him where we’re going. Again veering into dissatisfaction. (Where are we going? Am I really temping for the rest of my life? Really!? You know I wanted to do a, b, and c, oh shit, is that the whole Here Are My Plans, Please Bless Them rather than Here’s What I Was Thinking About Doing Please Tell Me If You Want Me To Do Something Else. Oh shit, did I say shit? Aw hell. You’re really not gonna talk to me now, are You. If only I was Angel Mouthed. Fuck.)
5. You go to Here’s What I Was Thinking About Doing Please Tell Me If You Want Me To Do Something Else. And...silence.
I can’t talk to God if I’m continually hearing the Ding You’re Doing it Wrong bell in my head. Let’s start there.
Hi God, it’s me, Amy, The Foul Mouthed Writer. S’up? Oh, is that too irreverent? Are You shaking Your almighty head in dismay, that I didn’t approach You with the respect that You command, because You are God of the universe?
Hi God, it’s me, Amy, the Writer Who Sometimes Drinks While Writing. I am appropriately bowing in Your general direction, which is, um, Up? Thank You that Pembleton and Pepe’s human pets came back. I am sooooooooo stoked that I don’t have to run anymore. I rediscovered that I can roll with whatever punches anyone throws at me, but no, I do not like running, I never have, I never will, thanks for that reinforcement. Thank You that I live by myself, thank You that I have the World’s Most Boring Temp Job (but working with really nice people.) It’s a job which means money, so thank You that I can pay my bills. Thank You for Benedryl, my best defense against this wacked out weather and winds. Thank You for Rolling Rock, the sponsor of tonight’s blog entry.
So, God. You know I don’t wanna ask You for stuff, because that seems distasteful. I think we both know each other better than that. I am curious, though. I’m Here. I want to be Over There. I think I could get Over There if I did a, b, and c. What do You think? Yay? Nay? You wanna throw d, e, and f my way? I can roll with whatever letters you throw at me, we both know that.
Hello? Hello, God? You wanna say something? You wanna show me something? Is it wrong of me to ask? Was I supposed to shut up and trust?