Friday, October 23, 2009

The Power of Positive Spanking

I haven't posted on my personal blog for a couple months, and (thankfully, I guess) a few folks took notice, asking, "No bloggy? What gives?"

For starters, the magazine I regularly blogged for (Today's Christian Woman) folded a couple months ago. But I'd be lying if I said that's why I haven't written anything lately.

I'm also finishing up a master's degree in Christian Apologetics--I'm set to graduate next May. But I'd also be lying if I said that's why I haven't written.

In truth, the well has been dry. And not because I didn't want to write.

My Source had cut me off.

For the past few months, I've been focused on everything except God. I still knew I loved God, but my identity in Christ had gotten mushed down beneath the busy work of everyday life. Every prayer was beginning with the phrase, "I'm sorry I haven't spent time with you, God." And ending with the words, "I'm going to make time for you, real soon. Just not right now."

I do believe God takes away a person's ministry if they're not focused on him. (After all, if you're gonna be in the position of telling other people about God, you've got to be dedicated to knowing him yourself, right?) I've seen God give me a "time out," time and time again. And I've seen God do this to other folks.

I knew I was being disciplined, and that I should recognize. But frankly, I wanted to be naughty. I was enjoying a period of having every thought in my head be about ME. I was focused on the things I thought I wanted to accomplish. Thinking about how to make the future a happy one for myself. And patting myself on the back for what I've done in the past. In short, I'd mentally made myself the center of the world.

Fortunately, my Father is willing to dish out some tough love. He sent some folks to spiritually smack me upside the head (and I doubt they even knew they were doing so). And he reminded me that I don't know what's best for me--my goals, I realized, really didn't suit me at all. He showed me that my self-centered, self-congratulatory attitude was causing me to look inward for community (um, it isn't there), and to pull away from authentic relationships. God once again proved that my idea of "happy" was making me miserable.

I'm beginning to deeply appreciate God's discipline. I know that if he didn't love me, he'd let me wander off. But he seeks me out and draws me back every time. As CCM artist Michael Tait once put it in his song, God's love is "stronger than gravity," ever pulling us back to the Source of everything that's good.

And I'm learning discipline isn't just about punishment. God has taken me through some emotionally difficult times so I'll learn to trust and rely on him. He's put circumstances in my life to teach me how to be more Christ-like. I've experienced his love as my patient schoolmaster.

Next week, I'll post the link to an article I wrote for on H-n-T. It explains a bit more about these spiritual struggles I've been having. Please pray with me as I wait on God for his direction, and for me as God cleans me up from the mud puddle o' self-centeredness that I've been rolling around in.