The past months I've been living my life by obligation and not inspiration. What I mean by that is I would read my Bible, pray, etc. only because I feel that I need to, an obligation. But this applied to every other aspect of my life as well, like my art, filmmaking, job and everything else. I would make videos because I needed to pay the bills. I'd even roll out of bed because of obligation, not because I was inspired to. I think this is a horribly depressing way to live and I hated to admit that I was getting pretty depressed. The most spiritually inspired moments in my life are always right after these really dark times. I really do believe that Jesus waits at the end of our rope and sometimes we just need to go to the end of our rope to find Him. Because it's when we think we still have a lot of rope is when we don't need anyone else and especially Him. So it's when we realize the need for Him is when we find Him. So I wasn't afraid to get to the end of my rope, I just wanted to run to it at this point.
In the past it's always been that one sentence, one verse or one lyric that would make me fall in love with God again. And I know that it's the Holy Spirit that makes these phrases stand out and speak to our hearts and souls. So I would try to indulge in every way that I've heard from God before and ways that God traditionally speaks to his people, I figured, the more Bible I read, the more I tried to pray, the more I talked about God with my friends and the more deep lyrics I listened to, eventually one line would stand out and inspire my life again. So I thought of it kind of like buying lottery tickets, the majority of the stuff I heard and read seemed like a waste of time, but some would start to seem like they were going to inspire my life again and make me fall in love with God again, like while I'm scratching a lottery ticket it was revealing something that seemed like a winning card "cherry...cherry...pirate" man! I thought that was the winning ticket. But I'm still not inspired, still have a horrible love for God and obligated love for God. But I thought that was going to be my ticket out of this. But I kept scratching, hoping that one day the Holy Spirit would speak to my soul and wake it up again.
So it was my lack of love for God that would make me not care so much for when I sinned and even allowed me to sin without conviction. I just lived my life uninspired, having a mediocre fondness for God but a deep lack of Him, missing Him strongly, but not currently in a good relationship with Him. Praying that I could get back to square one. I wanted to get back to loving God and loving people again. That was my motto, love God, love people.
The one Sunday that I didn't go to church, was the sermon that spoke to me the most. My roommate told me about the sermon and said that our pastor talked about how we treat God like broccoli, we engage him because we know He is good for us, but we don't enjoy Him. God wants us to enjoy Him. A friend emailed me the other day and also gave me a wonderful reminder of the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was trying to serve and Mary just sat and listened and Jesus said that the Mary that sat at his feet chose the good portion. That's me, I'm Martha, trying so hard to serve God, that I forget that he wants me to enjoy him, sit at his feet, be loved by Him. It's still hard to comprehend, it doesn't seem like it's the God that I learned about growing up.
So I came across the verse where Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is and of course, since I loved that and over-saturated this verse, I knew he was going to say, "love me and love people". I could almost skip this verse, move onto the next part. But I read it, and it said "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind". This was great for my soul to hear. Kind of like when you are pushing a car that's out of gas, someone might say "push! push!" but for some reason, when you hear "push with all your might!", something inside of you gets an extra bit of energy to push. I've been hearing "love God", but I did need to hear "love God with everything you've got". But this again, wasn't the winning ticket, it didn't make me fall in love with God again, it made me want to even more though.
It's what gave me hope to look deeper, to seek God even more. So I was driving, listening to an album that has inspired my life in the past, "Anathallo - Sparrows", a wonderfully written album full of rich lyrics. And there is one song that I heard a lyric that started to make me think "'Father, save me from this heart'...'For it was for this very reason that I came'". After seeing my heart, my pride, selfishness, my sin and seeing who I am, I prayed "Father, save me from this heart". But every time that I've prayed this or similar prayers like "help with with this sin or help me overcome this thought". I kept feeling like I was asking God a favor. Just like when I pray for other things in life, like work and relationships, when I prayed that God would change my heart, I felt like it was the same kind of prayer, me asking Him to do something for me a "hey God, can you do this for me, can you change my heart, please". The church does a great job of telling you to not treat God like santa claus, so I feel bad when I ask anything of God. But the second line, as God is replying to the prayer, "it was for this very reason that I came". God is saying, this is the point, this is why I came, to change your heart. This isn't a break that you are supposed to fix on your own, this isn't a mess you are supposed to clean up. This is why I came to earth in the first place. To save you from your heart, your sin and your pride, to transform you and renew your mind. This thought and prayer has brought me to tears.
And then it hit me that I shouldn't be ashamed to pray to God to change me, but that's the main thing I should be praying, that's what He is in the business of.
As I searched the lyrics of that song, I noticed that those lines came from a prayer of Jesus. And I misheard the lyrics. It is Jesus praying to God saying "Father save me from this hour. But it was for this very reason that I came". So it was a monologue, not a dialogue. It reminded me that it's the Holy Spirit that uses things to teach us, it's Him that speaks through these lines to make us hear and see exactly what it is that we need to. I really believe it was the Holy Spirit that made me mishear the lyrics to speak to my heart. But on the other hand it's a wonderful prayer the other way too, it reminds us that Jesus was grieving, hoping there was another way, but saying "this is why I'm here, to suffer and die so that I can change the hearts of those who ask me" and that's what gave Jesus hope to go through with it.