Saturday, July 5, 2008

On Faith rather than Religion

I had a thought and wanted to jot it down before I forgot all about it.

Many of us seek God looking for the BIG experience. We figure, somehow, that we must see something amazing, all compelling or *feel* something mind-blowing. Much like a young lover thinks real love is found in the breathless butterflies in her tummy.

But I was thinking about this as I was doing dishes. I feel mind-blown whenever I think about my Creator. I feel absolutely certain of the Presence of that Awesome Being in my life whenever I think to look for it. I can see it everywhere, in everything. But it was a slow wooing. Most of my life, I was looking for that "knocked off the donkey, *Pow* straight to the moon!" experience. I went to revivals, teen conferences, big "Holy Roller" concerts. And yeah, I got that "high" that you get when you're at a place like that; all fired up and excited. But much long any romance, the high fades, the honeymoon comes to an end and then...what?

For me, it was learning *where to look* for that mind-blowing realization that I AM is here. Our God does should not NEED to cause foods, burn down entire towns or do things that jar us into shocking reality. Instead, he prefers to woo us like a young lover woos his bride.

In the scripture, we see evidence of him doing massive, supernatural, often catastrophic things. We might be tempted to see him only as a jealous, wrathful God because when it finally comes down to Him desparately trying to get our attention, we stiff-necked, arrogant, blind people don't SEE anything else. It's like the teenager that needs to get his ass kicked because everything else that's been tried just isn't getting through! But every single day we see evidence of the other sides of his nature. There is not a single thing you can look at, a person you can behold or a concept you can wrap your mind around that doesn't, in some way, point right at him. We want fireworks, we want butterflies in our tummy. When we get them, we accuse God of being wrathful, brash, or even evil. But every day, all around us, is evidence of his enormous, incomprehensible beauty. His awesome majesty is on display everywhere we look. Maybe what we really should be asking ourselves is: What gives me those butterflies? Are the butterflies from jumping around with thousands of other people, getting a contact high off of our own excitement? Are the butterflies from seeing fire and brimstone? Do we feel truly trusting and confident in our faith *only* in the face of what we perceive to be a miracle?

When I was a teenager, I fell (briefly) in love with this other teenager I volunteered at a summer camp, with. My previous boyfriend and I were a joke, we broke up. I never felt anything at all for him except some silly, girlish pride that *someone* had noticed me. But with Josh (for that was his name) noticed me we just...clicked. We connected. Oh the butterflies in my belly kept me awake at night. I was excited at times I could scarcely breath. Like Cinderella, I thought, "So this is love..."

Ha. HA.

Well, that ended suddenly (thought not badly and not by our choice) and life went on. That year was the same year I had just met the man I would marry. I realized it a few months after my relationship (if you can call it that) ended with Josh. I knew it as certainly as I know the sun rises in the morning. I was his wife...futurely. That years ago? 13? Something like that. The point is that it was a long time ago, lol. It will be nine years of marriage in December. The butterfly feeling only lasted for like, a year. It went away.

It was replaced by something wholley undefineable. Something so deep, so true and so unbelievably *quiet* that some people never find it. We have fireworks from time to time. But in the "quiet" times, that's when the REAL thing comes out. In the hard times, the "OMG LIFE FRIGGING SUCKS KILL ME NOW" times is when I know, deep inside of myself that THIS is love.

And that is how I feel about my relationship with God. When I was a teenager, Big Conventions were how I got my "spark". Now I get it in m quiet walks in the morning, looking around me and seeing and feeling Him as a presence that is too big for me to see. It's real, it's there and no, I don't spend all of my time wanting to spring to Africa on Missions trips. I don't bounce around wanting to stuff Jesus in everyone's face and save everyone. I'm human, after all, and sometimes I don't think outside of myself much at all. But the real faith, the real relationship is much, much more than I could have imagined as a child. I don't touch people and see them suddenly healed (and that's awesome, I'm not sayign it doesn't happen or isn't real). I have never been instrumental in raising someone from the dead. I've never heard God's voice audibly and I have never spoken in tongues. Those things are all powerful manifestations of the Spirit, but they are not the be all and end all, as Paul teaches. No, it's being STILL and KNOWING that HE is God.

That is the True Love Romance of a relationship is God Almighty.


Anita Ann said...

WHen things become religious it's no good. It's about your relationship with G-d and your faith in HIM and his Son.
You put it very well.
PS I found your blog on the UC group!

Rebekah Costello said...

I'm so glad you're reading! I really wanted a journal that I could keep public (I have a more personal one on Livejournal, "Season_Changing" and I rarely make public posts there.) and it would be fun to have discussions. Can you tell I don't get out much, lol?

Anita Ann said...

I have a J as well that I don't use as often as I use to kitchenvixen