Lately I am digging deep into things. Heart things. Things like my insecurity and my fears of what people think and of conflict. (Broken record alert.) These things keep coming up in life, and I want to work through them once and for all.
But on the other hand, I want to do anything other than deal with them. Watch all the TV shows, shop, eat – whatever keeps me from having to deal with myself.
Also at this point I have a strong feeling of wanting to resist God. Like, don’t want to pray, don’t want to read, don’t want to talk about it, no, thank you.
You know what, though? I’m actually embracing this feeling of resistance, this stage of my relationship with him. Before you get all up at arms at me about my sacrilegiousness, here’s why:
First, any relationship worth having involves overcoming obstacles.
If I didn’t fight with my husband, my family, my friends – well, things wouldn’t be real, would they? People are imperfect, and conflict happens. We work through it, and come out stronger because of it. I think to know that God and I are going through something difficult means to me that the relationship is real, and worth fighting for.
On a similar note, it helps to look at this feeling as a symptom. It means something is going on at the heart level. Fevers and pain are the body’s way of telling us something is going on, and often when we deal with it, our body is that much better for it.
Second, it makes me realize Satan is trying to dig in his heels, which means I’m in a place to move closer to God.
Remember the snake in the Garden of Eden? His question to Eve was, “Did God really say…?” (Genesis 3) He springs on opportunities to divide us from God (Job 1). He whispers lies because they’re his native tongue (John 8:44). So if he’s working hard to make me feel distant from God, it means I’m in a position to get closer to God than ever before. It actually gives me hope.
Third, if I’m fighting to be closer to God, I know for sure he is fighting to be close to me too.
God’s mission (or his “ministry”) is reconciliation with us, and he went to unimaginable lengths to make it happen (2 Corinthians 5:16-21). He “longs to be gracious” to us and “rises to show you compassion” (Isaiah 30:18-19 NIV). His ears are “attentive to [our] cry” (Psalm 34:15 NIV). God doesn’t put us in a position to suffer just for fun; he hates to see us hurt. But he will allow us to struggle so that we can grow and know him better, giving him room to work.
Notice I said “feeling resistant to God” rather than “resisting God”. When we’re at a crossroads like this, we have a choice – run from God (and the challenge), or run towards him. Sometimes it’s all I can do to choke out a prayer. Everything in me says I just. Don’t. Want. To. But the good thing is, once I start, it gets better. The words pour out, the scriptures get found, the tears start, but I feel better after.
Finally, friends, I didn’t always feel like this. The minute a conflict came up between me and God, anxiety and guilt would take over. Does this mean I’m not a Christian? What’s wrong with me? Why am I not faithful enough? And on and on.
It’s taken times like these in my life (over and over) to realize that getting stirred up in my relationship with God is not a bad thing. It’s just a crossroads, and a closer, deeper relationship is waiting on the other side. It takes holding on for the ride, even if it’s inches rather than miles at first.
Do you ever feel resistant to God? What can you do to run towards him, rather than away?
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.