Like everyone else I know right now, I am caught up in the Olympics. This week I watched men fly, and it made me want to fly, too.
I am always amazed to see men scooch out on to a bar where they sit calmly as they contemplate the plunge they are about to take. With seemingly no fear, they slip from their perch and race down an insanely steep slope toward an abrupt end of the track. However, instead of falling off the edge and plummeting downward where injury or death awaits, they launch themselves into the air and fly.
When I was little, I watched the men fly then, too. However, they looked different. They would line up straight as possible to reduce friction that would reduce their forward momentum. Now, they fly with arms spread and skis in a wide-V. One of the jumpers explained that they've learned the more air they could keep in contact with, the more it helped hold them fly.
I fully understand.
It is easy to think avoiding all the negative things will make me a better Christian. However, I have found if I truly want to fly, it's not what I avoid but what I choose to stay in contact with that keeps me going.
There are a variety of ways to stay in contact with God. Going to church to worship and learn from the pastor is a great beginning. Being part of a strong group of believers who encourage and challenge really stimulates growth. Periodic retreats or conferences can also feed one's soul, but there are so many more ways to have contact--personal contact--with the Lord every day.
A few of my "constant contact" things include:
Morning quiet time. I get up, and instead of booting up my computer, I open up my Bible. Sometimes I pray, "Lord, lead me where you want me to go and reveal what you want to impart," and I open the Bible and start reading. Other times I research a specific topic. Right now, I am reading through the Bible again. When I struggle with focusing, I ask the Lord for help and keep plowing through.
Journal. Journaling isn't about my religious discipline. I don't journal everyday. I don't journal because someone told me to do it. I journal so I don't forget. I write down prayers, heartaches, gratitude, answers to prayer, scriptures that really speak to me, things people say that feed my spirit. The whole purpose is to remember what the Lord says, apply to my life, and build my faith because of His faithfulness.
Constant prayer. I am a homeschooling mother of two. I don't have time to kneel by my bed for hours. However, I talk to the Lord all day long. We talk about breakfast, the order of the day, how to explain algebra, how to respond calmly when I am frustrated because I don't understand how hard it is to remember 7x8 is 56, how I can bless my husband when he comes home, what to write about in my blog, what to teach at our co-op, and so on. We talk about EVERYTHING. I heard for a long time that nothing is too big for God. What really changed my prayer life was when I realized nothing was too small for Him either. He loves to be right in the middle of everything. He's my best friend, and we talk constantly.
Hearing God. I get asked about this a lot. I think there are two keys to hearing God. 1. Believing He talks. 2. Recognizing His voice. I believe God loves to talk about life in general. I am His presence here. Paul calls it being an ambassador. I am not the Holy Spirit, but I am the representative. The Lord loves sharing how to bless His children, bring His heart into a situation, and impact His world. He loves telling me what I need to eat so His temple is well cared for. He loves being involved.
The most common question is how He sounds. For me, it is usually a lot like a thought that could easily be mine, except it usually requires action on my part that I would probably like to ignore. :-) For instance, one day the children were exploding with behavioral issues. Instead of reacting in anger, I took time to pray for wisdom. I needed to deal with the source of the problem, not simply react. The very clear thought came to my mind, "Take them to the zoo." I promise you that was not me. I was not going to reward these out of control children with the zoo. That was crazy. I prayed again. "Take them to the zoo." Fine. I'll take them to the zoo. I'll add my wild animals with their wild animals, and we'll see just how well that goes. We had been at the zoo less than ten minutes when these rebelling, obnoxious children put their arms around me and said, "Mom, we are sorry for the way we acted. We love you. Thank you for taking us to the zoo even though we were bad." I would have NEVER taken them to the zoo, but God knew what they needed. Odd answers that go against the comfort of my flesh? Probably God.
Being overwhelmed by Him. I make it a practice to be amazed by Him. I choose to make note of good things He does, blessings He gives, and prayers He gives. I take time to consider His love and be amazed by grace. If anything makes me fly, it's the overwhelming reality of a love that uses grace to reach beyond my imperfections to show mercy and connect our hearts.
Saying goodnight. When I lie in bed and am in the process of falling asleep, I talk with the Lord about the day, various things on my mind, ways He overwhelms me. I pray for people who are on my heart, and I thank Him for the multiple of blessings He has poured out on me, those I love, and my country. I think about the scriptures of the morning and the words of the day, and I ask Him for wisdom. Again, we just talk. I listen as He shares ways I could have responded better or been more forward acting. We share hearts, and when I slip into sleep, our hearts are one.
As a Christian, I still fall down. It is part of being human and living in a fallen world. However, I have found I don't have to be imprisoned by my own imperfections. Instead, I scooch onto a promise of His faithfulness, slip from my comfort zone into the wild adventure of His vision, and when I reach the end of my own ability, I leap into His presence and His promises. He is there to lift me above what the human mind believes is possible...
And I fly.
Copyright Jerri Phillips 2010