I don’t know if you carry on full conversations with other people in your head, but I do. I plan out what I’ll say, and what their response could be and what my response to their response will be. By the time I reach that person, I hardly even need to have the conversation because I’ve had it 20 times and with every possible pattern of multiple choice answers. We won’t talk about how I usually replay the worst case scenario conversations over and over to be sure I can handle those tough conversations and generally the real conversation is the best case scenario.
I also have question and answer sessions in my head, where I ask myself “How would I respond if someone asked me…..” And then give myself something to think about, to self reflect, to think on what I really believe about things or find out if there are areas where I could study and learn more.
In a related note, I recognize that I have a lot of free time on my hands.
The nice thing about conversations with God is that it doesn’t leave me feeling lost in messages trying to guess the answer the other person would give. It is uniquely different from the kind of conversations I’ve described where I think of the smorgasbord of replies and taste test each to see if they’re palatable. There is just one plate served at the dinner conversation between Him and me. I may at times be tempted to arrive at the table with my own carry-in dish, but ultimately and consistently, God waits til I see that it is His table, His meal. He is the host, not me.
Since the day we moved here I have revisited this same conversation with God. Why did you bring me here? What are you doing with me here? This question about purpose has come up over and over again. Each time He has responded, “I’m preparing you.” Preparing me. For what? “I’m preparing you.” Just over and over the same answer.
There is no struggle on that answer. Just assurance that even if I don’t know what I’m being prepared for, that’s what God was doing with me since we moved to Va. Now, I understand that God is always growing his followers, always stretching them and perfecting them as they allow, but a number of months ago, God stopped answering me with that same phrase and started using a new phrase, showing me what this preparation is for.
I drove into Harrisonburg yesterday having one of those head conversations with a friend, trying to explain this sense I have, the root of my confusion. It is as if for years I’ve been on a leash, learning to take steps at my master’s pace, learning that there is no use pulling against the collar, I can’t drag God. I have spent the past 3 years being taught how to heel.
And then he took off the collar.
I’ve been unleashed.
I see this common dog standing there looking up at the one who has trained him with questioning eyes, and hear the master say “GO!”
But where? To what end?
How does this beast whose nature has been improved begin to take that journey?
I got to my destination and had the conversation with my friend that I’d been playing in my head when that comparison came to mind, but in the conversation it never came up. I shelved the thought and figured I’d carry it around with me for a while and soak in it til I understand it better, something I have a tendency to do, marinate in a concept.
Last night I went to church, the third Monday of each month there is a gathering where the topic of holiness is taught. There Pastor Kerry shared how after the emancipation of the slaves, there were slaves who resisted leaving their masters. Their masters had loved them and the slaves grew to love their masters and even though they’d been set free, they chose to stay with their slave owner families. Even though their owners would say “Go,” they wouldn’t accept their freedom and just stayed.
That image of the unleashed dog came back to the surface and I saw the difference. Jesus has liberated us, continues to liberate us, supplying more and more freedom to us as we fall deeper and deeper into Him. However he doesn’t take the leash off and say “Go.” That was never His intention with our freedom.
Just as God created us to be relational….
Just as Jesus came down to commune with us….
Just as the Spirit came to dwell within us….
The nature of God is never to unleash us and release us.
It is to run with us.
I stand at the knee of my master, looking up at Him, wondering where He wants me to go, what He wants me to do. He says His new phrase to me, “Let’s go,” and breaks into a slow jog glancing to be sure I understand, and happily, I am running to keep pace.