Saturday, September 17, 2011

Getting Ready For God

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I had lunch with a dear friend recently and she recounted to me two different "beach day" experiences with her boys.  I know I won't get all of the details right, but come with me and see if you find yourself in this story...

Everything Plus The Kitchen Sink

It's been a while since I've taken a baby (or two for that matter) to the beach. But as my friend was telling me about this excursion the memories came flooding back. She had planned an afternoon at the beach with her two young sons and put together all the necessities for the outing. While I'm not sure of everything she packed, I'm sure it included a beach blanket, swimsuits (and extras just in case), sun hats (and an extra just in case), diapers (and extras just in case), wet wipes (and extras just in case), snacks (and extras just in case), bottles (and extras just in case), pacifiers (and extras just in case), towels (and extras just in case), sunglasses (and extras just in case), sunscreen (and extra just in case), water (and extra just in case), a dry change of clothes (and extras just in case), beach toys, and a beach umbrella. Whew!  I'm quite sure I've left out some very important beach baby gear, but you get the picture.  Off she went loaded down, toddler in hand and baby on hip. Now, that is one courageous mommy if you ask me!

What seemed to be perfectly planned quickly turned horribly wrong. Crying unhappy boys, and a frustrated harried mom adequately describe that trip. My friend did not tell me all the gory details but suffice it to say that all the well meaning preparation had little effect compared to the nature and the wills of two little boys! She could have prepared for days and brought even more baby paraphernalia, to no avail!

Nothing

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Weeks passed and my friend was in the car with her boys. She decided to take a detour and drive down the beach, and as she drove she was captivated by its beauty.  Although she had boys in tow and had not prepared for a beach outing (and had nothing with her remotely resembling beach or baby gear), she could not resist the temptation to stop and dig their toes into white sandy beach and skip through shallow waves of sparkling blue ocean.  She spied an up front beach parking spot, pulled in and unbuckled the boys with delight.  Armed with a pillowcase for a beach towel, they headed across the sand - one little guy in a diaper and the other one in his superhero undies. Oh, what a delightful surprise adventure! Fun and laughter and discovery and hilarity was had by all as they enjoyed this simple pleasure.

Come As You Are

As I contrasted these two outings in my mind I could not help notice the similarities to the way I approach God. Maybe you do this - If I am ready, I come. If I have been reading my Bible and having my devotions and if I have been obedient to what God has called me to do, I feel prepared or ready to approach God. I need to have all the right stuff in place first. Is my Bible next to me? Have I organized my thoughts? Did I go to church this week and have I been nice to my family? Is there anything else I should "pack" to be prepared to meet with God? Even as I'm writing this I am thinking of all the ways I put off my time with the Lord because deep down I don't think I'm ready. I don't think I've done everything I should do to come before him. I deep down believe that my time with him will be so much better if I am prepared! I have believed that God will be more pleased with me if I have organized my prayers and come with an intentional thought out plan!

In the same way that all the preparations my friend made for their beach trip were unnecessary, so too are my preparations for meeting with God. In fact, Jesus says "come"...period. He does not say "do your Bible reading and devotion and make sure you've gone to bible study this week and then come".

he just says...

"come".

All those things I bring to God "just in case" are unnecessary. All the ways I focus on what I need to do in this relationship actually keep me further away from the intimacy with God I long for! Jesus reminds me once again "My child, it's not up to you. I have made all the preparations.  You only need to come."  You can stop obsessing about what I might think of you. I have already made up my mind about you. You are my bride, my beloved, the one I died for and the one I live for. There is nothing more you have to do. Just come."

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this, Lori! It's been knocking around in my head this week and has been so helpful to me (maybe in part because I can strongly identify with the two stories! :)) I didn't realize how much I worry about being "prepared" to come to God - I'm a planner and that's what I do! How freeing to remember that all He asks is for me to come and delight in being with Him. What a great reminder!

    Laura K.

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  2. Thank you Laura! I'm with you - I didn't really realize it myself until I started thinking more about it. It is very subtle, but it can lead to a downward spiral when all we do is worry about what we have to do and we forget about what Christ has already done. Thanks for stopping by! Give your boys a hug for me :)

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