We encounter God in the ordinariness of life, not in search for spiritual highs and extraordinary mystical experiences but in our simple presence in life
~ Brennan Manning
I read those words in a book one day during my junior year of college.
A time when I was feeling lost and confused. During a time when I was doubting everything and pretty much everyone.
I was caught up in a game of Christianity. A game where I felt like my walk with Christ had to look like the people around me. A game where it seemed like everyone had a list of how to live this perfect Christ-follower life and I was desperately trying to get my list right, putting check marks next to each "accomplishment" as I felt l was one step closer to being that perfect Christian.
I got lost in all that junk and felt so defeated. And so worried. Worried that I wasn't feeling God like I was supposed to. Worried that I couldn't hear Him like it seemed others could. Worried that I was a lesser Christian because my list of experiences didn't add up to theirs.
Comparison. It is a mighty and well used tool of the enemy.
And then one day, while on vacation at the beach with my best friend and her family I read this sentence and my life was forever changed.
I can remember where I was sitting, when I read this sentence. I was leaning back in a chair by the pool (because who wants to actually go to the beach and get all sandy, gross) and I had picked up my friend's book Abba's Child.
I began reading just out of curiosity of what she was reading and I couldn't stop. Every word, every sentence pulled me in. Spoke to me. And then I read that sentence and it changed everything. It changed my attitude. It changed my game of comparison and trying to live up to what somebody else's idea of a "perfect Christ-follower" looked like. It broke me.
This past Friday I learned that the author of that book and many other amazing books passed away. And I was met with such a strange feeling.
I have never met this man, I have no relationship with him or know him personally but because he listened to the stirring on his heart to write a book my life was forever changed.
I have now experienced a freedom in Christ that I never knew before reading that sentence.
And as I let a few tears fall in the mourning of the passing of a brother in Christ I stopped and thanked The Lord for his beautiful work. For giving certain people the art of writing and for putting words on their heart that stretch further than those hands ever could imagine as they pen out sentences and paragraphs.
For using words and art and music and whatever else to reach people when they least expect it. For being so big, yet so small. For using someone across the United States to reach me on vacation when I least expected it.
For showing me that a relationship with Him is not a game. It is not a list of check marks. It does not look like another person's. It is an individual, ordinary, simple, yet profound relationship. It is not something that just happens when I'm standing at church worshiping, or doing something to try and make myself feel closer to God. It comes through everyday, ordinary, living of life. Living for Him.
It took me reading one sentence to realize all that. To finally see that truth that I know God had been trying to get to me. And he used one man as a vessel to speak so clearly to me.
It's funny how I was trying so hard to find God through experiences, and approval of other people and making it some complex thing, and yet the Lord used a simple book on a simple afternoon to just completely change me.
I am so thankful.
And, if you are that person, like I was that is searching everywhere for God, trying to find Him through experiences and highs and anything else I urge you to just stop.
Stop and take a deep breathe and breath him in. He is there. He is listening. He simply Is.