Close to two years ago, I sensed the Lord asking me to stop reading fiction. At the beginning, I resisted the idea that He requested of me. Why would he call me to give up something like reading fiction? Struggling to make sense of this, I decided to stop cold turkey and see what would happen.
Nothing at first.
When my sister was younger, she liked testing my Mom on how far she could go. One day my sister balanced her feet on the edge of the sidewalk and the road. She did this for a couple of minutes, and then when she thought she could, she ran into the middle of the road.
I resumed reading fiction. I didn’t get what He was trying to do or show me. I didn’t think it was hurting me. I am very curious by nature, and I like to know why I am doing something. At first, it was great to be reading some of what I love: Young Adult. Christian fiction in some genres tends to be behind the genres in the secular bookshelf, so most of the YA that I read was secular. Slowly, I started seeing stuff that was subtle, but enough for me to consider if it was good reading material. Questioning some of the questionable helped me to open my eyes, and yes, maybe some material wobbled on the edge.
Maybe I’m balancing on the edge of my tightrope.
Instead of cold turkey on fiction, I prayed if it was okay to read only Christian fiction. Trying to discern whether I was hearing from the Lord. Not sure, but what I was sure about,was the discipline the Lord is sending my way. I know I need discipline because otherwise what needs to get done, just sits waiting.
Two things have come to mind, as this dilemma arose to the surface; discipline and obedience. I ‘ve been reflecting on the fact that everything – almost everything, requires some kind of discipline to get through the day. Lately, I just dragged myself through everything. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do, which brings me to obedience. I’m not quick to just stop what I am doing and do what I believe He wants me to do.
“Don’t put your tongue on the metal in the winter.” I was told this as a little girl, but truth be known I wanted to know what it felt like in the winter. Warmth against cold. One day while waiting on my Mom after swimming classes, I spied on the long black metal rail that ran down to the edge of the road. Gingerly, I laid my tongue on the cold black rail. When my Mom saw what I had done she immediately told me not to rip my tongue off, instead she would get some snow, but I didn’t want to wait, and so I pulled my tongue off the rail.
At least when I heard the Lord speak to me, I would have time to ponder it, dissect it and chew on it, which would bring discipline and obedience into my life.
The last four years, everything that was familiar for hearing the Lord’s voice had vanished. Praying has become like being dragged face down on a gravel road. I used to hear His voice interiorly, deep inside of me, however, the last eight months has only been through His word, and even that is irregular. My sense hearing of Him is no more, and when I pray, I can only hope that I am catching his word for me.
If I stop and think about it – my pithy amount of gratitude for his love and mercy that barely covers what could be considered apathy on my part. A refusal to be disciplined sometimes, more likely a fear of where it will lead me.
I’ll admit it would be easy to start making my own decisions based on what I want, but I was reminded that sometimes God will sit back and let us make the decision. Unfortunately, I have no real experience of my earthly Fathers discipline, so I have nothing to draw from past memories.
Is he asking me to make this decision on my own?
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last , so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. John 15:12-17
Some thoughts on today’s scripture
~My focus now is not on my faith, on what I think or believe. Jesus invites me to accept what he believes about me, how he sees me to be. I am sent to bear fruit. I am trusted. I am loved. http://www.sacredspace.ie/ (accessed June 2014) a website maintained by the Irish Jesuits.
This came to me the other day, that despite not hearing him, He was speaking to me, and yes He wants me to make decisions because he trusts and loves me. It speaks volumes to have my Heavenly father say, “Go ahead, I trust you to make a good decision.”