So. It’s been a messy two weeks since my last post and I feel like that page in a child’s colouring book where all the colours are in funny places and all over the lines and it doesn’t make any sense. Sort of like making the elephant orange and the flowers black and the sky green.
But, I read this post by Beautybeyondbones today where she’s been sharing about how she’s helping take care of her mom who is recovering from a stroke. Some of her mom’s friends asked her how she keeps God in her life and they seemed to regard her as particularly special for attending church every Sunday, in contrast to the general culture of today. Read her post to see her answer.
The point is that the question, how I keep God in my life, is answered by my messy colouring book metaphor. I keep God in my life because, just as she says, He saved my life and I wouldn’t have bothered sticking around without Him. That’s the short answer to the question.
But what does it mean practically? What does it mean in my life? How do I do the “keeping” of God in my life?
I cannot answer the question of how without including the why, so here it is.
Watch and listen
Sometimes, I need to shut up and listen to keep God in my life, or I won’t be able to hear His voice, His direction, reassurance, truth and perspective on what looks unfixable to me.
Other times, I need to open my mouth and tell myself and others what I know He has said in His Word, so that I can make that truth louder than the doubts temping my thoughts.
I keep God in my life by listening how He works and speaks in the lives of other people. Most of the time, at least one person is either going through the exact same thing, or just went through it last week and what helped them, helps me. Vice versa gives me the chance to pass it on, too.
I keep God in my life because He IS in my life, whether I feel like it or not. Whether I can sense His presence or hear His voice or not. The very fact that He is there, reminds me that the “keeping” is about relationship. The “keeping” of God also means that I treasure what I’ve learned in His presence, through His people and His Word and the world He created. I “keep” awareness of Him within me, “practicing” His presence, as Brother Lawrence put it in his classic book, The Practice of the Presence of God.
Let God be God
I “keep” returning to God when I’ve missed the mark and disobeyed. I have nowhere else to go to correct, restore and redeem my life in the way that only He can.
Listening to the silence, I am answered without words. Instead, I find myself knowing in my deepest part that He is for me. He loves me. He is with me and will never leave me nor forsake me. I find my soul quieted like a little child with its mother, and I am able to stop fretting if I “keep” this connection undisturbed by temper or fear.
My child’s joyful face and the tenderness of her heart keep God in my life. The responsibility of parenthood is but a fraction of how seriously God loves me and it is a perspective that uplifts me when I find it overwhelming.
The morning light, the belt of Orion and praying for the smell of rain in our drought-ridden country compel me to remember that God is God and I am not.
Remember and receive
I read the Bible, I pray from it and return myself to the incredible promises in it every time I am faced with challenges and impossible circumstances. Keeping God in my life is my only way out of situations that I do not have the power to resolve by myself. Remembering that He parted the Red Sea for a stubborn nation that had great difficulty following and trusting Him, reassures me that He will make a way for me, too, even though I don’t deserve it.
Then, the beauty of it is that the colours of His grace are greater than the lines of what I can see in the current picture. When the flowers look black, it’s only because they have a star at the centre. The sky can be green, elephants can be orange and everything can be different.
As long as He colours my life, it will be beautiful. I don’t have to be afraid that my life will be a page completely forgotten and uncoloured.