Disclaimer- This is an “in house” memo. If you’re not a believer, you’re probably better off not reading this one. DM
Photos from my journal 1988
I can still remember when it happened. We were living @ 1561 Green Wood Lake Turnpike, about 5 minutes East of West Milford New Jersey. I was miserable. (see photo above) We were broke, 1000 miles from family pursueing schooling so I could be a marriage and family counselor, 4 kids, living check to check, way too busy with “church” activities.and I read this Scripture:
“Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” It was talking about what is supposed to happen in the lives of a believer. Literally, God himself should be flowing out of my life like a river. What would that look like? Well, I thought, rivers of joy, peace, love, compassion, confidence, The qualities I imagined Jesus would have evidenced.
I read that and thought to myself, “Now that is a joke.” at best, there is tiny trickle maybe…but a river…Nada
It was at that point I said to God, “It says there are supposed to be rivers of living water flowing from my life and I barely see a trickle.I give up.” Show me what that looks like.”
I dropped out of all my “church” responsibilities, decided I was going to focus on being a better dad and husband…I knew it might tick off some of those in leadership, but frankly I didn’t care. When you’re a people pleaser and you finally say enough is enough- what a rush.
Over the next several weeks, something started happening. I remember having this mirthful grin. I felt like I was in on a secret- just between God and I. My friend John Reilly commented to me weeks later…”Doug, there’s something different about you, I not sure what it is. “
I went from trying to imitate Jesus to experiencing him live through me. I kid you not…there is a night and day difference between me trying to “imitate” Jesus and him living through me. I know that might sound a little abstract and mystical. I can’t help it. I would be willing to bet, I’m not the first person who has made the same mistake.
That would have been in the Fall of 1989. When I’m doing well spiritually I feel like Michael Jordan on the basketball court in his prime. It just flows. When I’m not, I can also feel it. That sense of connection with God lasted for months, long enough for me to recognize when it’s not there now. It’s not a one time thing. It really is a day by day thing for me.
I know that if I cop an attitude with my wife, it directly affects that connections.
It really has nothing to do with going to some building on Sunday. If you are spiritually healthy, then you will long to connect with your spiritual siblings, somewhere. It has nothing to do with giving a certain percentage of your money somewhere…if you’re spiritually healthy, you want to help others. It has nothing to do with saying certain “prayers” at certain times. Your conversation with the divine will have an ebb and flow to it, just like you have with anyone you care for. Its not something you have to legislate.
Thoughts, comments, questions?