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Wondering Why We Wander

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Have you ever looked back on your faith journey and wondered how you even got to the place you’re standing now?  In my small group that I attended, we were challenged to look back and reflect on all of life’s challenges that we’d faced and the roller coaster ride our faith has been on.  The hills and valleys, the corkscrews and the plummets from up high.  

It’s easy to see where God was working through my life during that time of reflection and also easy to see where I had turned my back on Him.  But it provided me an opportunity to question why I allowed my journey to stray from the ever-loving support and guidance of my God time and time again.

Why after I had experienced time away from church, did I come back for a time, only to then try to find something else that would give me the same sense of fulfillment and satisfaction?  Why did I push God, my family and my friends away during the most difficult times of my life?  Why did I think it was okay to act in the manner that I did when all along I believe in God and considered myself a Christian?

It’s easy to question our faithfulness in those moments of reflection.  It’s easy to doubt if we’re really “good enough” to be included in the family of God.  It’s also easy to begin doubting you’ll ever be able to stay on that path of the straight and narrow because you’ve fallen off the horse so many times, that it looks like you’re destined to continue.  So how do we come out the other side of these doubts and worries and anxieties regarding our faith and our tendencies to wander?

We pray.  We read our Bible.  We listen to the teachings of inspirational speakers and theologians.  We read books on the topic, and we connect with others that are facing the same difficulties.  

Did you notice there that in all of those “to dos” I didn’t mention a single thing about being alone in this process?

No matter how isolated you feel your situation is,
you’re never alone.  God’s already there. [Tweet this]

As we pray, we connect with God.  As we listen to the teachings of inspiration speakers and theologians, we listen to their words, and read books on the topic of our faith journeys and tendencies to wander, we listen to and read their words that were inspired by God.  And did He not say in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them”?

So with these connections and resources at our disposal, why do we keep straying?

As a part of my small group, we also participated in Timothy Keller’s study “The Reason for God”, where he sits down with people of different ethnic, racial, religious and agnostic backgrounds to discuss the “myths of Christianity”.  The study was chocked full of information, but from that study I gathered a couple of invaluable pieces of information that spoke so clearly about my own faith and who I am as a believer of God.  

  • The Definition of Christians:  We’re a broken people, admitting guilt, shame, defeat, and sin.  We’re a people that recognize our self-centered and self-righteous motives as sin and seek forgiveness for these acts.  We know that we as broken humans are wrought with scars of sin and are not worthy of Christ’s love, yet He still gives it freely.

As a Christian, we recognize our faults and that we will never measure up to be worthy of the love that Christ so freely gives.  It is our human nature to sin and living in this world; we are presented with opportunities at every corner to stray.  Satan whispers doubts and fears of failure into our ears and because our flesh is weak, we believe it and so we stray.  

It is only by the grace of God that we are saved by the hand of sin and death.  But we cannot allow it to be an excuse to go on sinning.  The second bit of insight that I gathered from Keller was regarding the “rules” in which we are called to live by and how others see it as an opportunity of failure.

  • Why do Christians follow the “rules”?  Aren’t they impossible to follow?  Isn’t the Bible setting them up for failure?  Christians follow “the rules” because we’ve been forgiven and received mercy and grace.  It’s our way to say to God, “this is how much I love you and what you’ve done for me”.  It’s like a budding relationship where your heart is in your throat and you start making adjustments to your daily living so to be more accommodating and pleasing to your mate because you hope that they will make the same sacrifices for you.  For Christians, the sacrifice has already been made.  It’s now our turn to do right by making sacrifices ourselves.

Renee Swopes’ book, “A Confident Heart”, also touches on grace and whether or not it’s a license to sin.  On page 187 of the book she says, “A confident woman knows that it’s not.  Instead, she realizes grace is the security of knowing God’s love is guaranteed for her because she trusts in Christ.  Really understanding His sacrificial gift accomplishes the opposite of granting a license to sin.  When we grasp what Jesus did for us, we want to return the gift of His life by offering our to Him, even if our offering isn’t perfect or even perfectly consistent.”

So I know, you’re still wondering what we can gleam from these teachings from inspirational Christian writers.  To me they’re teaching the passage from Matthew 7:24-27:

“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

We must put our faith wholly in the one and true living God and strive to live these truths each day.  We must place our faith in something that can withstand any war or raging sea that comes upon us.  We must trust that God will carry us through our doubts, our fears and our failures.  Our feet may falter and we may fall, but as long as our Lord is our foundation, we will not be ruined.

Will my faith and trust be tested?  YES.  Will I wander from God’s side?  More than likely.  But as long as I keep crying out to my Father, like the lyrics in Josh Wilson’s song, “Carry Me” says, I’ve got a chance of making it. 
“Father please hold on to me, you’re all I’ve got!
Carry me, carry me, carry me now.
From my sinking sand, to your solid ground.
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out, 
is if you carry me, carry me, carry me.
God carry me, carry me, carry me now.”

[Listen to it here – Carry Me]
How have you found your way back when you find yourself wandering from God’s side?
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  1. Thank you for sharing your heart! Isn’t it wonderful that when we wander away from God He is always there to draw us back and love us. There is such a security in that. I love the way you described doing things for Him because we love Him and want to make the relationship better and ourselves better. Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

    1. Marlene,
      Thank you for stopping by! It is wonderful that no matter how far we stray, He has the power and the willingness to pull us right back. There’s no other relationship that I can think of that could withstand the ups and downs that I’ve had with God, but I am thankful that He’s willing to put up with me! 🙂 I pray you and your family are blessed this Christmas – have a merry one!

  2. Lovely, Bree! That is the best definition of “Christian” I have ever read! He is Perfection – we are the unworthy objects of His Grace – that gives definition to the word “Grace” – splendid thought to take into my day!

    1. Kathryn,
      Oh, thank you! I cannot take full credit on the definition as it was inspired by Timothy Keller’s study (which I highly recommend), but I am thankful to know that you have been blessed by the message. Grace and peace to you, my sister! Merry Christmas!

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