I have a good friend who says, “God is so real, he meets us where we really are.”
I love this phrase, not only because it’s pithy, catchy, and tweetable, but because it causes us to be honest with ourselves about what’s going on inside us.
A few weeks ago, I had a lunch appointment with a fellow pastor in the area. As we sat down to our table, he asked me how I was doing. I was tempted to simply say, “Good. Things are good.” And then return the question. But instead, I decided to open up a part of my life where I had been experiencing anxiety and fear. That lead to a 30-40-minute conversation about why I was feeling that way.
Before that conversation, I had yet to tell anyone else about this growing anxiety. But I was noticing that in moments of anxiety, I was quick to displace my worry by internally blaming others for why I was feeling the way I was feeling. But at lunch that afternoon, once I started to name my anxiety and the way that I was dealing with it, two things started to happen. One, the anxiety began to lose its grip on me. And two, I had a greater awareness of God’s power and presence in my life.
(Side Note: I realize that anxiety disorders are a real thing and that they are incredibly nuanced and complex. I don’t mean to suggest that if you have an anxiety disorder speaking your worries out loud will remedy your situation. I’m merely using my anxious feelings as an example.)
What I found to be even more surprising, was that a few days after that lunch meeting, I was in another conversation and ended up sharing with another person this same anxiety and my misguided patterns of dealing with it. I wasn’t intending to share it, but again, sharing and naming it loosened the grip of my anxiety in my life and I was more aware of God’s presence and power.
God is so real, he meets us where we really are.
If we desire to see transformation happen in our lives, it starts with beginning to be honest with ourselves, and with God, about where we really are. If you’re anything like me, it’s easier to shift blame as to why you are feeling the way you are feeling (whether it’s fear, worry, doubt, anger, skepticism), make excuses, or even deny that you are feeling that way, rather than simply own it and say this is true about me.
If you don’t have any orientation to where you are, it’s nearly impossible to figure out how to reach your destination. For example, if I want to get to Atlanta I’m going to travel a much different route to get there if I’m starting in Milwaukee than if I’m starting in Boston. If I’m confused about my starting point — believing I’m in Boston when I’m really in Milwaukee — I will have a really hard time navigating the route forward. But if I have clarity that I’m starting in Milwaukee and not Boston, it will be much easier to plot out my route.
The same is true with our spiritual lives. If the destination is transformation, specifically transformation to be more like Christ, we need awareness of where we are and the things in our lives that are hindering transformation from happening.
So, instead of denying, hiding, or pretending that you’re in a different place than you really are, own it. Have the courage to say, “This is where I am.” Invite others to inhabit that place with you. Invite the Spirit in as well. Because, really, the Spirit already knows where you are before you do.
Open yourself up to God in that space. See what he has to teach you about yourself. But more importantly, see what he has to teach you about Himself.
God is so real, He will meet you where you really are.
So, where are you?