*Part Two of the Radical Read-Along with Marla Taviano
When I get truly overwhelmed with something – whether my work load, my schedule, my emotions or just life in general – I have a tendency to switch into a kind of inactive denial mode. This of course does nothing but intensify the problem (as things continue to pile up) and does not deal with the core issue (whether lack of planning, being over-committed, or needing to face some deep, emotional struggles). But when I don’t feel that I can face those difficult situations, I just completely shut down.
After reading chapter two in Radical, I am feeling that desire to shut down creep back into my life. At the same time, I am (perhaps for the first time) ready to admit how often I’ve let this over-whelmed inactivity take hold of my spiritual growth and my response to the Bible.
“We don’t like what we see of ourselves in the gospel, so we shrink back from it.” (Radical, page 31)
How true this has been in my own life! How much of the Bible I have ignored because it was too hard, or it didn’t make sense (but I was too lazy and disinterested to seek an answer) or it made me realize how wretched I am (which, instead of causing me to depend on God more, would spawn denial).
“The gospel reveals eternal realities about God that we would sometimes rather not face. We prefer to sit back, enjoy our clichés and picture God as a Father who might help us, all the while ignoring God as a Judge who might damn us. Maybe this is why we fill out lives with the constant drivel of entertainment in our culture – and in the church. We are afraid that if we stop and really look at God in his Word, we might discover that he evokes greater awe and demands deeper worship that we are ready to give him.” (Radical, page 29)
There are so many things that I use to distract myself from what the gospel tells me my response to God and to Christ should be – namely reading novels, perusing the Internet and watching movies. Oftentimes, I justify this empty entertainment with excuses of “boredom” or the need to “vedge out.” But hold on there – if I’m seeking after God with all my whole heart, mind and soul, then there shouldn’t be room in my life for boredom! There shouldn’t be the need to vedge out when my soul is being refreshed through resting in God’s presence.
Am I ready to give God the awe and worship He deserves? I want to say, “yes,” but I feel my heart hesitating. My “deceitfully wicked” heart is shrinking back from the full truth of the gospel. I don’t know what to do, especially when I know that there is nothing I can do. I’m a doer by nature and I’m struggling with this paradox. I guess what I can “do” is to ask God to change my heart, to draw me to Him and pray that He will prepare me to be able to handle what I discover in His presence. I also need to devour the Word of God like the believers Platt mentions in chapter two. If I truly want to follow God, I need to know Him better, which would mean I'd need to spend some desperate time with Him. This is one area of change I can start with. But will I? That is the question I keep wrestling with.
I'm having a hard time articulating all this, I know. I'm sorry that I'm so muddled. All I really know at this point is that I don't want things to stay the same. My issue is that don't know what "not the same" looks like yet.