I spent the better part of my life living as a religious woman. I did what I was told a good Christian should do. Performance and striving were a way of life for me. Guilt, condemnation and shame were frequent visitors. The more they visited, the busier I became.
In all honesty, I believed that my religious acts would somehow bring me the closeness I desired with God. If I followed all the rules maybe it would be enough to draw near to me. I could believe God would fellowship with me when I was doing religious stuff. But would He be with me in the mundane? I wasn’t so sure. I was afraid to slow down long enough to find out.
That’s when the invitation arrived.
“Jewel, come to the wilderness with Me.” “I want to teach you how to see me as husband, instead of Master.”
His isolation is the opposite of our isolation. He pulls us away in order to reveal. We, on the other hand, isolate in order to hide.
There’s something magical about the land of isolation with God. Pretense and performance are removed. It’s just you and Him. It’s in that place that you begin to discover what you are made of, what’s really inside of you.
One of my favorite movies is “Hildalgo”. It’s the story about a man named Frank Hopkins. He’s half Indian, half white man. Tormented by a painful childhood memory he loses sight of his heritage. He’s forgotten who he is.
He’s known for his endurance horse racing. A representative of an Arabian nation sees him in a wild west show. He invites him to come to his country and compete in a race against a royally bred Stallion. The race will be held smack dab in the middle of the desert. He will face elements he’s never experienced before while all alone in a foreign country. He accepts.
The ride in the desert was laden with obstacles and challenges. It was a long, hard, arduous ride. Frank’s determination and will kept him from giving up, though at times he wanted to. As he fought against each obstacle, the man inside began to break out. Little by little he reengaged with who he was. By the end of the race he knew what was in him.
One of the reasons I love that movie is because it speaks to me of my own story. God had allured me to His isolation. Alone with my kids, my husband and God, unable to serve in any capacity, I began to see the many masks I had worn. What I had relied on for value was what I could do. I had allowed my ability to fulfill religious requirements to define who I was.
In the wilderness, His words began to pierce into a deep place in my soul. He told me He had no requirements. There was nothing I “should” do. He ached for me to need to be loved by Him. That was all. He began to reveal to me who He was and who I was to Him. Life turned a corner for me. I will never be the same.
Aches within me began to rise up to the surface. I was made aware of longings that almost took my breath away. It was then I realized. That’s His heart beating in me, inviting me to join Him where He is.
In the yearnings of my heart I realize that those things I long for, are the things He longs for too. Made in His image, His fingerprints are all over my life. Coming to terms with who I am has unleashed Him in me.
Sometimes the desires unfulfilled bring a pain all their own. It’s in those times that I identify with Him the most. He longs for intimacy with mankind in a way that most will likely never fully understand.
His heart has been misrepresented and misunderstood. It’s not our fulfilled requirements He’s after. It us. God aches for us. It’s that simple.
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14
©copyrighted: 2009 Julie L. Todd