What am I hiding from? Does God really see and know me? Does he love me? What does my busyness keep me from facing? What makes me scramble for affirmation? Who do I think I am? Who does God say I am? What is my true identity?
Have you ever considered such compelling questions? I have.
Author, Michelle DeRusha, explains in her book, True You, that in the midst of a quiet practice, she encountered a similar question that came softly from within.
“Why do you have trouble with intimacy?”
This question at first surprised her but then led her on a journey that enabled her to find her true self, not the one who showed up with her many lists of things to do. Being a type 3 Enneagram personality she described herself as an achiever, a performer, and a get-er-done kind of girl. Affirmation, attention, and admiration motivated her and she judged her day according to how much she got done. Her personality often got in the way of her relationship with God because he often became just another item to be to checked off her list. Realizing how intense activity drove her, she wrote that she “hadn’t offered my brain a Sabbath in years.”
So, by opening herself up to being quiet, she found that God took the opportunity to meet her, expose her, devastate her and then beautifully rescue her. She writes: “…I let God see me, to look upon me in my lowliness, brokenness, and despair, and in doing so, I began to see myself not as I always had, as a producer and a striver and an achiever, but in a new way, as a new creation. Ever so slowly … I began to see and know myself as beloved.”
Michelle uses a gardening technique called “pruning open” to illustrate how God got to the depths of her unbelief concerning His deep and true love for her. She writes, “The truth is, God does not wish for us to stand stubborn like the autumn oak tree, cloaked in a facade of protection, our truest, most authentic selves obscured beneath a tangled bramble of false security….God yearns for us to live wholeheartedly and truthfully as the unique, beautiful, beloved individuals he created us to be…God yearns for us to live in the spacious, light-filled freedom of Christ and to know ourselves through him, and with him.”
I enjoyed this book, so full of scripture, personal experience, quotes and references. Michelle even offers the reader the opportunity to consider, at the end of each chapter, questions that reflect on ideas presented in that section. She encourages us to sit for regular periods of directed rest so that these answers can come quietly.
I have read about the spiritual practice of silence many times, but have found myself unable to understand why to do it, how to do it, when to do it, how long to do it, etc. Michelle, through the sharing of her experience, gently led me to some answers. I am now starting my morning quiet time with a Psalm followed by a time of silence, opening the door and inviting God in before asking anything from him. I envision him standing and waiting as in Revelation 3:20. Look! I have been standing at the door, and am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me. (TLB)
I believe that to be fellowship of the sweetest kind!
What about you? Have you developed a practice of quietly sitting with God, listening and waiting for him? If so, I’d love to read about it in the comments. Or if you have questions about the practice or the topic, I’d be honored to address them as well.