If you want some insight into my soul, you’ll always know when I’m wrestling with God when I blog less. (I define wrestling with God by the feeling of God trying to get my attention and me trying to figure out what He’s telling me.) I stare at my computer having a thousand words to write, but not being able to articulate what my heart is feeling. Honestly, as pastors, we wrestle with God alot. I think it’s in the job description! It’s not when the attendance is down or the finances are struggling. It’s not when our marriage is tense (yes, even we have those seasons). It’s really random and unpredicatable and it usually precedes God doing something significant, sometimes in the church as a whole and sometimes within ourselves. I feel like it’s God’s way of purging out whatever it is that He needs out in order to fulfill His purpose. At this point in ministry, I know the feeling and I both love it and hate it at the same time. It is this mix of being grateful that God is working in me, but really frustrated that I don’t “get it” right away. The feeling often reminds me of watching my second grader work on math problems.
Here’s my thoughts on how to wrestle with God:
1. Pray it out. When you feel stuck, frustrated, irritated…just pray out those emotions, but with one thing in mind: God, what are you trying to teach me in the midst of these feelings? Complaining for complaining sake isn’t going to get you far, but telling God where you’re at with the intent of learning where to go is beneficial.
2. Be aware of God’s messengers. I know that God uses people to speak into our lives all of the time. I am even sure that they are probably unaware of just how important their words are most of the time. In the midst of my wrestling this week, God has repeatedly sent people with the same words for my life. (This time those words are PROMISE and HOPE. There’s more to that story and I’ll share it someday!)
3. Hide. Even Jesus withdrew from the crowds now and again. It’s OK to drop off the radar every once in a while and focus on your own stuff. If you feel rushed to hear from God because your agenda is in the way, that’s really contrary to the point of pursuing His will for your life. And no, this one is not easy for me at all…
The bottom line is that growth is difficult. Just as joints and muscles ache when they are being stretched, so does your spirit ache when it’s being stretched. In fact, if you don’t experience discomfort in your walk with Jesus, you should be concerned that you aren’t allowing Him in to the deepest parts of who you are. Wrestling with God is not a bad thing…just realize that He will win every time!