In Training

The past seven months have been really good. I moved into my first apartment, had really easy classes, made some new friends, got a job as an au pair, turned 22, stood in a friend’s wedding, travelled to Madrid, started my au pair job, and made more new friends from all over the world.

I haven’t had any extreme challenges; nothing life changing or earth shattering. Life is good.

Then a friend texted me and asked about my relationship with Jesus.

Oh…. Him.

Things are okay I guess. I mean we talk every now and then. But life hasn’t been hard.

I haven’t needed Him.

How foolish of me.

I pray irregularly, I thank Him when I remember to, I have conversations with others about His love, I go to bible studies, I read books about Him, I even read the bible every now and then. Things have been just fine.

Just, fine.

I’ve been comfortable. I’ve been content.

I haven’t been desperate for His love.

But what kind of relationship is that? Running to him only when I need him, thanking Him only when something significant happens?

That’s not faith. That’s about the same relationship I have with the owner of a local coffee shop. I visit when I want/need coffee and I thank him when he makes it for me. We don’t say much else except acknowledge that we know each other from my repeated visits. It isn’t a very fulfilling or fruitful relationship. It’s a cordial business exchange. That’s not how I want to describe my relationship with my Creator.

C.S. Lewis reminded me of what I was doing wrong:

“Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes… Unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off’, you can never be a sound Christian… but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently we must train the habit of faith. The first step is to recognize the fact that your moods change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. This is why daily prayers and religious readings and church-going are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.”

Faith requires exercise. In order to keep the faith, to be able to walk day in and day out, through the most exciting and ordinary moments of life, we must train.

We must recognize that life will distract us or get very ordinary and in these moments, in all moments, we must remember who we are. We are children of God (John 1:12) and above all we are called to love (John 13:35). We must open the Bible and read, we must put down the phone and pray, we must wake up early and go to church. Yes God can be seen and experienced in all things, but it is in this separate place that we meet God. In these quiet, still moments we come to know Him. It is in this alone time with Him where we train our hearts and exercise our minds to be reminded of Him always and love in spite of ourselves.

“But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.” -C.S. Lewis

-Alexandra // @al_steele