Prayer, Creativity & Faith

God is my destination

I was thinking again the other day (as I do daily, ad nauseam) about my struggles with my faith. My doubts, the journey I’ve been on, the losses I’ve experienced as my faith has evolved—my old (and much-loved) church community, friendships, my sense of security.

My new church recently has been having intentional conversations about our personal faith stories, and I left one of those in tears the other night—because everyone else seems so settled. So sure about their faith, their church family, their God. And I still feel, in many ways, unsettled.

Or maybe that’s too strong of a word. I am settled, and mostly at peace, but I will probably always be on a journey because of who I am and how I think. I’ve written a little about it, but not much publicly—because I’ve noticed people want to know what was “wrong” with the old place or the leaders, and that’s not the point at all. The changes I’ve made have less to do with anyone else than with me: the way I see things, the way I think, the way I process, who I believe God to be. Part of me longs to detail it all, to dwell on the struggles and questions over the past several years, to wallow in existential angst. But another part of me is ready to let go of all of that and look forward instead.

Because of my struggles, though, I couldn’t feel less qualified to offer you all words of encouragement or tips on prayer, as people requested in the survey I did a while back. And yet, as I drove home from my studio the other day, I was talking to God. These two simple sentences nearly stopped me in my tracks.

God, You are—and have always been—my destination. I have never been headed anywhere except right back to you.

And that, I believe, is what it all comes down to. That is my heart’s deepest desire. To find God, to abide with God, to be with God and yet always be moving towards God. It doesn’t matter so much what my stumbling blocks have been. It isn’t about pointing blame anywhere or having deep theological discussions.

Whether I have found all that I want and need at this moment in time, what does matter is that the search I’m on has never been leading me anywhere else. I know where the answers are, and I’m coming to terms with the idea that perhaps God can—and maybe even should—remain a bit of a mystery. Even so, my search is only leading me to a deeper and truer expression of what I’ve held true in my spirit from the very beginning.

Wherever I am at this particular stage of the journey is almost irrelevant because I am now and will forevermore be journeying with God. I’m not asking questions as an excuse to push God away, but in an attempt to know God more fully. I have to believe God will honor that, respond to that, and help with that. Each step I take is simply an effort to make my faith to feel true and right and pure and holy and uncluttered by confusion and dogma and rules.

Because I know that every single thing I want—and need—can be found in the God who loves us and welcomes us back with grace. Always. Every time. Without shame or condemnation, but with joy and delight.

Do you know that? Do you realize that God delights in you, in every single thing you do in an effort to better live your faith or draw closer to God? Do you know that your faith is beautiful and unique and that it’s not like anyone else’s? Do you know that no one can ever love you like God does? It’s the kind of concept we can dwell on every moment of every day and it will likely remain a mystery—but that makes it no less true.

Pray with me? Dear Lord, I believe it’s wise, from time to time, to reevaluate where we are. To take a look at our practices and beliefs, and to let go of the things that are holding us back. Help me not to get so caught up in all the semantics of religion that I miss the point: YOU. Let my faith be lived for you and be inspired by you. Purify me, change me, lead me, keep me on the right path to experience you and discover you in new and different ways. Deeper, more true, more pure, more holy, more powerful. Help me find and embrace more and more of you with each passing day. Let me live as one who is deeply loved, and give me the ability to pour that love out onto others. Thank you for your forgiveness, your tolerance, and your grace. Amen.

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