Jesus In The Chaos

quiet-morning

 

Distraction.

More and more, it feels like my greatest battle is against distraction.  The unexpected phone call.  The “quick question” that turns into a 45 minute conversation.  Social media.  Email.  Checking out houses on Redfin even though we aren’t in the market.  Gossip.  A few texts.  Breaking news.  Netflix.

It all adds up and there are days when I wonder if I’ve really accomplished anything.  Busy? Definitely.  Tired?  Absolutely!  Productive?  I’m not sure.  Connected to God?  I know He’s with me but I don’t seem all that aware of His presence.

I know Jesus isn’t intimidated by the chaos of my life.  I know He isn’t running scared.  I know He doesn’t stay home sipping coffee while I go to work.  I know He’s with me.  He promises that in His Word, “I am with you always.” (Mt. 18:20)  He’s not the problem.  I am.  I loose sight of Him and get focused on a thousand other things.

For me, the battle for focus starts long before the sun is up.  I’m learning the more I connect with God in the morning, the more He shapes the chaos of my days.  I know how simple that sounds.  But I also know there’s a huge difference between “doing my quiet time” and connecting with God.  I can have a really well structured quiet time and totally miss God.  It happens more often than I would like to admit.  I power through a devotional book, journal a few thoughts, read some Scripture and pray a few rote prayers.  Quiet time done.  God missed.  And then there are days when those same raw ingredients combine to create a beautiful encounter with God.  His voice is clear, His presence is real, His love is almost tangible.  Most of the times, the difference is found in my expectations – power through or slow down and meet with Jesus?

When I slow down and meet with Jesus in the morning, He’s so much easier to see throughout the day.  He’s there helping me say no, avoid distractions and do what He’s called me to do.  When the unavoidable interruptions of life come, He’s there reassuring me He’s still working even though we’re off my script.  He’s near and real and everything’s better.

Yes, there are ways to manage distractions.  But it’s not like they’re going away.  And it’s not like Jesus is going away.  I’m just much more focused on staying connected with Him during the day.  And I’m finding that my best shot at connection during the day is connection before the day gets started.

Sex: Physically & Spiritually Naked

kiss

God designed sex to be the most powerful bond between two people – the two become one flesh.  That oneness requires the most explicit form of vulnerability we’re capable of as humans.  It requires us to expose our most intimate parts to the sight, touch and experience of another. It’s the most provocative form of vulnerability – here I am, all of me, even the parts I keep covered in any and every other situation. See me, know me, accept me, enjoy me, protect me, delight in me, love me.

But we so often do with our bodies what we’re unwilling to do with our souls. It’s easier to take your pants off than to let your guard down. It’s easier to be physically naked than emotionally naked – to show someone the most intimate parts of our souls (our fears, our dreams, our hurts, our real selves). So we settle for sex instead of intimacy. We settle for an orgasm instead of love.

I think that’s the allure and lie of pornography. It’s less about physical gratification and more about the desperate search to feel some kind of connection, some level of intimacy and some form of relating.  We want the thrill of vulnerability without any risk on our end.  We get to see someone else’s nakedness with no reciprocal vulnerability needed. I risk nothing but get to see everything. And that’s the lie.  Real vulnerability is a two way street of trust, not a cheap show of lust.

The challenge for our culture is to stop using physical vulnerability as an excuse to avoid spiritual, emotional and relational vulnerability. Don’t use your body to numb your soul’s desires.  You were made for the intimacy that only comes when you find the courage to be honest about who you really are, the courage to talk about that person with someone else, the courage to be rejected, ignored, loved or cherished for who you really are.

By the way, the best sex is the wrapped in the blanket of spiritual vulnerability and lifelong commitment. When our bodies become an expression of our souls, something powerful happens.  That’s how God designed it to work – soul connection first, physical connection second.   It’s when our bodies become a substitute for our souls that we get ourselves in trouble.