It’s been a while, old friend.
These are the first words that I wrote in my journal after I discovered it a couple days ago hidden under mounds of books by the edge of my bed. It was meticulously placed beneath World War Z, textbooks that I have yet to read through, books about marriage that I shouldn’t even be considering reading at this point in my life, etc. There it was, my journal with the oddly-shaped flowers scattered all over the cover, protecting the words that I’ve shared with this journal and this journal alone in the last four years.
Where did you go, old friend?
I could almost hear God whispering to me through the pages. Why haven’t you written to me in so long? And my pen shakes as I’m trying to get my thoughts on paper, something that used to feel so comfortable and familiar but now feels like I’m writing an achingly, long overdue apology. Which is practically what I’m doing, not out of guilt or shame, but out of a conscious awareness of how much joy and peace writing to Him used to bring me, something that I missed so much and shouldn’t have left in the dust.
I write and write, the words appearing on the page before me and roaming free from the point of the pen. How did I ever forget about writing? This was my favorite pastime. Slowly but surely, my hand relaxes, and my mood slowly lifts as I share my thoughts with my Father once again.
In the midst of midterms, papers, a crapload of research, and Bible study/DCF-related activities, I lost sight of my favorite thing to do, my favorite act of worship. I can now look back and understand why I felt so dry and unmoved during large group, why my prayers were not as effortless and filled with life as before, why I breathed sighs of relief after church events/gatherings more often than not. I didn’t feel connected to who I was worshipping anymore. The time and energy I spent in all these areas left me exhausted and unmotivated to pursue the One who meant, and still means the most to me. I could sing songs and clap along, I could clasp my hands ever so tightly and pray ever so loudly, but all of that would have been empty worship. Worship is more than a song; it’s done with the heart. And my heart was weak and tired from all the areas of my life that I’ve thrown it around to, when I should’ve placed it before my Father.
Hey Papa, here’s my heart. I know You’ll take care of it.
My entry in the journal wasn’t a particularly long one; it was comparable to finally sharing a secret with someone who you knew deserved to know. You were probably extremely nervous asking the person to meet with you and talk with you. You made small talk at first, fidgeting with and eyeing everything around you, butterflies in the stomach and all. But once you started sharing the secret, the truth just flowed out effortlessly. The words slipped off your tongue, the weight of the words cascading on the person receiving them. There was then room for discussion as the two of you processed the truth together, and the mere telling of the secret lifted a burden off your shoulders. You then wondered, why did it take me so long to tell the truth? It was not a very lengthy moment in the span of your lifetime, but it was a powerful one, one that set you free.
The best part is that with God, He is always forgiving. And as He takes in the weight of your words and processes them with you, never once will He condemn you or shame you. I felt His peace and love so tangibly after I began writing, and I knew that this was only the beginning.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.