So, in the wee hours this morning, I couldn't sleep well and was thinking about my journey. I grew up in a culture that you did the right thing. Period. It was laced with the Gospel and I am sure most the adults informing me on how to live a pure life had good intentions, but a regular thing it always lacked was the heart behind it. That is scary to talk about it, because truth be told our hearts are black and ridden with sin, so how does that play into doing the right thing?! And if people were honest and said what they were really thinking and how they really felt, well then the living a pure life would have been confusing so it was just easier to say "walk the straight and narrow and don't ask questions." Well, being a thinker and intuitive I had questions. I had tons of them and tons of turmoil going on inside, which we all do, but that wasn't really something anyone wanted to talk about it. I think most adults in my life were battling their own demons and to keep those at bay, they chose denial and making sure their lives looked clean and polished and trying their hardest to keep it together. I think of the movie "Nemo" when Dory says "just keep swimming, just keep swimming."
Then the pendulum swing. The straight and narrow with no heart just didn't cut it for me. I don't now and never have liked cookie-cutter houses, schools, churches, you get the point. So as an adult I wanted heart and diversity. I wanted to talk about the things churning inside me. I wanted live a life of honesty and freedom laced with the Gospel. Both sides of the pendulum have good intentions, but both sides miss the point. Sex, drugs and rock n roll laced with church did not bring comfort. Talking openly and being in a church where people could be free to struggle was very freeing to me, so much that I felt entitled in my sin.
I am not sure if I can put into words the summary of what I am trying to say, but here goes. In AA, they talk about whatever, whoever it is you need to find "your God of your own understanding". For some that means meetings, for some sponsors, but here is where you see the Sovereign Hand of God and my story coming together. Without all the theology and doctrine (with little heart) that I was fed growing up that was good, I might have been really confused and my God could be a doorknob, if I hadn't been taught the truth and grounded in the Word. Without having been in the church I choose in my early adult years, which led me to really seek my heart, but with little truth of how God calls us to live Christian lives then I might just be living a life now in which I just am doing the next right thing. (again God's hand in the story)
Bottom line the Prodigal and the Legalist are both depraved. They both need something far above their sins and their deeds to save themselves. The legalist does all the right things, for mostly the wrong reasons, which is sin. The Prodigal sin's is pretty evident as he lives a life of entitlement and doing his own thing. I have found both sons in the Bible story about the prodigal are the prodigal son's. They both are sinners in need of a mighty God to reach down and save them. In AA I was really able to see the God of my understanding and take the good out of both my church experiences. A God who longs to know me intimately, who won't run when I tell Him my heart (even the dirtiest parts, he already knows anyways) and a God who demands obedience, coming out of the heart that is in true communion with him. I fear for my friends who live with God JUST as their "Jesus"... where he is just their Savior. I live with fear, almost more, for my friends who God is JUST their "Lord"...and they have such "reverence" for him they miss the point of true relationship and knowing Him intimately. I think the verse sums it up "Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, soul, and mind." When you do this obedience comes natural and is not contrived or forced.
This is the stuff that goes on in my head from day to day. The little conversations I have within. Hope it makes some sense.